In Spence's Job Market Signaling paper (a non-paywalled version is available here) firms observe applicants' educational investment. From these signals the firms glean information on the "type" or productivity of the applicants, the idea being that if one was able to suffer through Multi-dimensional Numerical Marketing Synergies in Corporate Finance and get a decent grade one is likely to do well at work unrelated to the subject as long as it requires similar intellectual capabilities and endurance.
It occured to me that completing work related tasks while caring for a small child would also say a lot about one's endurance (not sure about intellect, perhaps that too). There are some obvious difficulties, such as the cost of caring being split between two people, idiosyncratic postpartum symptoms, measuring how well the tasks were completed etc. One could argue similar problems exist w.r.t. educational investment.
Has there been academic research on this?
Googling around on Scholar reveals little, as there are tons of research for some combinations of the keywords: income + children, signaling + children, etc.