White evangelical moms (a designation used by Pew, since this particular survey lacked enough respondents to include a black Protestant sample) expressed stronger views on their hopes for their children than mainline Protestant, Catholic, or unaffiliated parents. They were most likely to want their child to grow up to be honest and ethical (88%) and caring and compassionate (81%), followed by hardworking (75%), financially independent (60%), and ambitious (52%).
Based on the numbers, evangelical moms should be the happiest on the block.
During a cultural moment when American mothers are feeling the acute tension around balancing their roles and responsibilities, evangelicals report being particularly satisfied with the time they spend parenting.
In Pew Research Center data broken down by faith group, more than three-quarters (76%) of white evangelical mothers say they spend just the “right amount” of time with their children. Over half—that’s more than moms or dads in any other religious group—say they actually have enough time to socialize and pursue their hobbies.
And yet, moms in evangelical churches across America, gearing up for another round of pink carnations and Mother’s Day well-wishes, say they’re still struggling with mom guilt, burnout, and parenting pressures.
In some church circles, moms feel like they’re encouraged to stay home, homeschool, or joyfully embrace motherhood as their sole priority—even though these days, both mom and dad work full time in nearly half (46%) of two-parent households with kids, according to Pew.
“Mom guilt is such a real issue and particularly in the lives of Christian moms. God designed us to nurture and care for our children, but many of us work outside of the homeout of a specific calling or out of necessity or both,” said Jana Magruder, director of LifeWay Kids.
“My advice for Christian moms who experience this tension is to embrace the fact that the two can co-exist together—you can be a godly, nurturing mom while also working outside the home.”
Even Christian moms who are ready to defend their choice to work outside the home or carve out personal time away from their kids can find it difficult.
“Living in the tension between ‘dying to self’ and practicing ‘self-care’ is incredibly hard and guilt-inducing sometimes,” said Megan Oldfield, a mom and worship leader. “But I think both are required in order to mother well.”