Family Matters

The Motherhood Penalty: We’re in the Midst of a ‘Mom-Cession’

Married mothers find it harder to secure a new job after being laid off and when they do, they earn less than married fathers

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More men than women lost their jobs in the recession, making for some catchy terminology: “he-cession” has a lyrical ring to it. But, according to new research, some women are faring worse than others. Married mothers are experiencing a triple whammy: compared with married fathers, they’re experiencing more of a gap between jobs, they’re less likely to find a new job at all, and once they’ve secured a new paycheck, they earn considerably less. As it turns out, the “man-cession” may actually be a “mom-cession.”

“There does appear to be a motherhood penalty,” says study co-author Brian Serafini, a University of Washington doctoral candidate in sociology.

Moms are struggling longer to land a new position and earning less once they find one, even after controlling for education level and previous job and earnings histories. The research, to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colo., sheds light on how having children can influence an employer’s opinion about a potential employee’s value.

When Serafini and his co-author, Michelle Maroto, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, originally looked at broader categories of men and women in general, they found no gender difference in terms of how long it took people to find new employment. “We were suspicious,” says Serafini, who proceeded to further break down the groupings into single and married people and those with or without children. The researchers relied upon U.S. census data collected in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 from the Displaced Workers Supplement, part of a monthly household survey.

(MORE: Marissa Mayer: Is the Yahoo! CEO’s Pregnancy Good for Working Moms?)

The researchers were right to be skeptical: once kids entered the equation, conclusions changed considerably. “We found that the story is little bit more complicated,” says Serafini.

Married women with kids who lost their jobs between 2007 and 2009 had a 31% lower chance of finding a new job than married fathers with kids. But their alter-egos — single women without kids — were taking less time to find new jobs compared to similar men. In fact, single women who weren’t moms had a 29% greater chance than single men without kids of finding a new job.

The study didn’t examine the reasons behind the disparities, but Serafini has a pretty good idea what may be at play. “When making hiring decisions, employers have assumptions about mothers,” says Serafini. “There are stereotypes that they will be less productive employees because they will have to pick up their kids and leave work early.”

The funny thing is, research has found that moms are every bit as dedicated to their jobs as women without kids — or men, for that matter. In 2008, the Families and Work Institute’s National Study of the Changing Workforce found that women with and without children are equally ambitious. What women contribute to the family coffers is far from trivial, says Ellen Galinsky, the institute’s president. They are responsible for 45% of family income, with more than 1 in 4 women earning at least 10% more than their husbands.

“Despite these demographic changes, the results of this study indicate that stereotypes still appear to affect hiring decisions,” Galinsky wrote in an email. “Employers would do better to concentrate on talent — on who could do the best job — rather than make assumptions about men and women, which in this day are age are unlikely to be true.”

(MORE: About that ‘Atlantic’ Article, Why Working from Home Isn’t the Answer for Working Moms)

Married moms’ struggle to find a new job is even more striking considering that the current labor market appears more favorable to women, with vacancies in traditionally female-dominated service fields such as education and caregiving.

Pay inequities abound once women do find new jobs. Previous research has discovered that employees rejoining the workforce tend to net lower salaries, and the University of Washington findings bore that out. The study found that married moms in the 2010 survey earned $175 less each week than married fathers, which adds up to more than $9,000 a year.

It also concluded that married women without children were earning significantly less than their male counterparts. And single women with children were earning less than single men with children. But there was no significant difference between single men and women without kids and their reemployment earnings.

“When talking about the economic prospects for laid-off workers, we miss something when we just look at plain old sex differences,” says Serafini. “We speculate being a mother sends a signal to an employer that they may be less productive in the workplace.”

The solution? Dash the stereotype that it’s mom who’s solely responsible for kids’ care and feeding. The proportion of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the past decade, for example, though it’s still small at 3.4%.

“The more men engaged in caregiving and the more men who identify as primary caregivers, the more likely it will be that people won’t assume that women’s job performance will diminish because of her kids,” says Brad Harrington, executive director of the Center for Work & Family at Boston College. “People will realize it’s just as likely for men to make trade-offs and compromises. But that’s going to be a long time coming.”

