This paper investigates the determinants of school attendance of children and their mother’s working status when the mother decides how to allocate her time and that of her children. A multilevel random effects model is applied to study the mother’s participation and the schooling status of her children in a joint framework. Using the second National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) for India, we find that, controlling for many covariates among which wealth is the most powerful predictor, children of working mothers have a lower probability of attending school. This, together with the result that only illiterate and poor mothers with unskilled or unemployed partners have a high probability of working, points to the need for decent labour market opportunities for females. An implication of our findings is that any policy aiming both at enhancing women’s empowerment through labour and increasing children’s welfare should also target improvements in women’s conditions in the labour market.