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Women may not realize costs of working motherhood, report says

August 20, 2018

Women may not realize costs of working motherhood, report says

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Women may not realize the burden of being a working mom, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research study, the New York Times reports.

The cost of childcare. Lack of sleep. Guilty feelings about being away from your children at work. Guilty feelings about being with your kids and not at work.

These are all factors of motherhood that working women may not expect, according to the study.

Before having children, many women say working won’t stop them from being good moms and wives, according to the study. But their attitude changes when they have their first child — and they start to view work negatively.

The study shows motherhood has become more difficult in recent years, the Times reports. There’s social pressure to breastfeed, and to curate your child’s activities. 

“Especially in the recent period, changes in maternal employment costs seem more driven by changing expectations and norms as opposed to changes in technology,” the study said. “On face, it is deeply puzzling that at a moment when women are more prepared than ever for long careers in the labor market, norms would change in a manner that encourages them to spend more time at home.”

In the United States and the United Kingdom, the likelihood of women having a job drops 30 to 40 percent percentage points after becoming a mom.

The study shows that many women didn’t foresee leaving their jobs, the Times reports.

Since 1985, about 2 percent of female high school seniors said they would be homemakers by 30, the study says.

“Importantly, these same young women expect to be mothers (of two or three children), but not, apparently, stay-at-home mothers,” the study says.

But since 1990, the actual rate of homemakers has hovered around 15 to 18 percent.

Read more of the New York Times analysis.

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