Data suggests view of working moms is shifting

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

Leaning in?

Well, it seems that we have no choice.

According to recently released data in the Pew Social Trends’ survey, more than 40 percent of homes with children under the age of 18 rely on the mother’s income as the primary source of income for the family. And that’s not just single-income households.

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According to the study, the dual-income household has steadily grown in significance since the 1960s, which is no surprise. And, even though we still hold fast to the belief that a traditional family in which the mother doesn’t work outside the home (a majority of the folks polled in the Pew study) economics and practicality force a different approach.

The reality is the American family is facing choices and compromise: two-income families are often a must today, as everything from the cost of food to the cost of health care increases. And women, who lobbied tirelessly in the 1960s and 1970s for equal earnings opportunities in the workplace, are earning the right to sit at the boardroom tables and earn those rewards.

Leaning in or out is a personal choice – one that each mother and each family must make – and their is no right or wrong answer. Interestingly, the same research indicates that as a society we’re adapting to the shift in women working outside the home. Overall, 74 percent of Americans say they believe a mother working outside the home faces additional challenges in raising children; but, of those polled under the age of 30, only 60 percent foresee additional challenges.

Does this data indicate a more substantial shift in our societal norms? Only time will tell.