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Work–Family Arrangements And Parenting: Are “Family-Friendly” Arrangements Related To Mothers' Involvement In Children's Lives?

Sarah Beth Estes

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Previous research has examined the impact of work—family incompatibility and policies designed to address this incompatibility on both organizational and employee outcomes, including productivity and distress; yet no research has systematically related “family-responsive” arrangements to parenting to assess how these arrangements may be “friendly” to the family. In this article, data is used from a regional sample of employed mothers to investigate this question. Mothers almost uniformly reported that work—family arrangements facilitated their parenting abilities, yet results from a multivariate analysis show that associations between work—family arrangements and parenting are neither large nor widespread. Quantitative findings are augmented by qualitative data on mothers' perceptions of how arrangements affect various aspects of family life. An analysis of mothers' responses to open-ended questions indicates why quantitative analyses might fail at locating relationships between work—family arrangements and standard parenting measures and illuminates aspects of parenting that are facilitated by work—family arrangements.