This Mother’s Day, Give Working Mothers Your Respect

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This Mother’s Day, Give Working Mothers Your Respect

Working mothers struggle to balance career and family, without any aid from their husbands.

Working mothers struggle to balance career and family, without any aid from their husbands.

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

Working mothers struggle to balance career and family, without any aid from their husbands.

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

Working mothers struggle to balance career and family, without any aid from their husbands.

By ADRIANE KONG, Asst. Opinions Editor

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Somewhere in America, a working mother gets home at 6 p.m. after working nine hours and commuting for two hours, just to be faced with a sink full of unwashed dishes, an empty refrigerator, a pile of dirty laundry and hungry children waiting for a hot, nutritious meal to appear out of thin air. And so, after their first shift at their day jobs ends, their second work shift at home begins.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I feel it’s  appropriate to visit an issue that America has been struggling to solve: the inability to support the increased influx of working mothers.

It is no secret that women have traditionally been seen as incapable of being a part of the workforce, but over the past 70 years women have made great strides. But there are always those who publicly ridicule them.

“How is a woman going to take care of her family if she’s working?”

“She’s abandoning her children.”

“She’s putting her career before her family; how awful.”

My mother has found these words all to familiar in her career. She had her first child at 30, waiting to maintain a stable career working at the United Nations before having my brother. However, she still endured judgment from her co-workers and even from local mothers in our neighborhood. In the face of these criticisms, it’s no surprise that mothers feel immense pressure not to let their family down. There is pressure to be a woman who is able to perfectly balance a growing career, participate in their child’s PTA and home cook every meal, all while being skinny and attractive. Anything less, and she is considered failing. This perception of success has pressured many working mothers to strive to be this unrealistic everything girl.

In The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home by Arlie Russell Hochschild,  Hochschild executes several studies that show working mothers tend to have more symptoms of anxiety and get only five to six hours of sleep. Additionally, in an average household heterosexual pair, the mother will often spend three hours doing household chores on a traditional work day, while fathers only spend 17 minutes. Women tend to do more daily chores, like preparing breakfast and dinner, while men do more specialized chores, like oil changing. Mothers spend an hour daily exclusively with their children, while fathers spend 30 minutes. And this imbalance in the households has led to working mothers constantly feeling “emotionally drained” and getting sick more often. Households of single mothers have to bear the entire burden alone, further weakening their mental and physical health. Although this was written in 1989, more recent articles show that there hasn’t been much improvement

Some misogynists might say that women should just stop working. But women with children should not be shamed for pursuing a career, and both the father and mother are equally responsible for creating a child, and they are equally responsible for raising the child.  

Saying that women should just stop working is not the solution.

The world has changed from 70 years ago; mothers are working, and while people have relatively accepted that, they also expect that these changes will not influence them. Many men go on expecting that they will not have to aid their spouse in household work, and companies expect parents to be able to follow their rigid job’s schedule and put in unlimited time. That is just not true anymore, and effort needs to be put in on all sides to create an equal and healthy household and working environment. So this Mother’s Day, appreciate the working mothers in your life; they certainly deserve it.