MORE: Mother Is Best? Why ‘Intensive Parenting’ Makes Moms More Depressed

59 comments
Steve Folino
Steve Folino

Having children is more or less optional.  There's no law in this country requiring people to produce offspring.  In my opinionj, it's more like a hobby.  If a woman wants to spend her time, energy and money on her hobby (having and raising children), so be it.  As soon as we treat it as optional and stop making society pay women to have children (higher welfare payments, greater tax breaks, etc) and instead penalize them for burdening society with their hobby, the sooner we'll get society back on track.  The way I see it, ther more children you have, the greater burden on society and thus the more taxes you should pay.

Christie
Christie

@Steve Folino Goodness, Steve, I suggest then that those people, like you, who resent parents should just opt out of the benefits provided to society by those children.  After all, those little "hobbies" are where our future scientists, doctors, teachers, nurses, truck drivers, wait staff, store clerks, construction workers, oil drillers, even  the people who change your bedpan when you're hospitalized will come from.  Japan is currently experiencing this problem to a fair degree now without enough young people to provide the goods and services needed by an aging society.  They are trying various means to cope with the problem, but it is important to recognize that it IS a problem.  Perhaps a cabin in the woods where you grow all your own food, sew your own clothes, and self-medicate is what you should plan on for your old age so those little "hobbies" to which you want to create nothing won't be burdened with having to provide for your needs.  Both you and Mary are the real problems facing our society--pure selfishness on both your parts.  Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I'm childless so I'm not basing my comments on expecting to get anything.  Were I as divorced from reality as you two seem to be, I would, of course, believe that I would be better off if your thinking prevailed.

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

I agree with you on parents paying more in taxes, not less, Steve. In a nation with over 314, 200, 000 people and dwindling natural resources, that would be the best idea. At some point in the future, the USA may even have to adopt the same one-child policy China has.

My hobby? Cross-stitch, tatting, and sewing. Far more relaxing and way cheaper than child-raising.

JeffersonAirplane
JeffersonAirplane

Seems to me this topic is very complex.

First off, I'm tired of hearing about THIS subgroup of the population, or THAT subgroup of the population, is having a WORSE recession than the other. Obviously, when things are tough, SOMEONE will have it tougher than someone else. Stop trying to create rifts between these groups! Unless someone is just trying to sell magazines, of course.

Second, with the advent of FREE TRADE, shipping a LOT of jobs overseas left fewer jobs here in America. Everyone now fights for whatever jobs they can get. So now, you have college educated applicants taking jobs they wouldn't have taken previously, former breadwinners working at WAL-MART, and teens competing with these folks! Gee, I wonder why teen unemployment is so high! Add in the recent stock market rip-off to this equation, and now you also have SHOULD-BE RETIREES also feeding from the now-reduced jobs pool. More applicants ALWAYS depresses pay/benefits, for ALL.

Third, do you think any job that offered health benefits would want to "pay" the additional "costs" associated with motherhood applicants? By that I mean all the reasons that have already been stated in regards to absences etc., AND the costs to the health insurance plan. Employers are cut-throat these days, and lets face it...any GOOD mom will (amp; should) place their family before work. Too bad our laws don't encourage family-friendly employment. Because that STOCK PRICE    M*U*S*T    K*E*E*P   I*N*C*R*E*A*S*I*N*G!    After all, that IS what feeds the political machine (Campaign contributions, thank you very much, (conservative/legislating) U.S. Supreme Court!).

Belisarius85
Belisarius85

As a (sorta) conservative, I'd imagine that most liberals should thank the Supreme Court for the Citizens United decision. It will make the political bribery more obvious (it was always there), and accelerate the backlash against it.

The bigger issue is, as you mention, free trade. Politically, the proponents of free trade have won so thoroughly that it will barely even be mentioned during this presidential campaign, aside from a few throw-away remarks about outsourcing, which the winning side will proceed to ignore after the election.

I am typically pro-free trade, but it is sad that the costs of free trade are never mentioned. It is the root cause of many of our problems, but because criticism of free trade is verboten, people try to blame the problems on other factors. Then policies are enacted based on erroneous data that just wind up making the situation worse.

Lee Lynn
Lee Lynn

When Obama forces institutions to provide contraceptive products and services to women, it's no surprise to me that women in their child bearing years will be viewed differently moving forward.  Shame on Obama for imposing HIS sense of right, wrong, fair, unfair etc on this country. So much for our Constitution and our nation of laws.. 

