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More Mothers Want to Work Full-Time . . . But Why?

We're happy to present this article from our partner site Yahoo! Shine:

Close on the heels of a national debate about women and work sparked by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her new book, a new survey shows that more moms would prefer to work outside of the home full time.

A new Pew Research survey found changing preferences among working moms. While 20 percent of moms with kids under age 18 said that they'd that rather work full time in 2007, that number jumped to 32 percent last year.

The shift may have more to do with economic conditions than professional ambitions, the Associated Press reported.


"Women aren't necessarily evolving toward some belief or comfort level with work," study co-author Kim Parker, an associate director at the Pew Research center, told the Associated Press. "They are also reacting to outside forces and in this case, it is the economy."

Read on to learn a few reasons why the percentage of full-time working mothers has increased.

Male respondents said that high pay was more important than workplace flexibility, while women put more value on flexibility than salary.

Related: A Week in the Life of a Working Mom

But parents in general still think that it's better if mom stays home with the kids. Only 16 percent said the ideal situation for a young child was to have a mother who works full time, Parker explained. Forty-two percent said that it was best for mothers to work part-time, and about 33 percent said it's best if moms do not work outside of the home at all. In about 60 percent of two-parent households with children under age 18, both parents work outside of the home, the survey found, and dads are as likely as moms to wish they could stay home full time.

The findings are based on a survey of 2,511 adults nationwide conducted from November 28, 2012 to December 5, 2012, along with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey, a nationally representative phone survey that measures the amount of time people spend on different activities each day.

Working parents know that juggling career and family isn't easy. The Pew study found that 56 percent of working mothers and 50 percent of working dads find it "very" or "somewhat" difficult to maintain work-life balance; 40 percent of working mothers and 34 percent of working fathers admitted that they "always feel rushed." Overall, 33 percent of parents with children younger than age 18 said they don't think they spend enough time with their kids.

Mother of two Guiomar Ochoa, 38, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, says that she'd rather work part time, but her financial situation makes that impossible.

"We just can't afford to not have two full-time incomes," she told the Associated Press. "We wouldn't be able to do it otherwise."

But in spite of her demanding job as an international specialist with the National Endowment for the Arts, Ochoa says she thinks she's doing fine with work-life balance.

"I've done a really good job of wearing my mom hat when I get home and putting everything aside as far as work goes and focusing on them," she said.

–Lylah M. Alphonse

Also on Shine:
Stressed Working Mom Resigns with Painfully Poignant Memo
8 Moms, One Question: You Know You're a Working Mom When…"
Is the Night Shift Ideal for Working Moms?

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