Mother’s Time with Children and Subjective Well-Being

Kelly Musick, Cornell University
Ann Meier, University of Minnesota
Sarah Flood, University of Minnesota

Recent media attention highlights American women’s exceptionalism in the realm of intensive parenting and raises questions about the implications for mothers’ well-being. In this paper we: 1) assess the multidimensional nature of subjective well-being among women with and without children in the home across a range of activities; and 2) compare mothers’ subjective well-being while engaged in intensive versus routine childcare. We use new data from the 2010 American Time Use Survey that includes respondent reports of momentary well-being in three randomly selected activities. We leverage within-person variation in reports of meaning, happiness, stress, tiredness, and sadness to assess how the presence of children and other characteristics of activities (whether others present, timing, duration, location) contribute to well-being. We look further at variation in subjective well-being while parenting in the context of time in activities throughout the day, union status, child and parent age, education, employment, and typical sleep duration.

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Presented in Session 80: Time-Use in Households and Families