Emerson
Emerson

In his second term The Great Obama will initiate his Equal Pay For All initiative. All workers will receive 1,000 Obamabucks a month to spend on Michelle-approved foods, goods, and services. There will be no bosses, only workers working together to move Forward as work will set you free.

Cypherlock
Cypherlock

"The funny thing is, research has found that moms are every bit as dedicated to their jobs as women without kids — or men, for that matter."

Total BS. Anyone who's been around young mothers knows they are the ones always leaving work early, or coming in late, missing days, or demanding every single holiday off because they "deserve" it more than single employees or nonparents. The stereotype fits because it is correct, and anyone who has held a job will confirm it. Once the kid arrives, it is numero uno, and everything else suffers. Period.

Jerry Cox
Jerry Cox

More Libtard BS from (way past its freshness date) Time 'Magazine'. What we need is more  Meritocracy, not I'm a loser because of my race/gender/orientation/ aunt fanny was afraid of the dark so the Government has to intervene on my behalf Liberal Bulldirt

wippitywopwop
wippitywopwop

This separatism is getting old.

If a married father gets a job, his wife benefits.  We're in this together.  Quit bìtching

wippitywopwop
wippitywopwop

We're all in this together - end the separatism.

If a married father has a job, that means his wife  is benefiting.  Quit bitching!

Ṩụẹ
Ṩụẹ

Maybe the reason single women are hired more than married w/children has less to do with who will hire them, than the job options married w/children have. There are restrainsts based on home and family responsibility, like finding a job near school or day care, what hours can be worked, availability for travel or relocation, commuting time, etc. Singles have many more options available and, as the field widens, so do job offers.

sgreco1970
sgreco1970

"The study didn’t examine the reasons behind the disparities, but Serafini has a pretty good idea what may be at play. 'When making hiring decisions, employers have assumptions about mothers,' says Serafini. 'There are stereotypes that they will be less productive employees because they will have to pick up their kids and leave work early.' "

in other words, they don't know but they selected one guess out of a million and stated it as though that would make it truer than any other.

JilliC
JilliC

Giveaway number #1: doctoral student and prof in Sociology. Famous for having social agendas.

Giveaway #2 (and this is a big one): although previous research says men were impacted more, when they didn't find big differences, "they were skeptical" that women weren't impacted more. In other words, they tortured the data until it gave the answer they expected (wanted).

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

My only thought about this is less about hiring mothers than it is about why mothers don't "earn" as much as non-parent women or men. 

I would like to see the study show what the salaries and pay scale is in the first place, and the amount of time spent on the job by each of the three (married, single and men).  My guess is that woman with kids spend more time away from work due to kids than single women and men (married or not) tend to do.   That lost productivity is likely the reason there's a difference in earnings rather than an inherent discrimination on the part of the employers.  If the figures show married men earn less than single men, that would lend credence to the theory that it's time at work which determines earnings levels rather than gender discrimination.

The simple reasoning is that you should get paid for being at work doing the job.  If you're not at work doing the job, you shouldn't get paid for it.  I expect this is what causes the majority of any discrepancies between the "earnings" of a mother versus everyone else.

KJak
KJak

Wow - what incredibly bad editing.  It was difficult to read this article for all the simple errors left behind by its proof-reader.  

rdevaughn
rdevaughn

My question is, how could you make sure women and men were paid the same amount of money if it turned out that (for whatever reason) women were not as good at negotiating their salaries?

I can't imagine any reason why men may likely think they are worth more... <coughs>... ego...</coughs>

Talendria
Talendria

When a child is sick, someone has to stay home with them.  When a child is struggling in school, someone has to spend time at the school (volunteering, eating lunch in the cafeteria, meeting with the faculty).  When a child has a medical or psychological problem, someone has to leave work early to take them to therapy.  In most families, the mother gets stuck doing these things both because of the traditional gender role and because the father usually earns a higher salary which makes his employment status more important.

I understand the employer's perspective.  An employee who leaves work early and has an unpredictable schedule may be less productive and less reliable than an employee who apparently has no personal life.

I also understand the mother's perspective.  We worked just as hard as our male counterparts to get through college, pay off our student loans, and establish a career.  We're not willing to settle for less pay and fewer promotions.

