When it comes to the home front, what's old is new again. More moms are staying at home with their kids today, according to new analysis of government data by the Pew Research Center. This is a reversal of a three-decades long decline in the last century in the number of "stay-at-home" moms.
As Walter Hamilton writes, that while the continuing steady increase in home-based mothers is driven partly by the desire to focus on children, those on the lower financial rungs have felt the impact of a rough economy as they try to return to the work force.
LIVE DISCUSSION: Join us at 10:30 a.m. to break down the data.
All of this is set against the backdrop of persistent cultural ambivalence about the impact of working mothers on young children. Our readers' responses to the story certainly reflect that. According to Pew, 60% of Americans say children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family, while 35% say they are just as well off when both parents work outside the home. This, despite the fact that most mothers in the U.S. work at least part time.
The Pew analysis also breaks down how stay-at-home moms are spending their time. While they are spending more time on child care and housework than mothers who work outside the home, they also have more time for leisure and sleep, according to Pew.