This excellent piece in The Oregonian – “Two parents, two kids, two jobs … and only 24 hours in a day” – shows in detail the day-to-day struggles of working middle-class families.
The Garretts have to scramble just to survive. Dad works during the day. Mom works a swing shift. They save money by sharing childcare duties and chores but they rarely have any time as a couple.
Megan takes out the garbage; Tim picks up the mail. Megan dishes up breakfast; Tim doles out dinner.
The upside: The kids are almost always with Mom or Dad.
The downside: The kids are almost always with Mom or Dad, who get precious little time together, and virtually none alone.
The story also includes the following statistic about working families:
In nearly 60 percent of two-working-parent couples with children younger than 5, at least one spouse worked some combination of weekends, evenings and nights, University of Maryland professor Harriet B. Presser found through studying Department of Labor and Census data.
Almost 40 percent of married women said child care drove the decision to work odd hours, Presser reported in her 2003 book, "Working in a 24/7 Economy: Challenges for American Families."