In order to rectify the inequality, attitudes and policies have to change.  Fathers have to bear the burden of childcare equally.  (This is impossible if the father's job requires travel.)  Employers have to accommodate flexible work schedules.  (This is difficult in many industries.)  It's a conundrum.

This is why I gave up my career when my son was born.  After seeing my co-workers abandon their children to daycare for 10-12 hours/day and getting stuck doing their work when they had to leave early, I decided I didn't want to be a crappy mother or a crappy employee.  It was a terrible waste of my education and abilities, but I can't be in two places at one time.

Europe has much better family leave policies, but they also have higher taxes and lower salaries across the board.

Belisarius85
Belisarius85

>>

In order to rectify the inequality, attitudes and policies have to change.  Fathers have to bear the burden of childcare equally<<

You'll start seeing more men shouldering more of the childcare burden and in general behaving more nicely only when women start finding that attractive in a mate. As it stands, it pays more to be somewhat of a jerk and either ignore or refuse to an equal share of the housework in a show of dominance that everyone knows is contrived.

I was astonished at how much easier it was to pick up women in college once I started acting a bit stupider and more sexist than I actually am. Of course, that was a while ago and I'm married now, but I kept up the act so long that I actually am a bit more sexist than I use to be (though I did drop the stupid act). Oh well, at least I got the girl I wanted.

Christie
Christie

@Belisarius85 H-m-m, do you perhaps mean that it was easier to pick up the hot chicks and party girls that all the other guys went after?  How much attention did you pay to the not as popular, not as blatantly gorgeous, more studious, or maybe somewhat shyer girls?  There really are a lot of women who find sexist, stupid jerks rather repellent.  Thank god I'm not married to you or anyone else who "thinks" like you.

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

Belisarius, yes, it is true that many college women are very easy when it comes to men (and do not know how to use simple, basic birth control) - after spending several years at a state college for graduate work I saw quite a few girls who were pregnant - including one poor Asian girl in my philosophy class who had this perpetual look of fear on her face (I am guessing she was not married and I have first-hand experience with the Asian community and their view on traditional marriage and extra-marital sex).

Being married though I didn't have that problem.

Talendria
Talendria

GG Captain Caveman

Talendria
Talendria like.author.displayName 1 Like

I apologize for the caveman quip. I thought you were half-joking, so I posted a half-joking reply; hence the GG. (It's a satirical way of saying, "Nice job or good game.")

I know dozens of married couples in their 40s and 50s, and the only woman who puts up with a boorish husband is a second-generation alcoholic. (They get drunk, fight, make up; I'm sure it's very confusing for their two young children.)

Women may fantasize about alpha males, particularly in the context of romance novels, but most intelligent, successful women are looking for an equal partner, not an overlord. Maybe unintelligent, codependent women are looking for something different, but who wants to be saddled with one of those for fifty years? I'll stop now before I get busted for launching ad hominem attacks on dumb chicks.

Belisarius85
Belisarius85

Nice ad hominem, especially given your apparent disapproval of them above. 

That being said, my point was that men are merely reacting to what women want. If you want to change men's attitudes, all women have to do is show preference towards men with those attitudes.

Most of us just want to sleep with, procreate with, and/or marry the "best" women we can find. And because current gender norms (reinforced by biology) dictate that men are the pursuers in the mating game, to be successful we need to align our personalities to what women like. 

Thus you get "cavemen" behavior in men. While women may claim they like nice and sensitive guys, their actions generally say otherwise.

Best Regards, Talendria.

rjpal
rjpal

"We're not willing to settle for less pay and fewer promotions."

Why not?  I know someone who was in academia who quit his job and is working for Google at three times the salary.  But some of us prefer to stay in Academia.

Do we say, "We're not willing to settle for less pay and fewer promotions"?

No, we made a choice and it is fine with us that we are paid less.

A woman with children might make less money than a single, comparably qualified single woman does.  But then she also has pleasures that the single woman does not have.

And, ahem, if you do not know that kids are a source of pleasure, don't have them.  I certainly would not want to be your kid.

