Working, parenting and work-home spillover: Gender differences in the work-home interface across the life course

In this study, we bring a life course approach to work-family research and ask how work-home spillover changes as men and women move through different parenting stages. We use two waves of the Mid-Life in the United States Study (MIDUS I and II, 1996-2004, N = 1319) and estimate change-score models to document the association between five parenting transitions (becoming a parent, starting to parent a school-aged child, an adolescent, young adult, or adult child) and changes in both positive and negative work-to-home (WHS) and home-to-work (HWS) spillover, testing for gender differences in these associations. We find that moving through parenting stages is related to within-person changes in reports of work-home spillover, and that mothers and fathers encounter changes in spillover at different points in the life course. Our findings detail how transitions through parenthood produce a gendered life course, and speaks to the need for policies to support working parents throughout the life course.