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Working Moms Face Diverse Challenges

Updated on July 4, 2011

Working Moms

Statistics show women currently make up about half of the U.S. labor force. Basically, it has become a necessity. The day of the one wage earner family has practically disappeared. Many families can’t survive on only one income. This means many working mothers are also responsible for domestic chores and raising their children. 

Working moms are still left with most household chores as some men have yet to increase their share of the work load. And the extra income derived from a second wage can be largely eaten up by child care costs.

According to a survey, almost 8 out of 10 working mothers would quit their jobs if they could because performing roles of both mother and worker is extremely hard and stressful. Sometimes this results in taking out their frustrations on family members. It’s no wonder then why most divorces are initiated by women.

Experience More Problems

On average a working mom experiences more problems than their male counterparts. For instance they are more apt to dread the possibility of a child getting sick and needing attention during their usual work schedule.

Most employers provide paid sick leave for employees…not their children. This means mothers would have to take annual or unpaid leave to stay home and care for them. Why the mother? In our culture, whether right or wrong, job responsibilities of a father are deemed more important. Therefore, employers are more likely to view a mother staying home to care for sick children in a more favorable light than a father.

Some women resent their spouses for not sharing more of the household burden and this sometimes carries over into the bedroom. Lack of sexual intimacy is a common problem for working women. They are just too tired to engage in sex.

Conducted Surveys

Many studies have been conducted on the quality of child rearing working women are able to provide in comparison to stay at home moms.

Children raised by mothers having full-time jobs scored slightly lower on cognitive tests. However, that was countered by several positive facts. Families with working mothers made more money therefore they could afford better child care. And they generally showed greater responsiveness toward their children than stay at home mothers.

According to public opinion mothers working full-time can’t provide infants with intensive interaction infants require. And a study, "First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Development in the First 7 Years," did show women who worked full time the first year of motherhood risked mild developmental harm to their children. Part-time employment revealed no negative effect. After the first year it mattered little whether a mother worked full time or not.

Changes In Attitude

 Despite changes in attitudes over the last few decades, conflicts still plague women about their responsibilities between work and home. They still question whether full-time work is the best thing for them and their children. As a result, they may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. They feel there just isn’t enough time in the day…and always rushed.

And family cares seem to be a key reason holding women back in their careers and not rising up through the ranks at work.

A survey asked working mothers whether they preferred to work full time or part time. Most said part time. On the other hand, an overwhelming majority of fathers said they preferred full time work.

These results echo the results of a 2007 Pew Research Center survey.  A majority of working mothers said they would rather work part time. This represented a significant increase from 10 years earlier.

The percentage of working women has steadily increased since the 1950’s. No matter which way one looks at it women have transformed the American workplace. As a result, conflicts and challenges have arisen presenting unique challenges to women, families and their employers as well. 

At one time, a working mom was viewed with less than congeniality. Even as society has become more accepting of women’s role in the workforce, attitudes about mothers of young children working haven’t changed significantly.

A general survey asked whether women should have a job outside the home. A majority felt a woman who has not yet had children should work full time. However, for those with children at home most respondents said part time work would be better.

But this brings up another concern…child care. Many Americans are concerned far too many children are being raised by day care centers. Although the public has embraced the concept of working women attitudes towards women with children working still seems to be a touchy subject. However, men and women both agree a full-time working mother is not the best situation for a young child.

Undoubtedly working mothers would prefer to work part time but few actually have the opportunity to do so with the tight job market. But on the bright side dads are doing extra work on the home front as more women have joined the ranks of the work force. Women spend less time on housework than they did in the past however, on average they still do more than do fathers.

Most fathers are satisfied to work full time and have few conflicts over their roles. Working women, however, are left to juggle demands of work and family


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