America has become more and more a country run by lawyers filing suits about civil rights violations and less and less a country run by common sense.

ssohara
ssohara

 I agree with this. I'm a woman and I think life is about choices. Europeans chose better family leave policies, but one of the results of that choice has been higher unemployment rates and lower salaries. When parents choose to have children, they both have to make sacrifices for the kids. The woman might, in  most cases, be the one who makes the sacrifice of career advancement - though it's not really a sacrifice if it means healthy, happy children, is it? But the man also has to make sacrifices - he may feel forced to work longer hours because he wants to afford braces and private schools, etc. Because of traditional gender roles, I've seen women put their careers on hold but I've also seen fathers work multiple jobs to take care of their families. And, I've also seen how things are changing in society - I do know a few cases of husbands being the home-maker or the part time worker while the wife is the primary bread-winner. There are men out there who prefer these roles, a woman who wants her career to be the primary one needs to find one of them to support her!

rjpal
rjpal

First of all, Talendria, I apologize if I offended you.  I have no reason to think you are not a good mother.  

My point is this and even if you ssohara and Talendria do not agree, I hope you can take it into consideration.

There are two different issues here.  One is that a woman has a right to have a career and be successful if she wants to and has the energy and ability.  And a man who wants to spend all his time at home has a right to do so if he finds a successful wife who is willing to support him.   But he may run a risk.  I know a man who spent far more time with his daughter than his wife did, but when they divorced SHE was the one who got custody.   And while women fight for the rights of women, no one fights for the rights of men.    Women may be sympathetic, but mere sympathy is not enough.

But my main point is that the difference between men and women is founded in biology and not culture.   Male tigers play NO role in bringing up cubs.  Human fathers are much better and much more loving, but it is futile to expect that all of them will be just as good as women.   Many will, but most will only play a "supporting role". 

We should support and appreciate the exceptions.   But remember that fathers who play an equal role in child caring or mothers who spend time away from children to pursue success will be exceptions.

Accept the exceptions, even praise them.  But please do not demand that they become the norm for you will only harm society in the search for an abstract ideal.

Talendria
Talendria like.author.displayName 1 Like

If you were my kid, I'd teach you how to construct an argument without using ad hominem attacks.

rjpal
rjpal

Smile!!

But let me recommend the book Reasoning, by my (late) colleague Jonathan Adler and Lance Rips.

I do not recommend this book to insult you, but it IS a wonderful book containing what contemporary psychologists and logicians think about reasoning.  Another good book is Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman who won the Nobel in 2002.

Talendria
Talendria

Unusual logic book? If this is what we're teaching in academia these days, it's no wonder 50% of college grads are underemployed.

"And, ahem, if you do not know that kids are a source of pleasure, don't have them. I certainly would not want to be your kid." This is an obvious personal attack in anyone's "logic book."

rjpal
rjpal

Well, then I am doubly fortunate that I am not your kid!  (smile)

Personally I did not find any ad hominem attack or even any attack in what I had said.  But hey, you are probably using some unusual logic book.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

I couldn't have said it better Talendria! I too did the exact same things. But the biggest problem with that is what do you do in the case of divorce, or if your husband dies, or if your husband is unable to work (but also unable to care for your children)? If it's a medical leave or death, you have life insurance and disability that pays you. But if you get a divorce and you were a SAHM, watch out! You'll be expected to put your child in daycare or latch-key and get a job. It happens to women every day. The family law rules on this exact point are completely against mother and child.

Belisarius85
Belisarius85

Okay, if you don't mind, let's take a step back and break down the pros and cons for each person in a working dad/stay-at-home mom divorce:

Working Dad

Pros: Work experience throughout marriage means retained salary level, more freedom (no kids to take care of regularly)

Cons: Significant loss of assets, separation from children/limited influence in future upbringing, childcare payments, alimony payments

Overall: Effective salary is reduced due to childcare and alimony payments, likely loss of house/car(s), separation from children, but more free time

Stay-at-Home Mother

Pros: Likely retains house and custody of children, receives monthly alimony and/or childcare payments

Cons: Lack of work experience means low salary/wage upon re-entering workforce, reduced freedom due to childcare burden

Overall: Retains house/car and custody of children, lower salary due to sacrificing career, burden of providing child care

This is obviously up for debate, but I'd say both parties are suffering pretty equally. 

