In a survey that went to more than 100,000 people in 29 countries, researchers wanted to see if moms who work outside the home influence their children differently from the mothers who stay at home.
Having had a working mom influenced adult daughters at home and at work. In their own homes, they did an average of 55 minutes less housework. Correspondingly they spend 44 minutes more time at work. Also, if their moms occupied mid to high skill positions, it was more likely that they too would be in a supervisory position and have more education. And yes, they also were likely to earn more ($1880) than the daughters of stay-at-home moms.
Meanwhile, the sons of workplace moms displayed the impact in the home. (Dads had more influence on what sons did at work.) As adults, they were the ones doing the wash, watching the kids, cooking dinner for 50 minutes more a week. (It sounds more substantial when you realize the total is 43 hours a year.) They also had more education.
Still though, shown by the quarantine, our social norms have not yet radically shifted. Working moms have many more responsibilities at home than a partner or a spouse.
According to an April survey of 2200 Americans, during the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns, working moms have a rather large job at home as well. You can see below that they are spending more time home-schooling and helping their children with remote learning than a partner:
For housework also, the women bear the burden. Whether referring to the lockdown or normal life, when both work outside the home, close to two-thirds of the women say they do most of the housework. However, sometimes the men do not quite see it that way. Although 53 percent of the men and 27 percent of the women say they split the cooking and cleaning, researchers tell us that men tend to overstate their role:
With childcare, we have a similar situation. 64 percent of the working moms are the ones keeping an eye on the kids during the quarantine:
Our Bottom Line: Social Norms
Researchers are concerned that the lockdown’s division of labor will only exacerbate the social norms that pull women away from higher pay and promotions in the workplace. Or, as one University of Illinois sociologist explained, “Being forced to be at home is amplifying the differences we know exist.”
But still there is a glimmer of hope. A quarter of the women in the survey said they and a spouse were equally sharing childcare and housework.
My sources and more: On Mother’s Day, this paper, a summary at HBS, and the NY Times were ideal complements. Meanwhile, you might have some fun looking at WalletHub for more on working moms. Then, if you want to read onward, do take a look at the econlife that considers how marriage has changed.
Please note that parts of this post were in a previous econlife. Our featured image is from Pixabay.