Make Known Unknown (Blog 9)

There’s No Paycheck for Parenting


This morning, I found an article titled Parents’ Time with Kids More Rewarding Than Paid Work — and More Exhausting, by Wendy Wang. This article discusses a study carried out by the Pew Research Center, which shows that mothers and fathers value their roles as parents, even though it gets tiring, more than their roles as professionals in the workplace.

The article presents a series of graphs depicting survey information, which show that the time people spend watching after their children is the most meaningful activity in their lives–more so than other categories, which included leisure, housework, and paid work. The article also touches on the differences in roles between mothers and fathers in the household. It discusses differences in the time they spend completing certain activities. For example, the graph below (depicted in the article, and originally from the Pew Research Center) shows these differences in time allotted to specific activities.

How Moms and Dads Spend  Their Time

The article goes on to mention how mothers generally feel as though the work they do in different aspects of their lives, such as their household chores and professional careers, is very valuable. Fathers, on the other hand, do not feel as strongly about the value of their work. They don’t think it carries as much meaning.

I thought this article presented a unique study–one that we don’t hear about all too often. Clearly, it isn’t representative of all American families, but it brings up some interesting points.

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I was very pleased to discover that many parents value parenting over their professional careers. I think this is especially relevant because of the recent economic downturn, during which many individuals lost their jobs and turned to family for emotional support. Even though professional careers have a paycheck attached to them, they come and go and change all the time. Family, on the other hand, acts as a support system for many people. To me, this carries much more meaning than a paycheck.

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7 thoughts on “There’s No Paycheck for Parenting

    • I’ve seen this kind of research done over time. Stephanie Koonz (I think) has written a few books about this topic, one of which is titled _the Way We Never Were_ which pokes holes in the fantasy of the ideal 1950s family.

      My hunch is that men have added some hours to childcare, but not much to domestic work.

  1. I found this really interesting because a couple of weeks ago on the Today Show, they did a segment about the trend of women cutting their maternity leave short to return back to work. I am glad to see that people value their time with their children more than anything else.

  2. I think it is interesting that women value their time at work more than men do. I would have expected it to be the other way around. It is nice to know that parents value their time with their children.

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