Whether or not you think mothers should stay at home and raise the kids—the fact is that more mothers are staying home. Almost three of ten mothers (29%) stayed at home in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. It’s a continuation of an upward trend that started over a decade ago.
My question is: Why are more moms staying at home?
Pew’s analysis goes back to only 1967, so we don’t know what the stay-at-home rate was on the first Mother’s Day 100 years this week. In 1967, almost half (49%) of all mothers with kids younger than 18 years old stayed at home and did not work outside the house.
That figure started a steady downward march after 1967, hitting a low of 23% in 1999. After that, the trend reversed and increasing numbers of mothers stayed at home.
Here is why Pew thinks large groups of moms are staying home: Multiple factors come into play. Some mothers stay at home to care for sick children or ailing elderly parents. Some mothers stay at home because they can’t find work in a weak economy. When a job is available, it may not pay enough to justify childcare expenses. And, all this takes place in a social context with conflicting norms and expectations about the role of women (and men) in the workplace and in the family.
Pew made some general comparisons: Married stay-at-home mothers whose husbands work “are more likely than single or cohabitating mothers to say caring for family is their primary reason for being home.” In contrast, single or cohabitating mothers are more likely “to say they are ill or disabled, unable to find a job, or enrolled in school.”
Are you a stay-at-home mom?
Do you think the trend of more stay-at-home mothers will continue?
Is the trend a good or bad thing for society?