work-life

Readers debate: Is a 'Beaver Cleaver' family really best?

March 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM ET

No doubt about it, many working parents are stressed out. But is there a better alternative?

A Life Inc. post this week about a Pew study showing that both working moms and working dads are stressed out by juggling job and family responsibilities prompted readers to debate whether it would be back to go back to a system where Mom was more likely to stay home full time.

Some readers said they are pining for the days glorified by the television show “Leave It To Beaver.”

“Ahhh, wouldn't it be nice if it were the 50s all over again when the moms stayed home and were there for the kids! I guess I was lucky growing up in a ‘Beaver Cleaver’ type family! I am all for women's lib, but I think this is one of the big downfalls of women working full time as well as the man,” one reader wrote.

But others argued that things are better today. One reader said his grandmother stayed home with the kids while his grandfather worked, leaving Grandpa with little time with this family but lots of financial stress.

“Now compare that to today. I have one child. Both my wife and I work outside the home (always have) and we do our absolute best to share ALL household and child rearing responsibilities. As such I have a closer bond with my daughter and I am more informed than my grandfather ever was with his children. And I do not need shoulder the financial burdens alone. One loses a job we have the others income and vice versa,” he wrote.

Although more moms are working, they’re also still doing more of the housework and child care. More than half of the nearly 6,000 readers who took our poll said mom is taking on more of the home responsibilities, while nearly three in 10 said it’s an even split.

Some readers noted that it’s much easier to balance work and family responsibilities if you have another ingredient: Money.

One reader recalled when she and her husband first had a child and went so far as to wash clothes and diapers in the tub. Years later, she said, the couple has the money to hire a housecleaner, send the kids to private school and splurge on a babysitter for date night.

“Money makes the difference and anyone that tells you different has never been poor,” she said.

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