Canadian families have changed, in part due to an economy that provides more work opportunities for women, and a cultural orientation that values equal opportunity and diversity in families. In spite of the change, both quantitative and qualitative evidence suggest a continued preference for mothers to spend considerable time with children, especially in the infant and toddler years. Thus, in an average couple, the presence of young children in the home brings wives to reduce their paid work and husbands to increase their paid work. Our reading of parental preferences suggests an interest in more services for young children in the form of early childhood education and child care, but also an interest in policies that would allow parents to spend more time with children through parental leaves, part-time work with good benefits, and subsidies that supplement market income. Many options available to two-parent families are often less feasible for lone parents, giving a higher priority to child care.