Study author Dawn S. Carlson of the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, says 2008 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate 71 percent of women with children age 18 and under were working or looking for work and nearly 60 percent of women with young children were employed.
However, a large number of U.S. mothers who return to work after childbirth subsequently quit their jobs.
Carlson and colleagues surveyed 179 full-time working mothers in North Carolina with an average age of 31, of whom 72 percent were white, 27 percent were black, 1 percent were Asian and 79 percent were married.
They worked an average of 39.7 hours per week and planned to return to work 30 or more hours four months after giving birth.
Maternity leave was six weeks, but only 48.1 percent said they had paid maternity leave.
"Having a flexible schedule is an important element necessary to decrease working mom turnover because it can be used when work demands arise," Carlson says in a statement. "When confronted by one or more job demands, a flexible schedule provides working moms with alternatives for meeting those demands while caring for their newborns."
In addition, the study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, finds job security heightens motivation and energy, particularly for mothers who are sensitive to the security of their jobs after returning from maternity leave.