About the 2005 Local Moms Survey
This Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone April 14-23, 2005, among 603 randomly selected mothers living in the Washington region. Since the project was focused on mothers in the most active phase of parenting, mothers were defined as adult women with children under age 18 who lived with them at least part time.
The survey includes 377 working mothers and 220 stay-at-home mothers. Respondents who worked full-time (35 hours a week or more) were defined as working mothers, while those who had no paid job were defined as stay at home mothers. Those who worked part time (between 1 and 34 hours per week) were asked which term would better describe them, and were categorized according to their responses.
The sample was weighted using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey to reflect the best estimates of the demographic makeup of this population.
Margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus four percentage points, plus or minus seven percentage points for stay-at-home moms and plus or minus five percentage points for working moms. Fieldwork was conducted by TNS of Horsham, PA.
Local Survey Questions
- How satisfied are you with your role as a mother: very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not too satisfied, or not satisfied at all?
- Overall, how good a job do you feel you are doing as a mother - excellent, good, fair, or poor?
- If you had to give me ONE WORD to describe how you feel as a mom, what would it be?
- Thinking of your role as a mother, how often would you say you feel (ITEM) these days: very often, fairly often, sometimes, or hardly ever?
- How many of your children under age 18 now live at home with you at least part time?
- I'd like you to think about all the arrangements your family has made to care for your (child/children), whether it's staying home yourself or using some other child care arrangements.
- Do you think motherhood today is (more demanding) than it was for the previous generation, (less demanding), or about the same?
- Do you think mothers today have (higher expectations) of themselves than the previous generation did, (lower expectations), or about the same?
- How often do you find it difficult to manage all of your responsibilities as a mother: very often, fairly often, sometimes, or hardly ever?
- Are you currently married, living with a partner, widowed, divorced, separated, or have you never been married?
- In addition to being a mother, do you also have a paid job, or not?
- (IF HAS PAID JOB, OR USUALLY DOES) About how many hours (do you spend working at your/would you normally spend working at a) paid job in the average week?
- (IF WORKS LESS THAN 35 HOURS PER WEEK) Would you describe yourself as a "working mom" or a "stay at home" mom?
- How satisfied are you with the amount of time you are able to spend (ITEM): very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not too satisfied, or not at all satisfied?
- on yourself
- (IF MARRIED OR LIVING WITH PARTNER) with your husband or partner
- with your (child/children)
- socializing with other adults
- How much stress, if any, have the demands of motherhood put on (ITEM): a lot, some, a little, or none at all?
- (IF MARRIED OR LIVING WITH PARTNER) your relationship with your husband or partner
- your relationships with your friends
- (IF WORKING MOM) your relationships with your co-workers
- Do you ever feel guilty when you take time away from your (child/children) to do something for yourself, or not?
- Do you ever have second thoughts about your decision to have children, or not?
- For each statement I read, please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree.
- Mothers today are too focused on their children.
- Most mothers I know are doing the best job they know how to do.
- Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to be the perfect mom.
- Many mothers I meet are very competitive when it comes to their children.
- Most workplaces are set up to handle the needs of working mothers.
- Society has set expectations too high for modern mothers.
- Society values the work mothers do.
- How often, if ever, do you feel that other mothers are judging your parenting choices - very often, fairly often, sometimes, or hardly ever?
- How often, if ever, do you rely on other mothers for advice or emotional support - very often, fairly often, sometimes, or hardly ever?
- (IF MARRIED OR LIVING WITH PARTNER) Overall, who would you say spends more time taking care of your (child/children): you, or your husband or partner, or do you share that responsibility equally?
- (IF RESPONDENT SPENDS MORE TIME) Does that ever bother you, or not? IF YES: Does that bother you a lot, some, or just a little?
- (IF MARRIED OR LIVING WITH PARTNER) Who is more responsible for arranging and coordinating your (child/children)'s day-to-day activities, such as doctor's visits, homework, play dates, and sports: you, or your husband or partner, or do you share that responsibility equally?
- (IF RESPONDENT IS MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES) Does that ever bother you, or not? IF YES: Does that bother you a lot, some, or just a little?
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) Not counting maternity leave, have you worked continuously since your first child was born, or have you stopped working at some point to stay home full time?
- (ASKED OF STAY-AT-HOME MOMS) Have you been a stay-at-home mom since your first child was born, or did you work for some period of time between now and then?
- How often, if ever, do you have second thoughts about your decision to (work/stay at home) - very often, fairly often, sometimes, or hardly ever?
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) What best describes your financial situation: If I didn't work: My family could maintain about the same lifestyle; We could get by, but would have to change our lifestyle; or, There is no way we could get by financially.
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) As a working mother, which would you say is tougher: the (mom) part or the (job) part?
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) Do you ever feel your job suffers because of your responsibilities as a mother, or not? IF YES: Is that a lot, some, or just a little?
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) Do you ever feel your job as a mother suffers because of your responsibilities at work, or not? IF YES: Is that a lot, some, or just a little?
- Given your family's current financial situation, would you say your current balance between staying home and working is what's best for:
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) Please tell me if you've ever done any of the following specifically to spend more time with your (child/children).
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) If you could live as well as you do now WITHOUT working, would you choose to: Continue working the same amount; Continue working, but work fewer hours or fewer days per week; or, Stop working altogether?
- Would you agree or disagree with the following statement:
I have not achieved everything I could have in my life, because of the sacrifices I have made for my family.
- (IF AGREE) Does that bother you a lot, some, a little, or not at all?
- Has anyone ever criticized you or made you feel guilty about your decision to be a (working mom/stay at home mom), or not?
- (IF YES) Does that bother you a lot, some, a little, or not at all?
- Thinking about your friends who are (working/stay at home) moms, has the difference in your situations as mothers ever caused strain in your relationship with any of these friends, or not?
- (ASKED IF MARRIED) Has the decision whether to stay home or to work ever been a source of tension in your marriage, or not?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
In general, it is better for a child if one of the parents stays home full-time.
- If money is not an issue, and a mother is happiest working, do you think it would be better for the mother: (to work, because if she's more personally satisfied she'll be a better mother to her children), or (to stay home, because taking care of her children should take priority over her personal satisfaction).
- (ASKED OF WORKING MOMS) What kind of child care do you use on a regular basis: a day care center, day care in someone else's home, a nanny, a family member, an aftercare or after-school program or something else? (Multiple responses allowed)
National Survey Questions
- How satisfied are you with (ITEM) - very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, not too satisfied or not at all satisfied?
- your life overall
- (IF WORKING) your ability to balance work and family life
- (IF PARENT) the job you're doing as a parent
- the amount of free time you have in an average week
- (IF WORKING) If you could live as well as you do now WITHOUT working, would you choose to: continue working the same amount; continue working, but work fewer hours or fewer days per week; or, Stop working altogether?
- All in all, do you think mothers are now doing a BETTER job as parents than their own mothers did 20 or 30 years ago, a WORSE job -- or about the SAME job?
- Do you think (ITEM) today is (more) demanding than it was for the previous generation, (less) demanding, or about the same?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
It may be necessary for mothers to be working because the family needs money, but it would be better if she could stay home and take care of the house and children.