We are often a target of judgment, a representation of conflicting priorities, a self-described amalgam of guilt and frustration. We rarely feel relaxed, content or finished with everything we’re supposed to do.
Why do working moms face each day like a warrior confronting a battlefield?
Perhaps it’s because we are spending more time working and more time with our kids than our predecessors, with higher expectations on us from ourselves and everyone around us.
In 2016, moms spent about 25 hours a week on paid work, compared with nine hours in 1965. At the same time, we spent 14 hours a week on child care, up from 10 hours a week in 1965. Seventy percent of those modern moms are juggling the elusive work-life balance, compared to 47 percent of mothers who worked in 1975.
The obligation or desire to spend more time working to pay the bills or pursue our careers has crashed head-on into today’s societal norms to also spend more time keeping our kids engaged by driving them to activities and helping with homework — creating a perpetual volcano of emotions that singe us with feelings of being overwhelmed and under appreciated in both arenas.
It’s no wonder many working moms feel we have to tackle every item on our to-do list like a brave fighter ready to defend our position as benevolent but frenzied ruler of the home front and conscientious but shortchanged professional in the work world.
So how do we take a break long enough to feel carefree, whimsical, even indifferent?
Face our flaws. Rip off the armor. Admit our shortcomings to each other.
We may want to appear that we have it all together on the outside, but it’s actually better for all of us to let other working moms know we’re still figuring it out on the inside — and messing it up.
In baseball, you are a star if you miss seven out of 10. We need to revel in the rarity of our hits and reveal the frequency of our strikes to other working moms.
That naked truth will produce a shower of relief that can give all of us working mom warriors some peace — at least for a few minutes before the kids wake up.