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Published: Monday, 11/2/2009

Mothers log longer days by logging on


Working mom Patricia Alvarez is a living example of the findings of a recent study by Harris Interactive.

It reported that 46 percent of women, compared with 30 percent of men, would rather give up sex or television for two weeks than give up the Web for the same amount of time.

From her laptop at 10 p.m., Ms. Alvarez, a merchandise representative, recently sent an e-mail to one of her customers.

Within minutes she had her answer.

"It's how we get it all done," she said.

According to Pew Research, support for e-commerce is strong among moms, especially those who have full-time jobs. Women also are enthusiastic online communicators and are more likely than men to use e-mail to write to friends and family, Pew found.

Adriana Sanchez, a vice president at Goldman Sachs in Miami, taps into the Internet at home from her BlackBerry, responding to work e-mail.

She said the alternative is staying in the office and missing the crucial evening hours with her kids.

"I try not to make it a routine to log in at night, but it's great to be part of an organization that values families and gives me the flexibility to do what I need to do."

The same trend applies to women who work from home. Dixie McDaniel Andrade runs a business, Mom Corps of Miami, from a home office and uses evening hours for catch-up.

With her two kids in bed, she moves her laptop around the house, often at the same time she's watching TV or talking with her husband.

"During the business hours, I need to make phone calls or go to meetings," Ms. Andrade explains. "At night there are fewer distractions, I do LinkedIn, I send out e-mail."

Some moms see danger in this new trend.

Natalie Boden, a Miami publicist specializing in Latin America, said she tries to limit how many nights she logs on.

Ms. Boden, mother of two young children, is now opting for sleep instead of late nights on the computer.

"My husband coached me that it is not good for my health," she said.

To be sure, this new routine has become a source of conflict in some marriages.

"We're trying to accomplish more as parents and workers than in the past," said Stephanie Koontz, author of several books on marriage and contemporary families.

"What gives is our time with our spouse and self time."

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