Stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, guilty: this is how most working moms are describing their lives. What can we do?
Being a mom is a full-time job. Though many will argue the same can be said for dads, the reality is that the vast majority of children depend on their mothers. Working moms in the U.S. are the least appreciated, and the saddest part is they are always blaming themselves.
Before you get into an argument about feminism and how this is some brand-new propaganda, there have been numerous researches that support these claims. Mothers do not get enough sleep, they don't eat properly, and they keep pushing themselves to do better, though they are already at the breaking point.
Working culture in the U.S. is partly responsible for leaving mothers feeling like they aren't doing enough. For decades, companies were pushing the idea to work hard, play hard. But with moms, the playtime means picking up kids from schools, giving them meals, washing, cleaning, doing household chores, and being emotionally invested in their kids' lives.
While the home life of a mother is stressful, yet rewarding for many, the workplace is an utter disaster. Women are expected to look the part while being one of the boys and still not getting paid as much. Not only that, women aren't as recognized, so making a career while raising young children is turning moms into barely functioning beings.
Sociologist Caitlyn Collins spent several years analyzing parenthood in some of the most developed countries in the world. Sweden is the absolute winner when it comes to supporting family life and having a sense of accomplishment at work. Germany and Italy support mothers due to beliefs that a child cannot grow up to be a functioning adult if moms are not present enough. However, the situation in the States is worrisome.
As per Collins: "Children are seen as frail and properly cared for by loving mothers. Fathers can't help much, because they are believed to lack the right nurturing skills." So, where do we start?
The first thing has nothing to do with work and home, and everything to do with self-care. Working mothers have to learn not to blame themselves. They are tired, always on edge, and yet we seem to overlook that these women are educated and want to leave their mark in the world. It's merely a case of being burned out and pushing yourself to the breaking point.
Changing policies, while looking up to models in other developed countries, has to happen fast. It's not that any country has the perfect solution, but we need changes to see if we can find the ideal balance. Because a hardly functional mom isn't only harming herself, the whole family is suffering. And again, when you see her drowning, don't tell her anything except, "It's not your fault.:"
In the U.K. the situation is similar, but it's interesting to add that women without children are approximately 40% less stressed than mothers. Should women stop having kids to be able to get their careers on track? Or stop working, and destroy their dreams and goals? Because that will happen if things don't change soon.