Fewer mothers view full-time work as ideal

New research shows that working full-time outside the home is beginning to lose its appeal in the minds of mothers of young children. That goes for both moms who work away from home and those who don't. What does this data mean to location-based leisure venues? Read on to find out!

Generating business during the daytime weekdays has always been a challenge for community location-based leisure (LBL) venues that depend on the surrounding resident market. Children are in school. Parents are working. Some LBLs actually stay closed until school is out. Leaving an expensive physical plant idle so much does not help profitability.

One daytime market, much more significant than most people think, is stay-at-home moms with preschool children, plus mothers who work part time or work from their homes. We call this market "at-home moms." These mothers have the opportunity to take their children to LBLs during the day.

The research shows that during the past decade (1997-2007), full-time work outside the home has lost some appeal with mothers. The trend holds true for both mothers who work full-time and those who don't.

Among today's working mothers with children under 18, just 21% say full-time work is the ideal situation for them. That is down from 32% who said so back in 1997. Fully 60% of today's working mothers say part-time work would be their ideal, up from 48% in 1997.

There has been a similar shift in preferences among current stay-at-home mothers with children. Today, just 16% say their ideal situation would be to work full-time outside the home, down from 24% in 1997. Nearly half (48%) of all at-home mothers now say not working outside the home is the ideal situation for them, up from 39% who felt that way in 1997.

Mothers with children 4 and younger are less likely to say they'd prefer full-time work today (16%) than a decade ago (31%). In 1997, 37% said their ideal would be part-time work; today 48% of mothers with younger children say they would prefer part-time work, 36% would prefer not working outside the home and 16% would prefer full-time work.

The decline in mothers saying full-time work is their ideal was across the board, regardless of education levels.