Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Children whose mothers work outside the home may be better prepared for and do better in kindergarten, according to a new study published by Boston University researchers. Though the study may ease the guilt some working moms feel, it is not a cut-and-dried finding that applies to every family. More from NBC News:
The effects are strongest for low-income kids. And in wealthy families, the older wisdom may hold true — the kids of working moms did not fare as well as children of at-home moms.
It’s only one study, and it contradicts a large body of older work. But the researchers, at Boston University, say it’s one of the first to look at 21st-century moms and kids.
Image: Working mom, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Citing reasons ranging from a sluggish economy to a rise in immigration, a new study by Pew researchers has found that a growing number of mothers are staying at home with their kids. More from Reuters:
Twenty-nine percent of U.S. mothers, or about 10.4 million women, stayed at home in 2012. That is up from a low of 23 percent in 1999, and marks a turnaround from three decades of decline.
The category of stay-at-home mothers with children under 18 includes women who are at home to care for their families and mothers who cannot find work, are disabled or in school, the Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data said.
Six percent of stay-at-home mothers, or about 634,000 people, said they were home with their children in 2012 because they could not find a job. That share is six times larger than it was in 2000.
The U.S. economy’s slow recovery from the recession of 2007-2009 lead many Americans to give up looking for work, a trend that has changed over the past six months as people regain confidence in the job market.
The Pew analysis underscores women’s declining share of the U.S. work force. Labor Department numbers show that 57.2 percent of women have a job or are looking for one, down just over 2 percentage points in a decade.
“With incomes stagnant in recent years for all but the college-educated, less educated workers in particular may weigh the cost of child care against wages and decide it makes more economic sense to stay home,” the Pew analysis said.
The rising share of stay-at-home mothers also could be caused by the increasing number of immigrants, who made up 13 percent of Americans in the 2010 U.S. census.
Image: Mom and kids at home, via Shutterstock
A third of stay-at-home mothers are immigrants while immigrants make up only one in five working mothers.
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Monday, March 31st, 2014
Employers who refuse flexible scheduling for employees with kids also lose popularity with childless workers. According to a new study from Rice University and University of California, San Diego, scientists and engineers without kids have still felt the stigma associated with “flexible” schedules within their work culture. The study found workers can have a negative attitude towards their place of employment and were less interested in staying at their jobs when they felt their employers looked down on individuals that needed a more flexible schedule. More from Rice University:
Parents have reported before that trying to balance work and family obligations comes with career costs. But a new study from Rice University and the University of California, San Diego, shows that university workplace bias against scientists and engineers who use flexible work arrangements may increase employee dissatisfaction and turnover even for people who don’t have children.
“As researchers, we’re interested in understanding the gap between the traditional 9-to-5 work setting and what workers actually need,” said Erin Cech, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice and the study’s lead author. “The majority of parents are in the workforce today, yet the expectations and arrangements of work have stayed more or less the same as they were post-World War II. We’re trying to understand this mismatch and its consequences.”
The study, “Consequences of Flexibility Stigma Among Academic Scientists and Engineers,” examined “flexibility stigma” — employers’ and co-workers’ negative attitudes toward employees who seek or are presumed to need flexible work arrangements to deal with child care responsibilities — at one university. The study found that people who reported an awareness of the flexibility stigma in their departments — regardless of whether they are parents themselves — were less interested in staying at their jobs, more likely to want to leave academia for industry and less satisfied with their jobs than those who did not report a flexibility stigma in their department. They also felt as though they had worse work-life balance.
“Flexibility stigma is not just a workers’ problem,” said study co-author Mary Blair-Loy, an associate professor of sociology at UC San Diego and founding director of the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions. “Workplaces where this bias exists are more likely to have a toxic culture that hurts the entire department, not only in terms of work-life balance but also retention and job satisfaction, which may affect department productivity.”…
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Image: Adult business woman wearing a costume and supplied her newborn daughter in the office workplace via Shutterstock.
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Monday, January 13th, 2014
A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a Pennsylvania mother hopes to achieve enforcement of a provision of Obamacare that is supposed to entitle breastfeeding women to have private space and time to pump at work. Thirty-one year-old Bobbi Bockoras, who operates a palletizer at a glass factory, claims she was not only denied clean, comfortable space to pump, but also says she was harassed by male colleagues and reassigned to a less convenient work schedule. More from NBC News:
It’s the first lawsuit brought by the ACLU under the ACA’s breastfeeding provision, which is the first federal law to require employers to accommodate nursing mothers on the job.
Bockoras’ case is one of a growing number of lactation discrimination lawsuits highlighting the need for more accommodation and acceptance for nursing mothers in the workplace, advocates say.
Despite overwhelming evidence supporting the health benefits of breastfeeding, “women who choose to continue breastfeeding when they return to the paid workforce face insurmountable obstacles that can make them choose between their jobs and what is in the best interest of their babies,” said New York-based ACLU senior staff attorney Galen Sherwin, who is representing Bockoras.
Bockoras’ lawyers argue that not only was she discriminated against and not accommodated under the law, but she was retaliated against when her shifts were switched. Verallia North America, which is headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, filed a motion to dismiss the case. The company is “committed to providing a respectful workplace” and “takes its obligations under the law very seriously and is committed to abiding by all federal and state employment laws,” it said in a statement.
Bockoras says her previous dayshift schedule has since been reinstated and that the locker room where she still pumps has been cleaned.
Under the ACA provision, which amends the Fair Labor Standards Act, companies are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth” and “are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion.” The provision also prohibits retaliation by companies when employees file complaints.
Prior to the ACA, nursing mothers who wanted to pump at work had few rights. An employer could refuse to allow a woman to express milk at work or fire her for doing so.
As more women become aware of their rights under the law, advocates expect lactation discrimination cases to proliferate. “Partly because the ACA offers a new avenue of relief that wasn’t available previously, we’re going to see more claims using that tool to vindicate the rights of women violated on the job,” Sherwin said.
Image: Breast pump, via Shutterstock
Is your baby’s growth on schedule? Find where your baby or toddler falls for height and weight on the growth chart.
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Monday, September 30th, 2013
New moms are increasingly shortening their maternity leaves, citing financial and personal pressures as reasons for going back to work within weeks of giving birth. Analysis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that as many as half of new mothers are shortening their leaves by half. More from Today.com:
About two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The average maternity leave in the U.S. is about 10 weeks, but about half of new moms took at least five weeks, with about a quarter taking nine weeks or more, figures showed.
But a closer look shows that 16 percent of new moms took only one to four weeks away from work after the birth of a child — and 33 percent took no formal time off at all, returning to job duty almost immediately.
That means more women are coping with pregnancy-weary bodies, the demands of a newborn and the demands of a boss — all before the “Welcome, Baby” flowers have wilted on the bedside table.
Research has shown that shorter leaves can interfere with recommended breastfeeding duration and may contribute to higher rates of depression among new moms.
Image: Working mom, via Shutterstock
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