About a third of parents feel they do not have enough time for their kids, a new survey finds.
PHOTO: Jim Avelis, AP
(USA TODAY) -- Work time - paid at a job and unpaid at home - is almost equal for American men and women, says a report out today that shows men clocking in at 45.6 hours a week and women at 45.2.
But it's not 50-50 in terms of work on the job and at home. Men spend about 10 hours a week more than women in paid work, and women spend about six hours more in household work and an additional three hours more in child care, says the analysis, by the Pew Research Center.
And for parents with kids under 18 living at home, the hours are also lopsided. The average hours spent a week at a paying job declined from 42 hours in 1965 to 37 hours in 2011 for fathers, and increased from eight hours to 21 hours for mothers. Fathers today spend more than twice as much time doing housework as they did in the 1960s (10 hours vs. four hours a week), and mothers - while they still do more - have cut their housework time almost in half during the same period (18 hours vs. 32 hours per week).
These analyses are based on historical time diary data as well as 2003-11 data from the federal government's American Time Use Survey; 2007 Pew survey data; and survey data completed in December. The nationally representative sample of 2,511 adults across the USA includes 643 parents of at least one child under age 18.
Among the parents, 33% say they don't have enough time with their children.
"That's not really a gender-based feeling," says Kim Parker, the Pew report's co-author. "Moms and dads alike find that challenging."
Mothers in 2011 spend almost twice as much time with their children as fathers do (13.5 hours a week). Even though fathers have nearly tripled their time with children from 2.5 hours in 1965 to 7.3 hours per week in 2011, they're still more likely to feel they don't spend as much time as they want with the kids, compared to moms (46% vs. 23% for moms).
"Fathers are extremely conflicted today," says Christopher Brown of Cedar Park, Texas, who is executive vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit based in Germantown, Md. "Many years ago, the father was looked at primarily as a financial provider. Now he's looked at in a much more holistic sense of what providing means. It's not just financial - it means spiritual and emotional provision as well."
Even though mothers still do more housework and child care than fathers, overall work time for fathers (paid and unpaid) is more than for mothers. And fathers have almost three hours a week more leisure time than moms do (28 hours vs. 25).
UCLA sociologist Suzanne Bianchi says busy working parents are finding new ways to spend more time with their kids.
"Parents are more likely to have their kids along with them when they're engaged in some kind of leisure activity," Bianchi says. "They're re-orienting leisure toward more child-friendly things or they're more likely to bring a child along."
In dual-earner couples, the total amount of paid work, child care and housework spent each week is almost equal - 58 hours for fathers compared with 59 hours for mothers.
Among mothers with kids under 18, the share saying they would prefer to work full time increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012; among employed mothers, it rose from 21% to 37%.
"I'm not surprised that women are more likely to want to work full time," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the non-profit Families and Work Institute, a think tank for workforce and family issues. "Women bring in 45% of family income - 27% are earning at least 10% more than their husbands. Women are taking care of their families in the traditional way but also are taking care of their families economically."
Although the Pew analysis focuses more on the specific time spent in activities, a study to be published April 1 in the Journal of Family Issues finds that marital quality is affected by how much of the at-home work the couple actually does together.
"Women want their husbands to do work with them, and they feel more satisfied in their marriage," says Erin Holmes, an assistant professor of family life at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The study looks at 160 couples who married in 2002.
"People rarely look at together vs. alone in the division of labor," she says. "They're looking at is it 50-50 or 60-40, but they're not looking at whether the work is (done) together."