American Mother's Engagement in Paid Work during Their First Child's Preschool Years, Relationship Stability, and Partners' Work Hours

Irene Boeckmann, University of Massachusetts

This paper examines maternal employment trajectories in the context of women's relationships and their partner's employment participation and work hours. The transition to parenthood marks a period in the life-course when gender inequalities in paid and unpaid work are amplified. Jacobs and Gerson have argued in The Time Divide that professional couples, who have seen rising work hours over the years, experiencing a "time-squeeze," while lower skilled workers often cannot find enough employment to make ends meet. While this argument highlights the experiences of couples at the two ends of the spectrum, my findings indicate that it overlooks the experiences of couples in the middle of the spectrum, and the dynamic nature of relationships and employment experiences. Using multichannel sequence analysis, I am able to examine both aspects of women's lives simultaneously and be attentive to the changes over time.

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Presented in Session 8: Labor Force Participation and Family