The allure of the workplace continues to fade for mothers. In polling by the Pew Research Center among mothers of kids 17 and younger, 20 percent said full-time work is the ideal situation for them—leaving them outnumbered by the 29 percent who'd find it ideal not to work at all outside the home. Fifty percent said a part-time gig would be ideal. The chart gives a breakdown for at-home mothers vs. working mothers.
The decline in enthusiasm for full-time work is especially noteworthy among working women: Ten years ago, 32 percent considered it the ideal, half again the number who do so now. Mothers of kids age 4 and under are another constituency that has turned against full-time jobs. In 1997, 31 percent of them said full-time work is ideal, vs. 16 percent now saying so.
Another part of the survey gives a hint at why full-time work is in disfavor. Asked to rate their performance as mothers, 28 percent of full-time workers gave themselves the highest marks, vs. 41 percent of part-timers and 43 percent of stay-at-homes. Few working mothers (11 percent) think it's best for kids when mom works full time; 52 percent said a mother working part-time is best for kids, and 30 percent said it's best when mothers don't work at all outside the home.