Wake up. Make breakfast. Feed the kids. Clean the kitchen. Drop the kids off. Walk the dog. Hop on the train. Clock in at work. Return the school nurse’s call. Miss lunch. Clock out. Catch the bus. Pick up the kids. Defrost dinner. Kiss a scraped knee. Pay the electric bill. Send out Christmas cards. Feed the kids. Walk the dog. Iron for tomorrow. Clean the house. Take a shower. Watch the news. Fall asleep. Repeat.
And so goes the day of many working moms. Being a mother is already a full time job. When you add in a 9 to 5 in the equation, life becomes an even more interesting balancing act. Whether your child is a newborn or a teenager, there is no escaping that point where you will have to choose one over the other while strategizing on how to minimize the damage. The United States already has a poor life/work management system as a whole. Despite the fact that the U.S. is a supposed superpower, our ability to find balance between home and office is ranked at 28th…just above Mexico. Forget the war on drugs, where is the war on that nonsense?
One other major challenge for working moms is usually guilt. Many of us feel guilty for leaving our children or guilty for having a child-related excuse at work or guilty for a number of random reasons. We end up blaming ourselves for whatever goes wrong on either front and both sides suffer. In most cases, your guilt about leaving family is overshadowed by a supervisor or manager who insists on making you feel bad for your decision to have a life and a career. There are women across different fields that have been made to think their decision to be working moms was a bad choice. This way of thinking continues to put working moms in a box. It is also a gender-based stereotype that can have legal repercussions.
Every woman deals with the responsibilities of raising a family while working differently. The common theme is that all working moms have to find a problem solving method that works for them. Unfortunately, there is no award for maintaining a good balance between your home and your office. In fact, you may even been penalized professionally, regardless of how well you perform on the job. There seems to still be a perception that working moms are incapable of making good professional decisions because their judgment is presumably too clouded with the woes of motherhood.
One example of this bias is the court case of Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free School District (April 2004). Essentially, Dr. Elana Beck was denied tenure because she wanted to have a family. The school dismissed her qualifications after she returned from a short maternity leave. That type of bias is not just annoying—it is illegal.
Working moms struggle to find a good work life balance, but the fact that they have a family should not bar them from promotions, raises, or even something as simple as respect.
If you feel you have been a victim of gender discrimination, document the instances and consult an attorney or visit the ACLU website.