Advertisement

Journal of Population Research

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 229–247 | Cite as

Dual-earner parents’ work-family time: the effects of atypical work patterns and non-parental childcare

  • Lyn CraigEmail author
  • Abigail Powell
Article

Abstract

Finding time to both earn money and raise children is demanding. Within the constraints and opportunities of their employment and social policies affecting work and family, parents seeking to manage their time may use a number of strategies. For example, they can outsource childcare or adopt atypical work patterns: non-standard work schedules, self employment, working from home. In this paper we compare the effects of these measures on the household time use and gender division of labour of dual-earner couples with children, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey, 2006 (n = 772 couples). We find that these strategies do help households manage their work and family time. However, this is almost exclusively a result of women changing their time use. Such measures generally enable mothers, not fathers, to adjust paid work around family commitments, and offer little amelioration of gendered divisions of labour. This reinforces normative gender-role expectations and is probably a result of institutional constraints, including sparse social policy and workplace support for mothers’ full-time employment and for fathers’ involvement in childcare.

Keywords

Work-family balance Gender division of labour Childcare Non-standard work schedules Self-employment Work from home Non-parental childcare 

References

  1. Apps, P. (2006). Family taxation: An unfair and inefficient system. Australian Review of Public Affairs, 7(1), 77–101.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2007). Average weekly earnings, Cat no. 6302.0. Canberra.Google Scholar
  3. Baines, S., Wheelock, J., & Gelder, U. (2003). Riding the roller coaster: Self-employment and family-friendly working. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baird, M. (2011). The state, work and family in Australia. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(18), 3742–3754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes, M., Bryson, C., & Smith, R. (2006). Working atypical hours: What happens to family life?. London: National Centre for Social Research.Google Scholar
  6. Baxter, J. (2009). Parental time with children: Do job characteristics make a difference? Research paper no. 44. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.Google Scholar
  7. Bell, A., & La Valle, I. (2003). Combining self-employment and family-life. Bristol: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Bergmann, B. (2005). The economic emergence of women (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Berke, D. L. (2003). Coming home again: The challenges and rewards of home-based self-employment. Journal of Family Issues, 24(4), 513–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bianchi, S. M. (2000). Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity? Demography, 37(4), 401–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bittman, M., Craig, L., & Folbre, N. (2004). Packaging care: What happens when parents utilize non-parental child care. In N. Folbre & M. Bittman (Eds.), Family time: The social organization of care (pp. 133–151). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Blanchflower, D. G. (2000). Self-employment in OECD countries. Labour Economics, 7(5), 471–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Booth, C. L., Clarke-Stewart, K. A., Vandell, D. L., McCartney, K., & Owen, M. T. (2002). Child-care usage and mother-infant ‘Quality Time’. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(1), 16–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brayfield, A. (1995). Juggling jobs and kids: The impact of work schedules on fathers’ caring for children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 321–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brennan, D. (2007). Babies, budgets, and birthrates: Work/family policy in Australia 1996–2006. Social Policy, 14(1), 31–57.Google Scholar
  16. Bryant, W. K., & Zick, C. D. (1996). An examination of parent-child shared time. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58(1), 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buchanan, J., & Thornthwaite, L. (2001). Paid work and parenting: Charting a new course for Australian families. Sydney: University of Sydney.Google Scholar
  18. Budig, M. (2006). Intersections on the road to self-employment: Gender, family and occupational class. Social Forces, 84(4), 2223–2239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Casper, L. M., & Bianchi, S. M. (2002). Continuity and change in the American family. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Coltrane, S. (2007). Fatherhood, gender and work-family policies. In E. O. Wright (Ed.), Real utopias. Madison: University of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  21. Connelly, R., & Kimmel, J. (2007). The role of nonstandard work hours in maternal caregiving for young children. IZA Discussion paper. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  22. Craig, L. (2006). Does father care mean fathers share? A comparison of how mothers and fathers in intact families spend time with children. Gender and Society, 20(2), 259–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Craig, L. (2007a). Contemporary motherhood: The impact of children on adult time. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Craig, L. (2007b). How employed mothers in Australia find time for both market work and childcare. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28(1), 69–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Craig, L., & Bittman, M. (2008). The effect of children on adults’ time-use: An analysis of the incremental time costs of children in Australia. Feminist Economics, 14(2), 57–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Craig, L., & Mullan, K. (2009). The policeman and the part-time sales assistant: Household labour supply, family time and subjective time pressure in Australia 1997–2006. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 40(4), 545–560.Google Scholar
