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Dads Feel Just as Guilty as Moms About Time They Spend With Their Kids

Apr 02, 2015

Dads are feeling more guilty about the time they spend with their kids, and more pregnant women are staying in the workforce longer, according to two new studies on the roles of parents in the 21st century.

For all the hair-pulling about the stressful lives of working mothers, working fathers feel just as guilty about the amount of time they spend with their kids. According to studies from Pew Research Center, working dads are more likely to feel that they don't have enough time with their kids than working moms.

Working dads are divided on whether they spend enough time with their kids: 48% say they spend too little, 48% say they spend just enough. But working moms are much more likely to report they have enough time with their kids—66% say they spend just the right amount of time with their kids, compared to 26% who say they have too little. (These numbers include parents who work both full-time and part-time.)

Despite the fact that almost half of working dads (46%) say they spend more time with their kids than their own parents did, they still have a lot of guilt about whether they're doing enough. Among the dads who say they don't get enough time with their families, only 49% think they're doing an excellent job as a parent, while of the dads who say they get enough time, 81% think they're doing a great job.

Just as the distribution of parenting guilt is evolving, so are norms about working through pregnancies. According to a different Pew study, it's becoming much more common for an expectant mother to work while pregnant with her first child. While only 44% of pregnant women worked in the early 1960s, by 2006 about 66% of soon-to-be-moms were still on the job. Women are also working longer into their pregnancies—in the 1960s, only 35% of pregnant workers continued working through their eighth month of pregnancy, compared to 82% of pregnant workers in the late 2000s. And women are going back to work more quickly after birth than they used to. Fifty years ago, only 21% of women returned to work within six months of the baby's birth—by the late 2000s, that number had skyrocketed to 73%.

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