Study: More Moms Are Breadwinners, But They Should Still Stay Home
12:16 pm, May 29th | by Sarah Devlin
We can’t win, can we? The Pew Research Center conducted a study, reported on by The Associated Press and Jezebel, that found mothers are the top earners in 4 out of 10 American homes. That is nuts, especially when you consider that in 1960 that number was closer to 1 in 10. Unfortunately, we can’t exactly rest on our laurels, confident that our work here is done and gender parity has been achieved…because the study also reveals some pretty biased thinking about two-parent homes.
Some highlights culled by Jezebel:
- Half the people surveyed said that it’s better for the kids if mom stays home, while only eight percent said that about dad.
- A lot of people still think single mothers are a “big problem”, but there are less of these people than there used to be and they’re definitely not young, which means hopefully with them, these ideas will fade away. Republicans are more than 25 percent more likely than Democrats to have an issue with single mothers. White people are more likely than minorities to create a hubbub about all of the single moms ruining the fabric of society.
Let’s just make sure that we’re all on the same page. Even though the Pew study also found that “total family income is actually higher when the mother is the breadwinner and not the father,” it’s still better for the family for mothers to stay home, if the choice is between that and Dad burning all the pancakes and forgetting everyone’s Go-Gurt? It’s kind of difficult to be psyched about the growing number of households reliant on higher incomes from women when half of those households also resent them for not being home more often with the kids. It’s almost as though moms are becoming their own two-parent households — the earners, because they are often more educated than their husbands and/or unattached as single moms, and the carers, since Dad certainly can’t be expected to step up. What is that about?
The results of the study are encouraging, certainly, in that more women are becoming more educated and earning higher salaries, but it seems to me that we’re no closer to shedding the kind of outdated thinking about gender norms and parenting that lead women to pick up a major second shift at home (you know, when they come back after a hard day of supporting their families financially). This is not healthy, and it won’t be solved by giving working mothers ever growing levels of responsibility. Why isn’t it going away?
[Photo via Shutterstock]