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In economic terms, families with two full-time working parents are better off than other families. The median household income for families with two full-time working parents and at least one child under 18 at home is $102,400, compared with $84,000 for households where the father works full time and the mother works part time and $55,000 for households where the father works full time and the mother is not employed. But as a new Pew Research Center survey shows, balancing work and family poses challenges for parents. In fact, more than half (56%) of all working parents say this balancing act is difficult. Among working mothers, in particular, 41% report that being a parent has made it harder for them to advance in their career; about half that share of working fathers (20%) say the same. The survey, conducted Sept. 15-Oct. 13, 2015, among 1,807 U.S. parents with children younger than 18, also shows that in two-parent families, parenting and household responsibilities are shared more equally when both the mother and the father work full time than when the father is employed full time and the mother is employed part time or not employed.1 But even in households where both parents work full time, many say a large share of the day-to-day parenting responsibilities falls to mothers.
In households where the father works full time and the mother works part time, a 63% majority, including 71% of fathers and 57% of mothers, say that, in their family, the father is more focused on his job or career than the mother; about a third (32%) say both are equally focused and 4% say the mother is more focused.
These overall numbers mask the disproportionate impact women say being a working parent has on their careers. Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to say being a working parent has made it harder for them to advance in their job or career. About four-in-ten working mothers (41%) say this, compared with two-in-ten working fathers. And mothers who work part time are just as likely as those who work full time to say being a working mother has made it harder for them to move ahead in their job.
For working mothers who have a spouse or partner who is more focused on his job than they are, being a working parent may have more of an impact on career advancement. About half (48%) of working mothers who say their spouse or partner is more focused on his work also say being a parent has made it harder for them to get ahead at work. By comparison, 30% of mothers who say they and their spouse or partner are equally focused on their careers say being a working parent has made it harder for them to advance in their job.
In comparison, about three-in-ten mothers who are employed part time or not employed say they always feel rushed (29% in each group). But while 61% of moms who are employed part time say they sometimes feel rushed, fewer of those who are not employed (49%) feel similarly. In turn, mothers who do not work outside the home are about twice as likely as those who do to say they never feel rushed.
About four-in-ten (39%) mothers who are employed full time say they spend too little time with their kids, while 58% think they spend the right amount of time and just 3% say they spend too much time with their kids. At least seven-in-ten mothers who are employed part time (77%) or not employed (72%) say they spend about the right amount of time with their children, while 18% and 11%, respectively, say they spend too little time. About one-in-six (16%) mothers who do not work outside the home say they spend too much time with their kids; fewer (6%) of those who work part time say the same.
Among those who are married or cohabiting, 44% of mothers who work full time say they spend too little time with their partners, compared with 27% of moms who are employed part time and 34% of moms who are not employed. At least half in each group say they spend the right amount of time with their partners, while few say they spend too much time.
In households where both parents work full time, mothers and fathers tend to share some responsibilities more equally. For example, about six-in-ten (59%) parents in these households say this is the case when it comes to household chores and responsibilities. Still, about three-in-ten (31%) say the mother takes on more of this, while 9% say the father does. And while 47% of parents in two-parent households where both the mother and the father work full time say they and their partner play about an equal role when it comes to taking care of sick children, the same share says the mother does this more than the father. Just 6% in this type of household say the father does more.
Mothers and fathers in two-parent households differ in their perceptions of how they split certain responsibilities. The gap is especially pronounced when it comes to household chores and responsibilities. Half of mothers in two-parent households say they do more than their partners in this area, compared with 32% of fathers who say their wives or partners do more. Fathers, for their part, are more likely to say they and their partners share household chores and responsibilities about equally: More than half (56%) say this is the case, while 46% of mothers agree.
To varying degrees, these gender differences in perceptions of who does more are evident in two-parent households where both parents work full time as well as in households where the father is employed full time and the mother is employed part time or is not employed. Where there are differences, mothers are more likely to say they do more than fathers are to say that their partner does more, while fathers tend to say responsibilities are shared about equally.
Mothers and fathers in these households generally agree about who is more focused on work. For example, 10% of fathers say their spouse or partner is more focused on work and 34% say they are more focused. Among mothers, 15% say they are more focused on work, while 35% say their spouse or partner is.
The situation is much different in households where the father works full time and the mother works part time. A majority of parents (63%) in these households (71% of fathers and 57% of mothers) say the father is more focused on work than the mother is, while 32% say they are equally focused and just 4% say the mother is more focused than the father.
These findings are comparable to government data that show in 52% of married couples in which the mother and father worked full time, the father earned more in 2014. In 24% of these households the mother earned more, and in the remaining 23% the mother and father earned about the same amount. Fathers earned more in the vast majority of households (86%) where the father worked full time and the mother worked part time.5In the Pew Research survey, among mothers in two-parent households, those who work full time (24%) are more likely than those who work part time (4%) to report that they earn more than their husband or partner. Even so, 44% of full-time working mothers in two-parent households say their spouse or partner earns more than they do; 32% say they earn about the same amount. Among part-time working moms, 78% say their husband or partner earns more than they do.
Similarly, working mothers with a college education are more likely than those who have not finished college to say that they out-earn their spouse or partner (23% vs. 8%). About half (51%) of college-educated working moms say that their spouse or partner earns more than them, and 25% say that they earn about the same amount.
We studied the issue of \"family support\" by interviewing the families of our students. We came to appreciate quickly that many of the parents had decided before their children were ever born that their sons and daughters would go to college. There were lots of mothers brandishing heavy kitchen implements, saying \"Child, you will go to college.\" Although teachers had helped them, these kids were, in large part, at the university because of the concerted and organized effort of adults who cared about them. We found no parental apathy and quite a few parents who were themselves college graduates. 59ce067264