Then the other factors come into play: some men find ways to weasel out of paying child support/alimony; some women find ways to continue drawing alimony even when they are living with other men (effectively remarried); some women can jump back into the workforce quickly and some men lose their jobs, have to take a lower-paying one,but alimony and child support payments are not adjusted to the lower income; women initiate a significant majority of divorces, often for petty reasons; men sometimes get cuckolded and still wind up paying child support for kids who are not theirs.

Overall, current divorce law favors the least moral party. Immoral men can find ways around making the required payments, and immoral women can use their children as a weapon to practically extort more money from the fathers who actually care.

If nothing else, we can probably agree that the current situation sucks and needs to be fixed.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'll agree with your last statement. But for alimony, I will big time disagree. In my and many other women's situations, alimony was not granted, even though we were SAHMs. I got a "go get a job, the kids can take the bus and wait at home for you" sorry excuse. I also didn't get the house, as many women nowadays don't. Most recent statistics actually show that the father's socio-economic status improves after a divorce while a woman's suffers. In other words, men get richer from a divorce, while women get poorer. There was an entire study done lately about why women will not divorce their husbands, even if they want to (and should), because they know that they will end up financially short-changed. Unless you're divorcing a millionaire, it's a gamble. Child support does not improve a woman's financial situation. Most will agree that CS is a fraction of what it really costs to raise a child, and that's not even mentioning the non-monetary costs and opportunity costs. 

My conclusion is:

financially--men win, women lose.

family life--men lose (see their kids less), women win (but the "win" is a catch 22 because it comes with the burden of doing majority of the child raising, but having to deal with an ex if you have joint legal custody).

Also, as far as "suffering" regarding the family life. The man is only losing if he actually WANTS to see his kids. There are many men who couldn't care less, evidenced by the fact that they miss custodial visits, miss birthdays, miss school events. So, for those men, divorce is a sweet deal for them. Or there are many men who won't experience any loss because they hardly saw the kids when they were married -- traveled for work, worked long hours, were in the military, etc. In those cases, a divorce custodial schedule actually gives them more hours with their kids than they had when they were married. That's what happened to my ex. He traveled for work M-F and was "too tired" to do anything with the kids when he did get home on the weekends. I did everything--homework, drive to drive, PTA meetings, bathing, playing, eating, etc. When I divorced him, he actually saw them more than he's ever seen them his entire life. That was the first time that I wasn't doing everything for the kids myself. When married, I don't think he'd ever once driven them to school. Now divorced, he's required to by law on his custodial days (and still complains that it's a burden for him).

For the few women who do get alimony, it automatically stops when they remarry, so that double-dipping thing isn't really a reality. I know many men who have taken their ex-wives back to court when they have lost their jobs, in order to reduce CS.

What's interesting is that CS is set and you have to go back to court to change it. Why doesn't CS have an automatic cost of living increase imputed every year? Most people get some kind of raise each year at work, or get promoted, etc. Generally, their incomes goes up. But CS stays the same. In reality, CS could remain the same for 21 years unless the custodial parent pays a lawyer to have it recalculated. That's not right either. So the man is getting raises and none of it is benefiting the children. But he'll be the first to take the mom back to court if he loses his job, or will try to hide/lower his salary in order to pay less.

Belisarius85
Belisarius85

How can you say that family law is completely against mother and child? Women initiate around 70% of divorces in the US, women are granted child custody around 80% of the time,  and alimony at about the same rate. This obviously favors women, doesn't it?

The only justified complaint that I can imagine is that they do not enforce alimony payments with enough rigor.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

I'm referring to finances.

(1) Just because more women initiate divorce, it doesn't mean that it's financially favorable to them. In fact, it's a known fact that when a couple divorces, the man's socio-economic level increases, while a woman's decreases. Usually, men move up, while women move down.

(2) When the mother gets custody of the children, it's a catch-22. It costs more to have and raise the children than it does to pay the minimal child support. Most mothers are only given $300-500 per month in child support. Any study will show that it costs many times more than that (in dollar figures) to raise them. Plus, that's not accounting for time and opportunity cost (i.e. when the mother has the children, she's not able to secure a full time job, etc). If you hired a babysitter to do all the same things a mother does, you would have to pay her multiple times more than you pay in child support. Why would a teenage babysitter get more money to take care of children than the mother does?  Bottom line--the father gets a HUGE break when his only responsibility is CS.

