Working moms don't always have less time for their...

Family forum

July 21, 1992|By Mary Maushard

Working moms don't always have less time for their children

Married mothers who work outside the home don't necessarily spend less time with their youngsters than married mothers who do not work outside the home, says a Cornell University researcher. The time spent in child care seems to depend on the age of the children, says Keith Bryant, who analyzed data including mothers' employment, family composition and time spent caring for children in two-parent households.

Unemployed mothers spent more time with their children under age 3 than did employed mothers (77 minutes more daily). But the unemployed women spent less time -- 42 fewer minutes daily -- with their children between ages 3 and 5.

When he looked at the factors over the last 70 years, Mr. Bryant found that employed mothers today spend 30 minutes less a day with their children under 3 but 30 minutes more a day with youngsters 3 to 5 than did mothers 50 years ago.

Mr. Bryant studied only two-parent households and measured only one-on-one time between parent and child. He did not hypothesize why today's working mothers spend more time caring for preschoolers than do stay-at-home moms.

"Nevertheless, there is no evidence to believe that children are suffering from less parental time due to women's employment," says the professor of consumer economics and housing at Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

Food program enrollment

Baltimore mothers who qualify are encouraged to enroll in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Food Program during three special enrollment Saturdays.

WIC offers vouchers for food such as infant formula, milk, cereal and fruit juice for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and children up to 5 years of age. There are income restrictions. To enroll, a person must have proper identification, proof of address and income and bring along the children she wishes to enroll.

Eligible families may enroll from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, as well as Aug. 8 and Aug. 22 at Room 1139 at Mondawmin Mall and the Dunbar Mayor's Station, 1400 Orleans St. For more information, phone the Baltimore office of WIC, 396-9427.

Stress and childhood asthma

Research conducted at the Children's National Medical Center has found that family stress can increase a child's risk of developing asthma. The more risk factors that the parents experience, including marital discord, prolonged depression and problems in child care, the greater the likelihood their child will develop asthma by age 3.

Worth noting:

* "In the Beginning: A Jewish Lamaze Experience." Eight-week childbirth preparation workshop for Jewish couples expecting babies in late October, November and early December. Participants will explore birthing options, breast feeding and their feelings about parenthood. The fee is $60 per couple and the workshop begins Aug. 18 at the Owings Mills Jewish Community Center. For more information, phone Rena Rotenberg at 578-6947.

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