In 2009, the overall labor force participation rate of all mothers with children under 18 was 71.4%…. participation rate of married mothers with children under 3 years old increased from 32.7% in 1975 to 59.1% in 2008.
More women have entered the work force not just for career satisfaction, but also because they need the money for their families -wages have been declining, especially during this recession. A great Brookings article goes into the economics/sociology behind this new trend:
…among two-parent families with median earnings, the hours of men were relatively constant over time, while hours worked by women more than doubled from 1975 to 2009. It was this increased contribution to work outside of the home, mostly by women, rather than wage increases, that led to higher earnings for the typical two-parent family.
But what does this all mean for the American family? A recent Zee News article discusses an Assocham study on the impact of working moms in India on the family, especially children. The study reports:
As many as 56 per cent of working women have children with problems such as overweight which may aggravate into lifestyle diseases like cardio-vascular disorder and fatty liver when they grow into adults…
On the other hand, homemakers` kids are a lot healthier as they are less into junk foods like pizza, burgers, pasta and aerated drinks…
A similar survey, if done in America, might be even more worse. This is because the junk food, and unhealthy lifestyle choices that are common in the U.S. Our children are exposed to tremendous amounts of TV and other sedentary media. The effects are not just on kids, but on parents as well.
What can working moms do? Some shop/make meals in bulk that are easy to store in the freezer or refrigerator to quickly heat up when they get home. It is healthier and may be more economical than eating out. Eating family dinners at the dinner table can lessen TV time for kids, and encourage family time. Putting little ones to bed earlier, packing a school lunch, and encouraging chools to educate children on nutrition, are other steps that might help.
In the “old” days, grandma and other family members usually lived nearby and helped out; people are now all spread out, so it is much for difficult to balance things.
How do you cope with these issues?