(3) And, yes, I agree. Alimony has unfortunately become a thing of the past. Women (even stay at home moms who have given up their careers to raise the kids for decade or more), are not getting alimony (I didn't). People (men) tend to look at alimony as "why should I support her when we're divorced?".  That's not what alimony is. Alimony is a payment for the PAST sacrifices the mother made. While she was a SAHM, she wasn't getting a salary, a pension, a 401K or job experience. It's unfathomable to me that millions of mothers are being told to fend for themselves at the point of divorce, and basically set up to fail, especially in this economy, while the fathers are able to continue without missing a step--continue with the same job, same career, same income, etc. It's a complete change for the mother. Even when the marital home is sold (many times), the mother has to move herself and her kids in a huge moving truck (and all their things, past, books, beds, etc), while the father just moves his own possessions only, like a bachelor, college student, many times, in a single car.

In marriage and in divorce, many people do not recognize all the sacrifices mothers have to make. The courts definitely don't recognize it. They expect the mother to take care of the children (she "won" custody) AND get a job to support them all while the father has new-found freedom and is paying less CS than babysitters would ever cost.

Talendria
Talendria

I know.  After my parents got divorced, my mother had to return to the workforce at age 42.  I'm not saying the status quo is correct.  I'm just saying many aspects of our society will have to change in order to give women equal employment rights without giving children and employers short shrift.

aa915
aa915

That's all very well and good but I've known *many* women with children who passed on jobs because they were holding out for something that fit their kids' schedules better or that wouldn't keep them out of the house as much, or for one reason or another just didn't take as much of their time and/or energy away from their kids.  And if they had an employed partner at home, they had the luxury to do so, at least for a while.  Yes, dad should take more domestic responsibility, and yes, sometimes it's an unfair tradeoff, but sometimes it's a lifestyle choice, freely made.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

But women aren't making those choices VOLUNTARILY. They are put in that position because in most instances, the man will NOT take off work to care for the children or to pick up the kids from work. So, the women are in a catch-22 situation. They WANT to work longer hours, but they can't because the men aren't caring for the children, and they have to. 

Nonaffiliated
Nonaffiliated

 Sounds to me like the mom/dad in your example should have never had kids.  Money is their priority...not children.   I feel sorry for the poor unwanted children in that family.   They'll grow up feeling the constant resentment from whichever parent is forced to be with them instead of putting in extra hours at work like they wanted to. 

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

That's the sad truth, Nonaffiliated. Women cannot have it all. There is only so much time and energy a woman can allot to children or a career. I'm childfree for other reasons, not for a career though (my background does not make for good parenting).

Women who are fully self-aware of their limitations - and very few women are! - do not have the problem of juggling that which they cannot handle, and that which they can handle.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

It's actually a catch-22. There are many women who have stayed at home to raise the children--a mutually agreed upon decision by both parents. But then they get a divorce, and are unable to support themselves (no alimony, minimal child support, ex hides money, no retirement, etc, etc). Because they have been out of the work force for decades, it's a terrible predicament for many women, and a realistic one since over 50% of marriages end in divorce. So, moms are stuck. Do they martyr themselves and hope they don't end up in divorce or don't end up in a nasty divorce (good luck!) or do they do something to protect themselves and keep themselves "employable" (get part-time or full-time jobs in the meantime)?

It's easy to say that they shouldn't have had kids. But that's not the issue. It's not really about money over kids. It's about not being destitute "just in case". It's not about not wanting to be with the kids. It's about not being unemployable in case of a divorce, death or even when the kids are out of the house in your empty nest situation. Not everyone can bank on an easy, predictable future. Your decisions today need to be so that you're not stuck in case your Plan A doesn't work out tomorrow. There's really no easy solution since you can't foretell your future, so the only thing that people (moms) feel they can do is build an insurance policy...stay in the job market whether they want to or not.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

Women, especially moms, definitely are discriminated against int his country. It's about time that this is being acknowledged. I suspect moms won't get any equality until men are in their shoes and experience the same discriminations. Only THEN will men (normally the rule makers) finally change the rules for the child care giver parent (mom or dad). But how sad that we don't treat our moms with respect until the same problems affect our dads? Just another example of the war on women, and specifically, of the war on moms. If moms are doing the "most important/hardest job in the world" (raising kids), why aren't they being rewarded/acknowledged in society and in the work force? 

