The authors examine the role of job characteristics in influencing variation in mothers' work–family conflict by childrearing stage.
Although researchers generally contend that having younger children is related to greater work–family conflict, examination of this association is limited.
Using data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 774), we conduct fixed effects models to examine variations in mothers' job characteristics across four waves when their children are 6 months old, 15 months old, third graders, and fifth graders and their links to variations in mothers' work‐to‐family conflict and family‐to‐work conflict across the same waves.
Mothers work fewer hours, but perceive more job pressure, fewer career opportunities, and less supervisor support when children are younger. Because of the countervailing patterns of variations by childrearing stage between work hours and job pressure, there is little difference in mothers' work‐to‐family conflict across the four waves. Mothers report more family‐to‐work conflict when children are younger, but this difference by childrearing stage disappears when perceived job pressure is controlled for.
Life course dynamics of job demands and resources may shape variation in work–family conflict by childrearing stage.
Workplace policies designed to reduce job pressure while not eliminating career opportunities would be helpful for mothers with young children to adjust to the stressfulness of balancing work and childrearing demands.
Nomaguchi, Kei and Fettro, Marshal Neal, "Childrearing Stages and Work–Family Conflict: The Role of Job Demands and Resources" (2018). Sociology Faculty Publications. 52.
Journal of Marriage and Family