Gender, work, and the family’s morning rush hour: the strain associated with preparing children for the day. By: Scheibling, Casey; Young, Marisa; Milkie, Melissa A. and Schieman, Scott. 2023. Community, Work & Family. p1-18.

Dual-earner parents face the challenge of getting children ready for school or daycare while often simultaneously preparing for work. Although this morning routine is at the heart of the work–family intersection, it is understudied in relation to the gendered division of labor and as a potential stressor in parents’ lives. In this study, we examine who is responsible for and experiences strain from preparing children for the day. Drawing on a sample of 462 dual-earner parents from the Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study (2019), we find that mothers are much more likely than fathers to perform this labor – even once controlling for work hours, schedule control, and other housework divisions. Moreover, if not for the fewer work hours, less job pressure, and more flexible shifts of parents who regularly prepare children for the day, there would be a marginally significant relationship between this parental responsibility and work-to-family conflict. Although getting children ready appears linked to work-to-family conflict for both mothers and fathers, results suggest that mothers have already sacrificed investment in paid work to take on this inflexible childcare routine. We discuss the social and health implications of temporal work structures intruding on the family’s morning rush hour.