I've read many reports and research that show that single moms are actually the BEST  employees. They are better multi-taskers, more dependable (since they are the only breadwinner in the family), more dedicated, less transition (won't quit on a whim), better problem solvers, can handle work stress better, etc. These are all qualities and traits that employers claim they look for. They're missing the boat by passing over moms. They should be RECRUITING moms.

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

Really?

I've read reports that say either single, unmarried, no children women make the best employees (since they are not making excuses to miss work to pick up their kids and drive them to all kinds of activities), as well as married, childfree women. I'm in the latter category but once upon a time I was in the former. I make good money, can work overtime at home if I have to (and usually do, after spending 9 hours at the office).

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

The variable you're forgetting is that single, unattached women can and will easily quit a job, relocate, and often have reserve funds if they are unemployed for a little while. Single moms do not. They are more LOYAL.

GiveMeARaise
GiveMeARaise

It's funny how the more things change, the more things stay the same. Prior to civil rights legislation, married men trotted out the same arguments that lovingparentof2 now offers as to why "they" were the top prospects - sole breadwinner, providing for family, lots of skin in the game/won't say "no" to the boss, putting down roots for kids in school, won't move away on a whim...

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

That's why discrimination based on sex and kid status is ridiculous! People should be based on their skills and background, not whether they are a man or a woman, and not whether they are a parent or childless. 

It's not as though childless employees don't have other (sometimes greater) distractions. If they don't have a child to go home too, they may go drinking instead. 

It's all about asking for equality. We all know about discrimination based on sex and race, but this article points out the much bigger (and secret) discrimination based on your parental status that affects millions of people every day and is not as apparent. 

People should NOT be penalized for having children. Again, like I said before, "the hardest/most valuable job in the world" phrase is a farce when there's no real respect given to it at the same time. I don't know whether it should be called a war on moms or if it's really a war on children, since the assumed conclusion is saying that children are a burden. 

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

That choice to have children was made by both a man and a woman. If you read the article and the statistics, you saw that the man was rewarded for having kids while the woman was penalized. No, it has nothing to do with "sameness". It has to do with a lack of equality and fairness. And the hypocrisy of it is that the reason women end up being discriminated against is because the women end up being the primary caregivers because men refuse and don't pitch in.  The mom gets penalized involuntarily although they BOTH chose to be parents.

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

Having children is a choice. It has nothing to do with being "penalized" or not.

Your "equality" sounds more like "sameness." No, "sameness" does not exist, and it probably should not, either. That's what makes the genders different.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

No doubt that single moms have a lot in common with married dads--they are both supporting their families. But that's the point. While married dads are at the top of the totem pole and repeatedly make more money than any other group, single moms on the complete contrary, make the least. How is that possible? It's ridiculous! If they're both supporting their families, and have the same work ethics and character (and assuming they are doing the same jobs, hours, etc), then why are the women being paid less? Why are they at the bottom of the pay and desirability scale? 

The order of how employers/society values and pays people in US:married men with kidsmarried men without kidssingle men without kidssingle men with kidssingle women without kidsmarried women without kidsmarried women with kidssingle women with kidsEmployers subconsciously pay men with children more because they have a family to support. But the exact same children for a mom are a setback and the reason to pay her less (she's not as dependable). What's the difference? Men with children supposedly have a wife at home picking up the slack and doing all the work. So again, women are penalized. They're expected to stay at home and "support" their man, or they are out in the workforce doing the same work, but for less pay. If you're a man, you would brag that you have kids at home to support, in order to justify asking for the job and a higher salary, raise. But if you're a woman, you are supposedly to hide the fact that you have children to prove that you aren't "distracted". 

So, I guess these stats mean that men aren't as dedicated to their children and aren't as vested in their lives and needs, and that the children are a lower priority than their work.  Because you can't have it both ways. You can't say that men with children are better employees because they're not as distracted, and in the same breath say that they are just as good of parents as mom. It's a double slam for women any way you look at it. Women can't win. The research state that if women are attentive mothers, then that makes them undesirable employees.