  27. Craig, L., Mullan, K., & Blaxland, M. (2010). Parenthood, policy and work-family time in Australia 1992–2006. Work, Employment & Society, 24(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Craig, L., & Powell, A. (2011). Nonstandard work schedules, work-family balance and the gendered division of childcare. Work, Employment & Society, 25(2), 274–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Craig, L., Powell, A., & Cortis, N. (2012). Self-employment, work-family time and the gender division of labour. Work, Employment and Society, 26(5).Google Scholar
  30. Craig, L., & Sawrikar, P. (2009). Work and family: How does the (gender) balance change as children grow? Gender, Work & Organization, 16(6), 684–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Crompton, R. (2003). Employment, flexible working and the family. The British Journal of Sociology, 53(4), 537–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Crompton, R. (2006). Employment and the family: The reconfiguration of work and family life in contemporary societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Crompton, R., & Harris, F. (1998). Explaining women’s employment patterns: ‘Orientations to work’ revisited. The British Journal of Sociology, 49(1), 118–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. De Henau, J., Meulders, D., & O’Dorcha, S. (2010). Maybe baby: Comparing partnered women’s employment and child policies in the EU-15. Feminist Economics, 16(1), 43–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. De Henau, J., O’Dorchai, S., & Meulders, D. (2006). The comparative effectiveness of public policies to fight motherhood-induced employment penalties and decreasing fertility in the former EU-15. Brussels: Université libre de Bruxelles, Department of Applied Economics (DULBEA).Google Scholar
  36. DeMartino, R., & Barbato, R. (2003). Differences between women and men MBA entrepreneurs: Exploring family flexibility and wealth creation as career motivators. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(6), 815–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Fagan, C., & O’Reilly, J. (1998). Part-time prospects: An international comparison of part-time work in Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Fisher, K., Egerton, M., Gershuny, J., & Robinson, J. (2007). Gender convergence in the American Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS). Social Indicators Research, 82(1), 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Folbre, N. (1994). Who pays for the kids? Gender and the structures of constraints. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Furedi, F. (2001). Paranoid parenting. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  41. Gornick, J., & Meyers, M. (2003). Families that work: Policies for reconciling parenthood and employment. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Gornick, J., & Meyers, M. (2009). Gender equality: transforming family divisions of labor. In E. O. Wright (Ed.), Real Utopias project. London: Verso. (Volume VI Real Utopias Project Series).Google Scholar
  43. Gray, M., Baxter, J., & Alexander, M. (2008). Parent-only care: a child care choice for working couple families? Family Matters, 79, 42–49.Google Scholar
  44. Gregory, A., & Milner, S. (2009). Editorial. Work-life balance: A matter of choice? Gender, Work & Organization, 16(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Gurley-Calvez, T., Harper, K., & Biehl, A. (2009). Self-employed women and time use. Washington, DC: Office of Advocacy.Google Scholar
  46. Haas, B. (2005). The work-care balance: Is it possible to identify typologies for cross-national comparisons? Current Sociology, 53(3), 487–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Haddock, S. A., Zimmerman, T. S., Lyness, K. P., & Ziemba, S. J. (2006). Practice of dual earner couples successfully balancing work and family. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27(2), 207–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hakim, C. (1998). Developing a sociology for the twenty-first century: Preference theory. British Journal of Sociology, 49(1), 137–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Hakim, C. (2002). Lifestyle preferences as determinants of women’s differentiated labor market careers. Work and Occupations, 29(4), 428–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Han, W.-J. (2004). Nonstandard work schedules and child care decisions: Evidence from the NICHD study of early child care. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19, 231–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Harkness, S., & Waldfogel, J. (2003). The family gap in pay: Evidence from seven industrialised countries. Research in Labor Economics, 22, 369–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Hays, S. (1996). The cultural contradictions of motherhood. New York: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Hewlett, S. A., Rankin, N., & West, C. (Eds.). (2002). Taking parenting public: The case for a new social movement. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  54. Hilbrecht, M., Shaw, S. M., Johnson, L. C., & Andrey, J. (2008). Contradictory implications for work-life balance of teleworking mothers. Gender, Work & Organization, 15(5), 454–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hobson, B. (2003). Recognition struggles: Recognition struggles and social movements: cultural claims, contested identities, power and agency. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Hobson, B., Lewis, J., & Siim, B. (2002). Contested concepts in gender and social politics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  57. Hofferth, S. L. (2001). Women’s employment and care of children in the United States. In T. Van der Lippe & L. Van Dijk (Eds.), Women’s employment in a comparative perspective. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  58. Hughes, K. D. (2003). Innovative social policies: Implications for work–life balance among low-waged women in England. Gender, Work & Organization, 10(4), 433–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Hyytinen, A., & Ruuskenen, O. (2007). Time use of the self-employed. Kyklos, 60(1), 105–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Jacobs, J., & Gerson, K. (2004). The time divide: Work, family and gender inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Kangas, O., & Rostgaard, T. (2007). Preferences or institutions? Work-family life opportunities in seven European countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 17(3), 240–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Kelley, C. G. E., Kelley, S. M. C., Evans, M. D. R., & Kelley, J. (2010). Attitudes towards home-based employment for mothers of young children: Australian evidence. International Journal of Social Welfare, 19(1), 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. La Valle, I., Arthur, S., Millward, C., Scott, J., & Clayden, M. (2002). Happy families? Atypical work and its influence on family life. Bristol: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  64. Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race and family life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  65. Leira, A. (2002). Working parents and the welfare state: Family change and policy reform in Scandinavia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Lewis, J. (2009). Work-family balance, gender and policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  67. Lister, R. (2000). Dilemmas in engendering citizenship. In B. Hobson (Ed.), Gender and citizenship in transition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Maher, J., Lindsay, J., & Bardoel, A. (2010). Freeing time: The ‘family time economies’ of nurses. Sociology, 44(2), 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. McRae, S. (2003). Constraints and choices in mothers’ employment careers: A consideration of Hakim’s preference theory. The British Journal of Sociology, 54(3), 317–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Millward, C. (2002). Work rich, family poor? Non-standard working hours and family life. Family Matters, 61, 40–47.Google Scholar
  71. Morehead, A. (2005). Governments, workplaces and households. Family Matters, 70(Autumn), 4–9.Google Scholar
  72. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2007). Babies and bosses—reconciling work and family life: A synthesis of findings for OECD countries. Paris.Google Scholar
  73. Orloff, A. (1996). Gender and the welfare state. Annual Review of Sociology, 22, 51–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Orloff, A. (2006). From maternalism to ‘employment for all’: State policies to promote women’s employment across the affluent democracies. In J. Levy (Ed.), The state after statism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Orloff, A. (2009). Gendering the comparative analysis of welfare states: An unfinished agenda. Sociological Theory, 27(3), 317–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Osnowitz, D. (2005). Managing time in domestic space: Home-based contractors and household work. Gender Society, 19(1), 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pettit, B., & Hook, J. (2009). Gendered tradeoffs: Family, social policy, and economic inequality in twenty-one countries. New York.: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  78. Pfau-Effinger, B. (2000). Changing welfare states and labour markets in the context of European gender arrangements. Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  79. Plantenga, J., & Remery, C. (2005). Reconciliation of work and family life: A comparative review of thirty European countries. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  80. Pocock, B. (2005). Work/care regimes: Institutions, culture and behaviour and the Australian case. Gender, Work & Organization, 12(1), 32–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Pocock, B., Skinner, N., & Ichii, R. (2009). Work, life and workplace flexibility: The Australian work and life index. Adelaide: Centre for Work and Life, Adelaide University.Google Scholar
  82. Ranson, G. (2011). Men, paid employment and family responsibilities: Conceptualizing the ‘working father’. Gender, Work & Organization. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2011.00549.x.
  83. Rubery, J., & Grimshaw, D. (2003). The organisation of employment: An international perspective. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  84. Sainsbury, D. (1996). Gender, equality and welfare states. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Saraceno, C., & Keck, W. (2010). Can we identify intergenerational policy regimes in Europe? European Societies, 12(5), 675–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Sayer, L., Bianchi, S. M., & Robinson, J. (2004a). Are parents investing less in children? Trends in mothers and fathers time with children. American Journal of Sociology, 110(1), 1–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Sayer, L., Gauthier, A., & Furstenberg, F. (2004b). Educational differences in parents’ time with children: Cross-national variations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 1152–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sullivan, C., & Lewis, S. (2001). Home-based telework, gender and the synchronization of work and family: Perspectives of teleworkers and their co-residents. Gender, Work & Organization, 8(2), 123–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Sullivan, O. (2006). Changing gender relations, changing families: Tracing the pace of change over time. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  90. Tang, N., & Cousins, C. (2005). Working time, gender and family: An east-west European comparison. Gender, Work & Organization, 12(6), 527–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Tuttle, R., & Garr, M. (2009). Self-employment, work-family fit and mental health among female workers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 30, 282–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wall, G. (2010). Mothers experiences with intensive parenting and brain development discourse. Women’s Studies International Forum, 33(3), 253–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Warren, T., Fox, E., & Pascall, G. (2009). Innovative social policies: Implications for work–life balance among low-waged women in England. Gender, Work & Organization, 16(1), 126–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wight, V. R., & Raley, S. B. (2009). When home becomes work: Work and family time among workers at home. Social Indicators Research, 93, 197–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Wight, V. R., Raley, S. B., & Bianchi, S. M. (2008). Time for children, one’s spouse and oneself among parents who work nonstandard hours. Social Forces, 87(1), 243–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Williams, J. (2001). Unbending gender: Why family and work conflict and what to do about it. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Policy Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations