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Mom and Dad Roles No Longer Clear Cut

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While the traditional roles of moms and dads haven't been reversed in the last 50 years, they have converged closer than ever, new research shows.

A study by the Pew Research Center revealed that the number of hours women work has tripled since 1965, while men have seen their time in the office drop and their hours working around the house increase.

Specifically, women worked an average of 8 hours a week in 1965, while also spending 32 hours on housework. Today, women work an average of 21 hours and spend 18 hours a week on housework. Conversely men, have seen their hours in the office drop from 42 to 37 and their time doing household work increase from 4 to 10 hours in a week.

The research shows a dramatic increase just over the last five years in the number of women who want to work full-time. Today, more than 30 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 would prefer to work full-time, compared to just 20 percent in 2007.

"Tough economic times may have ushered in a new mindset, as women in the most difficult financial circumstances are among the most likely to say working full-time is the ideal situation for them," the study's authors, Kim Parker and Wendy Wang, wrote in the research.

When paid work, childcare and housework are combined, the research shows that parents in dual-income households share a more equal division of labor than those homes in which only one parent works. When both mom and dad work, fathers put in, on average, 58 hours of total work-time a week, compared to 59 hours for mothers.

The research also shows both parents would rather spend time with their families. Overall, 33 percent of parents with kids under 18 feel they don't spend enough time with their children, while 53 percent say it is difficult to balance the responsibilities of their jobs with those of their families.

The study found that the amount of time parents spend with their children has a big impact on how they rate themselves as parents. Those who think they spend the right amount of time with their kids are about three times as likely to say they are doing an excellent job parenting compared to those who feel they don't spend enough time with their kids.

The research was based on Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2007 and 2012 and time-use data collected from 1965 to 2011.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.