It’s 2022, and there is something that we need to talk about. Specifically, we need to discuss this regarding equal rights for women. Now, before you roll your eyes or allow your brain to run down a million paths; just know I am not here to argue with anyone. I only want to talk about something that needs to be brought to the attention of the masses. Can we talk about the working mama? Like, can we pause for a second and appreciate all mothers? This includes the stay-at-home mamas, work-from-home mamas, foster mamas, and birth mamas. All are wonderful and deserve more love and appreciation. However, this article will be geared toward working mothers and their hardships in a world that feels like it’s against them.
To understand and educate ourselves on one of the biggest struggles a working mother faces, we must first take a deep dive into history. It’s the work schedule. Let’s talk about the 9-5 workday and how it is completely obsolete in 2022. With any simple Google search, you can read all about how the 9 AM to 5 PM, the five-day-a-week work schedule was developed. Any guesses of when the idea of a 40-hour-work-week of five 8-hour days starting at 9 AM and ending at 5 PM started? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t in this century. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane all the way back to the 19th century, 1926 to be exact. While the typical workday looked different all throughout history, it was during this period that a little well-known man by the name of Henry Ford took matters into his own hands. In 1926, Henry Ford, again this is all Google-search related (so don’t come for me) popularized the average 9-to-5 workday schedule once he realized that working over 8 hours a day didn’t really yield much more productivity. Of course, this schedule was revolutionary during its time and was taking place in the after-effects of the Industrial Revolution. Ford was in what kind of work again? Oh, yeah—industrial work. I am sure school pickup, soccer practice, and dinner prep were not on his to-do list each day. Here in lies the problem. This outdated schedule needs a little TLC in 2022.
So, you must think, why is this chick so dead set on working mothers struggling with a 9-to-5 job? My frustrations have nothing to do with working 40 hours a week. I even think that working 8 hours a day is not the true issue, it is all about WHEN you work those hours. Huge pause for a moment for me to clarify. I am extremely grateful for my job. In fact, I work over 40 hours a week at my full-time job. I also teach online classes to supplement our income. So being a hard worker is not an issue for me. I am very thankful for my education and the opportunity to put my degrees to good use, but sometimes this working-mom schedule and raising young children-schedule just DO NOT mix well. I also work with many other mothers who have expressed the same frustrations.
So, let’s get back to WHEN. Conventionally, most companies operate on a work schedule. Corporate America seems to still lead the world in the average workday hours of 9-to-5. While some of us are extremely fortunate that our employers offer flexibility, not all working mothers have this luxury. Why is this a problem? Let’s do a little more research.
The average American school day schedule is typically set for between the hours of 8 AM to 3 PM. This doesn’t seem like much of a discrepancy. But, for the mother writing those checks to the after-school care program, she may disagree. Not only is the cost of childcare outrageous, but the school systems and the job force aren’t talking to one another. I couldn’t even imagine how hard it would be if you worked any other hours while attempting to care for children. Let’s also play out the idea that you are a working mother with a wonderful support system. Let’s hypothetically say you work from 9-to-5 every day and you can take your children to school for a drop-off time of 8 AM. Even if you are fortunate to have a mother, babysitter, or childcare facility that picks your children up from school at 3 PM, you still only have a small window of time in which to complete some monumental tasks. Between getting off work at 5 PM and bedtime; mothers must: complete homework, cook dinner, serve dinner, clean up dinner, cart kids to extracurricular activities, and make sure they complete basic hygiene tasks, all while ensuring they get to bed at a decent hour.
Do you see the complications with being a working mother? Not only are most work and school schedules different for most mothers, but society seems to think working mothers are some type of sorcerer. Between teachers sending home hours of homework, Pinterest telling moms the importance of a healthy diet, and the old ladies in the grocery store telling moms to soak up every moment—the working mother is supposed to do all and be all. The working mother is at a huge disadvantage. We’ve failed before we even opened our eyes in the morning. All avenues seem to point to the fact that mothers should really be at home with their children. I mean, don’t you think that was what Henry Ford thought back in 1926 when he decided this was best for his company? I mean, you don’t think he was considering the working mom back then, do you? We’ve made progress in equal rights for women over the decades, yet we haven’t stopped to think about how society and the workforce are typically seen as oppositions instead of allies for the working mother.
While we can’t change the mind of corporate America, or even change the judgments of society, I think we can make just a small difference. Talking about this is the first step. All working mothers should have an open conversation with their employer about this very topic.
Working mothers (and all mothers) have to stop being expected to do everything. We need to stop the judgment on the mom rolling up to after-school pickup 5 minutes late. We must show some grace to the mother who completely forgot it was picture day because she was up until midnight working on that big work project. Give your kid cereal for dinner, we’ve all done it. No one is here to judge you.
Here I am writing about the working mother’s struggle. I hope you will read this article and share it with a friend. Give it to the single man friend who doesn’t know one thing about raising children. Share it with your co-workers, your besties, and everyone, really. So that the next time you decide to place judgment on the mother passing you in the grocery store in her high heels at 9 PM with her screaming toddler, you might stop and consider things from her perspective.
And a big shout out to all the working mothers out there, you guys really are superheroes!
For more on working mothers, check out:
Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/pickledproverbs