It is often said that, \"Man's work ends at sun set. Women's work is never done.\" With sixty-three million women working and 62% of those women maintaining families, most women would this statement very true (AFL-CIO). While women are expanding their lives to include a career, they must also maintain their traditional roles at home. This combination of housework and career-work is the reason why working mothers today have more stress than working fathers.
Mothers may work in an office from nine to five, but their work does not end at the office. After working an eight-hour day, a mother will come home to take care of her children, husband, and house. Women remain the primary caretaker and housekeeper of a family, and are also the primary caregiver for the elderly (Kelly, Garrett). All of this makes for a very demanding schedule.
Typically after leaving work, a mother will pick up her children at a babysitter or day care, and then continue to caravan her children from soccer practice to ballet class to girl scouts, etc. When she finally reaches home, exhausted, a mother will try to spend some quality time with her children before feeding them dinner, giving them a bath, and putting them to bed. For some reason, all of these chores remain the work of a woman. In the mean time, a mother has no time to herself to recuperate from a long day because she is so busy caring for everyone else.
If both parents are working and their child becomes ill, the wife is more likely to leave work and get the child (Bianchi 171). Also, since husbands generally work eight more hours a week than their wives do, they tend to miss out on responsibilities, such as feeding their children dinner and breakfast. \"Men miss out on meal chores and those tend to be very stressful\" says Dr. Barnett (Kelly). More often than not, women's work interferes with family while for men family interferes with work (Bianchi 171). This is because women tend to put family first, and therefore, they feel extra pressure to do well for their family when coming home from work. This feeling only adds to a working mother's stress.
Taking care of the elderly is very similar to the demand of taking care of one's children (Bianchi 180). With women now having children later in life, they find themselves responsible for the care of their young children and elderly parents, if they require care, at the same time. One-half of elderly peoples' caregivers work outside of the home and one quarter of them have children at home who require care (Garrett). Whether your parents are living in a nursing facility or at home, it is undeniable the amount of work it takes to care for a loved one. Many elderly people require assistance with medication, eating, and bathing as well as a long list of simple every day tasks. For anyone this is a pretty big responsibility, but imagine caring for a person in such a manner along with caring for one's home and family.
Mothers also come home with a long list of household chores to finish. On top of working twenty to forty hours a week, a woman will also average twenty hours of housework a week (Bianchi 169). Cooking, cleaning, and vacuuming: a wife still primarily does all of this, and some women actually believe that they should be doing the housework (Bianchi 168-172). After a hard day at work, men are able to sit down and relax but not women. \"For most working mothers this is the most stressful part of the day,\" says Alice D. Domar, the director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health at a Harvard University teaching hospital (qtd. from Kelly).
So much stress has taken its toll on working mothers. Working mothers often feel guilt for leaving their children in the care of others while they are at their jobs. More severely, unrelenting stress can have a very negative effect on one's health. This stress can weaken a woman's immune system, threaten her cardiovascular system and contribute to headaches, backaches, gastrointestinal stress and insomnia (Kelly).
In any case, the stress of a working mother is a