The number of children living in workless households continues to fall. As of 2017, 58.7% of children live in working households, 30.6% live in mixed households, and 10.6% live in workless households. The 2015 equivalent of this data is 55.7%, 32.1% and 12.2% respectively.
The natural reaction would be to interpret this data positively. During a two year period there has been a significant rise in the number of parents that are working whilst also having children. Despite this the number of children living in mixed households continues to fluctuate.
Empirically speaking, the data surrounding mixed households is harder to interpret and is more prone to snap increases and decreases, perhaps because mixed households are more likely to change. The balance of work and domesticity is not exactly a set balance and households with more than one parent may have both parents that can work and also choose to. Furthermore not all jobs are nine to five and as such freelancers of any kind can go weeks, months and in some cases years without employment.
Freelance work, in the arts say, can potentially be beneficial. This is so that the freelancer parent can dedicate his or her time out of work to their children. Specifically in a two parent household, the flexibility of one partner’s career can essentially make them a stay at home parent.
Whilst this partially explains the ebb and flow of the data concerning mixed households and is something of a quick fix for those that fall under the categorisation of ‘freelance families’, it does not help those who are in full-time employment and do not have the financial luxury of putting their children in a crèche or hiring a nanny. In this case most people would say that you could leave your child with a relative but if one is not available, what then?
One could argue that if the children are not old enough to go without a chaperone of some kind then a mixed household would be the best option. Once the children come of the age where they can be left at home alone, parents can then choose to pursue full-time employment.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem and every situation is unique. It is admirable that more parents are committing themselves to their careers as well as their domestic responsibilities in 2017.