The passage of welfare reform in the late 1990s was the final stage in a cultural shift away from expecting mothers to put childrearing first to putting work first. Most able-bodied adults are expected to work, but public and business policy have not made it easy for mothers—and fathers—to also tend to their children’s well-being. When parents are unable to effectively balance work and family needs, children often suffer. The outcome of this uneasy dynamic has been most severe on low-income working families. This essay explores the impact of parents’ work demands on children’s well-being.
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A Life Out of Balance: When Parents’ Work Affects Children’s Well-Being