, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 401–414 | Cite as

Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?

  • Suzanne M. Bianchi
Presidential Address


Despite the rapid rise in mothers’ labor force participation, mothers’ time with children has tended to be quite stable over time. In the past, nonemployed mothers’ time with children was reduced by the demands of unpaid family work and domestic chores and by the use of mother substitutes for childcare, especially in large families. Today employed mothers seek ways to maximize time with children: They remain quite likely to work part-time or to exit from the labor force for some years when their children are young; they also differ from nonemployed mothers in other uses of time (housework, volunteer work, leisure). In addition, changes in children’s lives (e.g., smaller families, the increase in preschool enrollment, the extended years of financial dependence on parents as more attend college) are altering the time and money investments that children require from parents. Within marriage, fathers are spending more time with their children than in the past, perhaps increasing the total time children spend with parents even as mothers work more hours away from home.


Labor Force Participation Maternal Employment Market Work Time Diary Childcare Time 
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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne M. Bianchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Center on Population, Gender, and Social Inequality, Department of SociologyUniversity of MarylandCollege Park

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