According to a new study out of Cambridge University, 62 percent of Americans say yes, up from 49% who thought so in 1994. In Britain, 54% of women and 58% of men believe that when a mom works it has a negative impact on family life.
My initial reaction was to get upset, naturally, that so many people feel this way. I then thought about our family life and started to get upset thinking that crap, this is probably true. I don’t cook enough, I don’t bake enough cookies, I am not there for all of my daughter’s school events, we don’t sit around the table each night having a family dinner because our work-schedules don’t allow for that.
And then I realized something: What suffers is not our family life, but some unrealistic, idealistic, and frankly, fairly outdated idea of family life that still persists in our society, and too often, in my head. You know, intricate homemade dinners every night, a super-clean house with a beautiful garden, and a stress-free mom who is there to take care of everyone’s needs, while finding time to work out and look great. I don’t know any working mom for whom this is the reality and if this the reality that the thousands of people who participated in the study expect, then yes, it suffers when a mom works.
My favorite part of the article about the study was the quote from the researcher who conducted it:
‘It is conceivable that opinions are shifting as the shine of the ’super-mum’ syndrome wears off, and the idea of women juggling high-powered careers while also baking cookies and reading bedtime stories is increasingly seen to be unrealizable by ordinary mortals.’
This is one of my favorite quotes in a very long time. Because, uh, duh, really, us mortals should give up the ridiculous idea of a super-mom? Finally.
Do you think that when a mom works family life is negatively impacted?