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Most Working Moms Want to Stay Home, but Many Might Prefer This Other Option

Beth Braverman

Sometimes, the obvious is true: Having two (or more) jobs is tough, and given a choice, most people would choose one where they have the most impact. In the case of working mothers, who are often responsible for most of the domestic labor as well, that choice is simple: stay-at-home Mom.

While some policymakers and corporations have been trying to find ways to make it easier for women to remain in the workforce after having children, a new poll finds that not all women want to do so.

More than half (54 percent) of both working and non-working mothers recently told Gallup that given the choice, they’d choose to stay home and take care of their home and family rather than hold a job.

Working Mothers

Women without children, however, overwhelmingly preferred to hold a job, with 70 percent choosing to work outside the home if given a choice. “Women want to work, but having a child changes things” the report states.

Related: Go to Work, Ladies! Your Kids Will Be Grateful

While men generally are more likely to prefer working outside of the home, there is a small shift after children come. Eight in 10 working men without children say they’d choose to work, while slightly fewer -- seven in 10 -- working dads say the same.

The survey does not account for “job sequencing,” a concept that some women can afford to take advantage of by staying at home with small children until they’re in 1st or 2nd grade. Some ease their way back into a job by working part-time until the kids are in middle school, or until they find the right balance between work and home.

For many women who have to work, that scenario isn’t an option. The Gallup survey does not necessarily indicate that women reject work as much as they reject the burden of work, raising kids and managing a home — all at the same time.

Whether they want to or not, the vast majority of parents American parents do work. Nearly 70 percent of mothers and 93 percent of fathers with children under age 18 work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Gallup report finds that many employers could be doing more to make the workplace more welcoming to women once they become parents. “When organizations lack flexibility and use outdated standards to reward and recognize performance, they make staying home an even more attractive option for women,” writes Gallup Chief Operating Officer Jane Miller.

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