Working Mothers

Many women today are facing choices that their mothers never had to face. One
of these choices is whether or not to go back to work after having a child.
This was practically unheard of in the 1950\'s. In the 1990\'s it is not whether
the mother will or will not go back to work, rather a question of when. When did
the choice become set in stone? Why do the mothers of today have to work
outside the home versus working in the home, much like their mothers did. When
one thinks of the subject of working mothers, many differing opinions come to
mind. What will happen to the child, will the mother have sufficient time to
bond with the baby, how will household chores be divided, and so on. When
thinking of working women, two models come to mind. One of which is paid
employment that has a protective and beneficial mediating effect. Employment
protects women against certain negative aspects of being full-time homemakers
and mothers, such as monotonous housework, dependence on the male partner for
financial and emotional support, increases self-esteem because they are
contributing to the world they live in. These women receive a renewed interest
in life because they are in the thick of it. They are living life to the
fullest. This model is the one that is constantly referred to as “bad” because
it paints the woman as someone who does not really care about the effect of
working will have on the baby. In fact, most of these mothers have made this
choice with painstaking care. They are constantly feeling what everyone is
thinking, and this in turn causes undue stress on these mothers. The other model
of the working mom is the one most people think of when discussing working
mothers. This model is one of a woman having too many demands of her --
housewife, mother and paid employee - which may lead to role strain due to
fatigue and role overload. The competing demands of such roles may also lead to
conflict and psychological stress. Both of these models can be seen in the
working mother at any given time. They are simply a fact of life, a by product
of the world in which we live. Mothers are constantly jumping back and forth in
these roles, striving to find a sense of balance. But is there such a thing?
Most of the time the scales are tipped one way or another, there is never a true
sense of balance. I believe this is how the mothers survive. If the scales
were balanced, it would seem that they would either be cruel heartless women,
simply concerned with their jobs, and caring less about their children. This is
simply not the case. It seems that the ideal situation is when the father helps
around the house, as to alleviate some of the stress the mother feels from
working and the ability for the mother to have a flexible schedule. Role
decisions within the family unit need to increase when the mother returns to
work. In order for both partners to be happy and feel fulfilled, there needs to
be a clear definition of roles with in the family unit. This is something that
should be discussed and decided well before the mother returns to work. In
making role decisions, the parents must somehow combine their perceptions of the
rewards and costs associated with each role in order to determine which
combination of roles will provide them with the best role position. In other
words, they need to figure out what they can do best for the family when they
both parents work. If this is accomplished, the family will function better as
a unit, and stress will be alleviated for all. Another set back that is
constantly facing working mothers is that their work is looked upon as optional,
it is also viewed as less important than their partner\'s. When these attitudes
are confronted, it makes the transition for the working mother all the more
difficult. The constant backlash from the public makes these mothers feel so
guilty that some may even quit just to alleviate the stress. In order for
working mothers to feel needed, and to have their work mean something, others
need to look upon their work as something substantial, something important, not
simply an option. When workplaces provide flexible scheduling and childcare
services, these are the first steps in getting working mothers into the
workforce and alleviate their feelings of guilt. Many working mothers today are
facing the reality of the