Language changes and evolves with our world. Certain words and phrases become antiquated because they either no longer serve a purpose in our society or they become offensive. Most of us are careful not to offend those around us with our words, because we often demand the same courtesy. And, obviously, what’s considered offensive to some may not be offensive to others. However, there's one term that hasn’t received my attention, at least not the attention it deserves: “working mom.” Among many ways we describe women in our society, “working mom” has become a problematic term.
When I was studying Linguistics in grad school, I learned about linguistic relativity, commonly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Sapir-Whorf claims that language influences and often determines our thoughts. Simply put, the words we use to describe people and things determine what categories we put those people and things into in our brains. This theory makes sense when we think about connotation. Many words carry either strong positive or negative connotations. There’s a reason we use different words around different groups of people. I don’t speak to my boss the way I speak to my friends, and I wouldn’t speak to my parents the way I speak to my children. We are typically careful when we speak based on the environment we are in. We are even quick to revise our own thoughts in order to change our own moods and reactions.
So why has "working mom" taken on such a life. I guess it came about as an antonym to "stay-at-home mom," which just so happens to be another term I take issue with. Since I became a mom, I've despised the term "working mom." That phrase is equivalent to the sound of a toddler whining and, honestly, serves no purpose but to annoy.