Time Allocation of Employed and Nonemployed Mothers: 1965 to 2000

Sara Raley, University of Maryland

Despite the dramatic movement of mothers into the labor force, mothers’ time with children has remained remarkably stable over time. To explain this trend, we compare time allocation of employed and nonemployed mothers using time use data from 1965 through 2000. We examine trends and differentials in employment hours, housework, childcare, free time, and sleep for employed and nonemployed mothers. Trends are often parallel while differentials between the two groups of mothers are sizable at each point. Employed mothers spend less time on housework and child care, sleep fewer hours per week, and have less discretionary time. Further, compared with nonemployed mothers, employed mothers are much more likely to feel they spend too little time with their children and are more likely to report they are always multitasking and always feel rushed. We speculate about whether employed mothers’ well-being is compromised as they strive to balance work and family obligations.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being