Mothers' Employment and Educational Attainment, Parenting, and Children's Academic Trajectories

Jennifer M. Augustine, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin

A compelling body of research links mothers’ and children’s educational pathways through pro-academic parenting. At the same time, education also grants mothers access to higher-status segments of the labor market. These high status jobs provide mothers with resources (e.g., high wages, flexible schedules) to help promote their children’s successful passage through the educational system, but they also often demand mothers work long hours or return to work shortly after giving birth, which can have negative consequences for mothers’ parenting and children’s achievement. Thus, whether the employment-related returns to maternal education ultimately enhance or diminish mothers’ parenting and widen or narrow socioeconomic gaps in children’s achievement remain unclear. This study uses data from the NICHD Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development (n = 1004) to investigates whether mothers’ employment histories modify (in size and direction) the effect of maternal education on parenting and, through parenting, on children’s early academic outcomes.

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Presented in Session 31: Parental Employment, Early Education and Development