Working mothers feel more rushed but are happy: study

Thu Oct 1, 2009 10:11pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Working mothers don't have enough time in the day and feel guiltier than stay-at-home mums, but they're just as happy even though they believe their careers often face a glass ceiling, according to a U.S. study.

A study by the Pew Research Center, analyzing several office surveys about work-family issues, found most people thought women should work, with 75 percent of Americans rejecting the idea that a woman's place is in the home.

Women now make up almost half of the U.S. workforce, or 47 percent, up from 38 percent in 1970.

But the study found that although 59 percent of women work or are seeking work, many remain conflicted about the competing roles at work and a home, feeling far more guilt about how they are balancing work and children than fathers.

They are more likely than either stay-at-home mothers or working dads to feel as if there is not enough time in the day.

Four out of every 10 say they always feel rushed, compared with a quarter of the other two groups, according to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 62 percent of working mothers saying they would prefer to work part-time.

Only 37 percent of working mothers would prefer to work full-time compared to 79 percent of working fathers saying they would prefer full-time work.

"But despite these pressures and conflicts, working moms, overall, are as likely as at-home moms and working dads to say they're happy with their lives," the researchers said in a statement.

They found 36 percent of working mothers were very happy with their lives -- the same as at-home mothers -- while single mothers with children aged under 18 were the least happy group.   Continued...