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This article discusses the reality of why women "opt out" of the workforce when they have children. It's quite long, but worth a read.
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The New York Times reports that the percentage of women in the workforce has plateaued. At the peak in 2000, some 77 percent of women in the prime ages of 25 to 54 were in the work force, but the procentage has dropped in the last six years. This is relatively interesting, but what I find particularly interesting is this tidbit:

Professor Bianchi, who studies time-use surveys done by the Census Bureau and others, has concluded that contrary to popular belief, the broad movement of women into the paid labor force did not come at the expense of their children. Not only did fathers spend more time with children, but working mothers, she found, spent an average of 12 hours a week on child care in 2003, an hour more than stay-at-home mothers did in 1975.

Instead, mothers with children at home gained the time for outside work by taking it from other parts of their day. They also worked more over all. Professor Bianchi found that employed mothers, on average, worked at home and on the job a total of 15 hours more a week and slept 3.6 fewer hours than those who were not employed.

"Perhaps time has been compressed as far as it will go," she suggested. "Kids take time, and work takes time. The conflicts didn't go away."


I'm also in the middle of a trend, it turns out. Women's participation in the labor force is being restrained by a side effect of delayed motherhood: a jump in 30-something mothers with toddlers.

That just feels like my life in a nutshell. Yup, we're all tired. But it's really nice to see that some researchers have found that working mothers don't walk to work over their children. Yay.

In other news, I need a nap.
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I was reading the NYTimes, and in an article about women in elite colleges, it appears that most want to stay home and be full-time parents. As one of them blithely noted "Staying at home with your children isn't as polarizing of an issue as I envision it is for women who are in their 30's now." I guess I'm in my 30s, because I'm feeling hella polarized here.

This type of stuff really does piss me off. Of course, I note with some amusement, that many of the mothers of these girls also stayed home. So maybe it's just a cultural perpetuation. As one girl points out it "validates" her own mother's choice to stay home. And yet, it feels like women can now win at the game, and these girls are deliberately choosing to limit their options. At 18 no less.

Sometimes I'm just glad that I don't have daughters.
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I didn't grow up with Mother Goose. But the little guy is starting to demand the stories, so I've been learning them. But of course, we've been modifying them on the fly, because I'm sorry but I'm not telling my child these originals:

There was an old woman,
Who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children,
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth,
Without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly,
And sent them to bed.


Our modified version:

There was an old woman,
Who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children,
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some soup,
And a piece of bread;
She kissed them all softly,
And sent them to bed.

Of course, when my kid asked why the old woman had so many children (why is still the favorite question) I had to say that it's because she didn't know how to use proper contraception. Yes, my little guy sure has an interesting vocabulary.

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