More and more mothers are choosing to work, either out of necessity or because — *gasp* — they enjoy working outside of the house. In 2013, 69.9% of the United States labor force were mothers with children under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Working mothers are no longer the exception to the rule — they're the rule itself. And yet still, working mothers face judgement on a regular basis. The seemingly never-ending mommy-shaming leaves working moms feeling an unfathomable amount of guilt. Guilt for not giving up their careers and spending their time inside the house; for leaving their children with a babysitter, nanny, or daycare; for focusing on something other than their kids. And while there is, obviously, nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, there is also nothing wrong with choosing to be a working mother, either. (And beyond that, the assumption that working outside the home even is a choice for most women is hugely problematic in and of itself.)
In fact, new evidence suggests that children learn valuable lessons from working mothers. In a 2015 study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, it was found that "daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes."
Plainly put, children benefit from working mothers.
Which is why we, as a society, need to stop treating working mothers like they're selfish parents who don't care about their children. It's time that we stop saying these six things to mothers, so they can stop being made to feel bad for a decision they've made for their both their families, and themselves.
"I Bet It's So Hard To Be Away From Your Kid All Day"
Sure, sometimes. But sometimes it isn't, and if it is one of those particularly hard days, pointing out the fact that a mom can't spend the day with her kid isn't even remotely helpful. And if it isn't an especially difficult day, you risk making her feel guilty for not missing her kid more, which is, according to you, what she should be feeling.
"It Must Be Nice To Get Away"
Again, yes, sometimes it is great to leave the house and be amongst adults. Other times, being around adults is completely overrated. And remember, it's not like working mothers spend their work day lying around on a beach, getting paid to sip margaritas and taste test exotic foods. (But if that is a job, please, someone point me in that direction.)
"You Must Really Love Your Job"
If you're one of the 78% of working mothers who say they enjoy being a working parent, this statement is just ridiculous. Actually liking our jobs is a huge reason why most of us are working (besides, you know, the paycheck). A mother shouldn't be shamed for finding something that gives her a sense of joy and purpose outside of her children. It's kinda weird that we're even still having this conversation.
"I'm Sorry That's Something You Have To Do"
Maybe working is something that a mother has to do for financial reasons. Most people have to work. That's just how it is. Maybe a woman doesn't want to work outside her home with her kids, but is doing so because her family needs the additional income. If that is the case, apologizing doesn't change anything, and only highlights a situation the working mom doesn't want to be in.
Of course, there are mothers who don't work because they have to, but because they want to, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to work because it is something that makes you happy. Don't assume that just because a mother works, she is doing so out of obligation or necessity.
"You Must Be Exhausted All The Time"
Why? Why draw attention to how exhausting adulthood can be, in general? Parenthood is exhausting, so whether you stay at home or go to work, you're still going to miss out on a few hours of sleep because your kid is up every two hours to eat or isn't sleeping through the night or had a nightmare or just wanted to play at three in the morning. There's no reason to point out how tiring being a working mother can be, especially when most mothers are actively trying to forget about the sleep they're not getting.
"I Don't Know How You Do It"
Working mothers just do it, just like working fathers. Just like stay-at-home mothers and just like stay-at-home fathers. Parents do what they have to do, so there's no need for condescending and patronizing statements. Making assumptions about why a mom works, and how she feels about her job (either in general, or on any given day) is not only offensive, it's such a boring, old game at this point.
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