In the "balance" department today, the latest headline comes to us from the Pew Research Center: "Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-Time Work."
In yet another example of a research project that spent thousands (if not millions) of dollars delving into the obvious, a new Pew survey finds that "in the span of the past decade, full-time work outside the home has lost some of its appeal to mothers," and that a growing number of women with kids say working part-time would be ideal.
Duh. Anybody who's chatted with any mom at the office coffee machine, school drop-off, or weekend children's sports event or birthday party could have told you that.
The Pew Center researchers not only asked full-time working moms what they preferred, but also surveyed full-time stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) as well. A whopping 60-percent of full-time working moms said they'd prefer to be working part-time, while nearly 50-percent of SAHMs said they'd like to have part-time jobs outside the house.
So why have mother's attitudes about working changed so much in the past ten years? That's one answer you won't get from the Pew Center, because "the survey did not probe the reasons women say one work situation or another would be ideal, so it can offer no details about the way mothers see the roles of working and childrearing in their lives."
I'll take a stab at it though: there aren't enough hours in the day to do both well. Another way to put it: moms are burning out.
More often than not, full-time work these days consumes much more than 40-hours a week. And just because you're not at the office, doesn't mean you're not "working," thanks to Blackberries, home computers and the Internet (damn you, technology!) Employers will tell you that all these devices are making your job "easier," but what they're really doing is keeping you on a short leash at all times.
However, the hours one spends "being a mom" have never changed. Because whether you work outside the home or not, being a mother is a 24/7 gig. While you may be slaving away in some cubicle and someone else is picking up the kids at camp, that doesn't mean you're not juggling both your job and your family. It just means you're having to do it at a distance and often more creatively than your SAHM counterpart.
So what, you may ask, does the Pew Research Center survey really accomplish? It does what all our under-the-radar whining, blogging and chatting with friends cannot do: it provides the scientific ammunition needed for change to occur within the workplace.
The Pew study forces employers to recognize that if 60-percent of today's working moms want more flexibility at work, flex-time is something they ought to be putting on their front-burners, or they face losing a significant portion of their workforce.
So although I may be cynical about conducting a study of the obvious - I'm grateful that someone is doing it. When Pew talks...people listen.
Hey moms! What's your ideal situation? Working full-time, part-time, or not working at all outside the home? Weigh in on this controversial subject, by clicking below on "Comments" and telling us what you think.
Listen to this
Everyday when I get home from work
I feel so frustrated
The boss is a jerk
And I get my sticks and go out to the shed
And I pound on that drum like it was the boss's head
I don't want to work
I want to bang on the drum all day....