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Americans think moms today are doing a worse job raising kids

by Stephanie Armour  |  5202 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

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Seeing the title of this article from USA Today - Work or stay at home? It's still a quandary for moms - you wouldn't expect anything new. Just another article talking about the difficulty moms are having with making the choice to stay at home or return to work after having kids, and the complex feelings and guilt associated with each of these choices.

But the second paragraph in the article talks about a new study that found something that we think is quite shocking:

There is a widespread belief that today's parents are not measuring up to the standard that parents set a generation ago, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. More than half of Americans (56%) say that mothers are doing a worse job today than mothers did 20 or 30 years ago, the study found.

This got us curious so we looked up the study. Some of its other findings include:
  • More people believe that fathers are doing a better job being parents than moms: About one-in-five (21%) say today's fathers are doing a better job compared with fathers a generation ago; far fewer (9%) say that today's mothers are doing a better job than their predecessors 20 or 30 years ago.
  • Middle-aged women are the most critical of the job moms are doing today: Fully 66% of women ages 50-64 say today's mothers are doing a worse job.

The study didn't offer suggestions for why moms are getting a greater share of disapproval ratings, but we have to wonder if it's because more moms are now in the workforce and a significant percentage of people still believe that that makes them not a great mom.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

6 comments so far...

  • If the parents of yesteryear did such a wonderful job, then the parents of today wouldn't be such "poor" parents, would they?

    I always laugh when I read nonsense like this.

    No way should we go back to the days where women were basically confined to their homes.

    Let's face it-The Good Ole Days were not all that "good".

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 14th January 2008

  • I felt this was the best quote: Mommy Wars — that often unspoken judgment that persists over the choices that both working at stay-at-home moms make — can be avoided if mothers become more comfortable about the choices they make and why they've made them, says Lynn Jarrett, a coach and author.

    "Understand that every woman is 'wired' differently. Different personalities have unique approaches and ideas on parenting," Jarrett says in an e-mail. "There's no 'right' or 'wrong' answer, but what fits best for you and your family needs. Stop 'should-ing' on yourself."

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Melissa on 23rd October 2007

  • I'm not sure what the fuss is about. So society, especially middle aged women, think today's moms aren't as good as they were 20-30 years ago. Survey the same group 20-30 years ago and they'd say the same thing. Especially the middle aged women - they don't think today's moms are as good as they were? Ask anyone with a mother in law, no big shocker there. This is "back in the good old days" reasoning. They think dads have improved because it's now acceptable for dads to do ANYTHING, whereas a generation ago it was still mostly considered a mother's 100% responsibility for work and family, whether she had a job or not.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jlauren on 10th October 2007

  • The original study is interesting - thanks for finding it, since USA Today can't be bothered to include the links. The study did seem to acknowledge that the current generation of parents have more challenges, too, though. I need to spend some more time with it, which will probably lead to a blog post :-).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on 9th October 2007

  • MaryP - that's right, the study shows that the public thinks that today's moms are doing a worse job than the generation before them. And that's my question about it - why? The one reason I can think of is that we work more, and the general societal belief is that moms should be at home more. But that's one hypothesis, I am quite curious about others.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 8th October 2007

  • If you've reported the article accurately, it's not saying that the public thinks today's men are doing a better job than today's women as parents, but only that today's men are doing better than their fathers did; today's women not as well as their mothers. Given how disengaged that generation of father were, this generations's dads could be doing a far better job than their fathers, and still not be nearly as "good" as this generation's mothers.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 8th October 2007