New research says more people believe family suffers if women work full-time - what do you think?

(165 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 06-Aug-08 14:34:22

The research is reported here. Do your experiences back up the findings, or contradict them?

jellybeans Wed 06-Aug-08 17:46:30

I don't think both parents working full time is a step forward. I think it is possibly better that one does the care and one does the paid work OR that both share care and work part time. I don't think long days in childcare is the best for young babies in general, of course there are exceptions and I still believe everyone should have the choice. I have worked f/t, p/t and SAH, all were right for me at the time an when they weren't, I changed. I agree that slotting women into mens work patterns is not working, there is still the childcare and domestic work which often still falls on women. But whether unpaid work can ever be valued in a capitalist system I am uncertain.

Quattrocento Wed 06-Aug-08 17:51:22

The crux of the issue seems to be:

"In 1994, 51% of women in Britain and 52% of men said they believed family life would not suffer if a woman went to work. By 2002 those proportions had fallen to 46% of women and 42% of men. There was also a decline in the number of people thinking the best way for a woman to be independent is to have a job."

A lot of sound and fury signifying not very much, IMO.

My experience is that family life has not suffered and I gain a lot from working.

Agree with Twig, not much of a shift, given the time period.

Chez LGJ....

We both work,I do 35 hours a week,there is no impact on our DS.

DH and I share everything around the house more or less 50/50.

We buy in any help we need.



Dog Walker

Every so often a gardener.

I am there when DS goes to school, I am there when he comes home.

So how in the name of all that is good and Holy do my family suffer ??hmm

FioFio Wed 06-Aug-08 18:02:51

Message withdrawn

bottersnike Wed 06-Aug-08 18:16:44

I would agree that there is an increased feeling among our peers ( 30s-ish ) that both partners working full-time outside the home is no longer the default, but I certainly wouldn't extrapolate that to mean that more women should be at home.
That's just going backwards!

twinsetandpearls Wed 06-Aug-08 18:33:10

Bree as others have said I don't think there are many jobs that do not have an impact. I teach which is traditionally seen as a child friendly job. My job means that during term time dp has to run the house as well as working full time. dd was in after school club until half five, meaning that the evening routine was very stressful. We have come to the decision that only one of us should be career focussed which is me and dp reduces his hours and works at home.

Swedes Wed 06-Aug-08 18:34:06

I feel my DP does his fair share.

When people knock men's contribution - are they talking about their own personal circumstances or are they speaking for others?

Sunshinetoast Wed 06-Aug-08 18:38:13

The problem with reports like this one, and the articles that it generates is that they obscure the real question of how can we organise ourselves as a society so that people can give their children the time and attention they need and support themselves financially?

I don't think both parents working full time long hours is great for family life, but neither is poverty. From what I remember about all the research into the impact of parents working hours on children they always have to control for income because that has the biggest impact of all.

One partner staying at home full time while the other works full time works for a lot of people, but it does make the at home partner very vulnerable to poverty in old age or if the relationship breaks up, and makes it hard to get back into work later on. Plus the person working full time can feel excluded from family life.

Both partners working part-time would be my ideal, but in practice part time work is often insecure and badly paid - two part time salaries rarely add up to one full time salary.

A proper discussion about how to make all this work would be much more helpful than a lot of sound and fury about a tiny change in social attitudes

Swedes Wed 06-Aug-08 18:46:04

I suspect the miniscule 5% shift is down to the prevalent economic feelgood factor experienced by couples in the last few years. I suspect the next few years will see the shift run the other way as the economic crisis worsens and couples feel they must both work to bridge the gap.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Aug-08 18:47:17

My family suffered when I worked full-time.

ScottishMummy Wed 06-Aug-08 18:48:50

my family will suffer if i dont work FT

Swedes Wed 06-Aug-08 18:56:10

My family suffered when I worked part-time. grin

<do we see a bit of trend?>

ScottishMummy Wed 06-Aug-08 18:58:48

but research or other's parents experience/ preference doesn't pay my mortgage.FT working does

expatinscotland Wed 06-Aug-08 18:59:57

i did it to pay rent myself, SM.

i see where you are coming from.

it's not a choice for most people.

I would like to point out that we are not minted by any stretch of the imagination, we just choose to use the money we earn to make our weekends family time.

ScottishMummy Wed 06-Aug-08 19:04:34

my parents both worked FT.mum instilled a positive work ethos into all of us.we all do what we have to

for the best for our families

one size does not fit all

i wouldn't dream of transposing my situation/preference onto any one else

maybe we need to take a step back and deep breath about the stuff we get right

less introspection about stuff we could do better

foofi Wed 06-Aug-08 19:05:48

My family definitely suffers when I work, as does the house, the garden, my sanity - BUT the money I earn benefits the family, allows us to stay in the house, do more things etc.

cthea Wed 06-Aug-08 19:08:07

"It found that women and men in west Germany are bucking the Anglo-American trend. Until the 1990s a large majority of west Germans believed that men should be the family breadwinners while women stayed at home. In 1994, only 24% thought family life would not suffer if a woman worked. This proportion rose to 37% in the 2002 survey.

Scott suggested the three countries may be at different stages in "a cycle of sympathy for gender equality". Germans had been slower to abandon traditional gender roles and may not yet have encountered the reaction against working mothers."

So it goes in cycles. Ask us again in 15 years.

In our family there's been no sufferring.

cthea Wed 06-Aug-08 19:13:23

I'd like to see the questions they used. For example how did they get to this? "Only 55 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men now think having a job is the best way for a woman to be independent." What do they mean by independent if not financially independent and how can you be financially independent without a job? Huh?

MissChief Wed 06-Aug-08 19:23:16

bree - just intrigued that you can fit a 35 hr week into school hrs! Must take some time mgmt and juggling, do you work from home?

I guess lots of us have a long commute which exacerbates the stretch so many families seem to feel. I only work half-time but for me, for us, it's hard. Couldn't imagine how ft would work for us and can understand how it may be that more people find it difficult now compared to 10 or so yrs ago and that family life would suffer. But yes, the terminology is vague, what does "suffer" mean exactly? Worklife balance, effect on children of inadequate/too much childcare etc etc

I don't know about family life suffering because I'm working. But I know I suffer because I'm working.

DS is only one. Ask me the same question when he's 18 and I'll tell you if I think we've fucked him up.

beanieb Wed 06-Aug-08 19:31:15

Only as much as it suffers when a man works full time.


DS goes on the school bus, at his request. I did not increase my hours until I was sure he was happy and content on the bus. He goes with the three children from across the road.

The bus picks up at 8.30 and worse case scenario I am my desk by 8.50.

I then leave work at 3.50 and pick at 4.05.

This works for us because the timings are more or less the same as me doing the school run and scrabbling around for parking.

I could earn twice what I am earning, if I worked in London, but at the moment I feel the balance is spot on and the reduction in salary is worth it.

cthea Wed 06-Aug-08 19:54:39

LGJ - that sounds like the perfect combination for you for the time being.

Thank you CT.

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