NEW YORK — An increasing portion of America's working mothers says their ideal situation would include a part-time job, rather than working full time or staying at home, a new national survey finds.
The Pew Research Center survey, being released today, found that 21% of working mothers with children younger than 18 viewed full-time work as the best arrangement, down from 32% in 1997.
Sixty percent of the working mothers said a part-time job would be best, up from 48% 10 years ago. And 19% said not working at all would be ideal -- roughly the same as in 1997.
Cary Funk, a Pew researcher on the survey, said the trend reflected women's latest thoughts on the ideal arrangement for their children. "It's ... an expression of the difficulties of combining responsibilities at work and home," she said.
The survey also found a shift in preferences among stay-at-home mothers.
Only 16% of them said their ideal situation would be to work full time outside the home, down from 24% in 1997. Conversely, 48% now say that not working at all outside the home is best, up from 39% in 1997.
The survey was conducted by telephone in February and March among a national sample of 2,020 adults. The margin of error is 3 percentage points for the full sample, higher for various subgroups.