Today a story on Raleigh TV station WRAL featured two married mothers – one employed and one not – discussing their experiences. I was chosen to be the guy in the white coat. I might make it look effortless, but for every sound bite, there is a source. Credit reporter by Erin Hartness, for giving me time to prepare, and choosing clips that mostly made sense.
If the embedding doesn’t work, clip is here: Mothers struggle with work-home balance.
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I said: “The pressure falls on [women], and all the progress we’ve made has so far not alleviated that pressure.” That could come from various sources, but is based on, “Under Pressure: Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Free Time and Feeling Rushed,” by Marybeth Mattingly and Liana Sayer in the Journal of Marriage and Family. They find: “women’s time pressure increased significantly between 1975 and 1998 but men’s did not.”
About the tendency of some working women who decide to stay home to treat parenting as they treat a professional career, I said: “some people think it’s ratcheted up the demands of parenting for everybody.” This comes from reading Pamela Stone’s book, Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. (That was also the source for the comment that workplaces haven’t become as flexible as people would like to think.)
On there being a “self-help book for anything you can imagine,” I was referring to the proliferation about books on parenting, and especially on how to best do every kind of parenting. I made this picture for my Family class:
Finally, I said: “Husbands have changed their behavior, but not that much.” This is debatable, actually. The trends for mothers and fathers time doing paid and unpaid work from 1965 to 2000 are summarized in Changing Rhythms of American Family Life, by Suzanne M. Bianchi, John P. Robinson, and Melissa A. Milkie. In 1965 married mothers spent 4-times as much time taking care of children as fathers did; in 2000 they did twice as much childcare. Both mothers and fathers changed, but mothers do twice as much childcare (and the pattern for housework is similar). Given how much women’s employment has increased, I look at that as a glass-half-empty situation, but others disagree.