Working mothers struggle to live up to societal double standards

Working mothers fall into one of two categories based on our societal perceptions of what is appropriate for members of each social class.

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Working mothers fall into one of two categories based on our societal perceptions of what is appropriate for members of each social class. We expect poor women to work and leave their children with a family member or babysitter, and while we approve of women working high-profile jobs, we consider them to be bad at mothering.

Poor or lower-middle class women (especially those receiving assistance from social programs) are expected by society to hold a job or else they are seen as “living off the system.” If these women are in the workforce, most likely working high-stress, low-pay jobs, their children not old enough for school (or after school if their mother works a late shift) have to go somewhere during the day and on the weekends.

Mothers working dead-end jobs aren’t going to be able to afford good childcare, therefore they will have to rely on family, friends, neighbors and whoever else they can get to watch their children when they’re at work. Often this presents problems because babysitters can be unreliable causing the mothers to have to take off from work when they can’t find someone to watch their children. How is this okay?

On the other hand, women who are in high-profile careers are thought to be neglecting their children because they work demanding jobs. Women are constantly fed the idea they will never be happy in a demanding position because it will interfere too much with their family life. However, women working good-paying jobs are the ones who can afford quality childcare because they are making that money.

This isn’t about which group of mothers has the most well adjusted offspring. This is about mothers living in a society that demonizes every choice they make.”

They also worked hard to be where they are, took advantage of the opportunities presented to them and earned the education required to secure the job. They shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for their accomplishments. Society thinks of career women as selfish mothers who would rather be at work than take responsibility for their children. They know best when it comes to making decisions about their lives.

This isn’t about which group of mothers has the most well adjusted offspring. This is about mothers living in a society that demonizes every choice they make. As if we, the collective society, know what is best for every mother and every family in America. We don’t. Women need to have their choices respected. They need us to believe they know what is best for themselves and their families. Women will never be happy if society doesn’t stop putting a stigma on everything they do.

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