Here’s a small list of what society tells working moms:
Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby.
The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny helpless baby that is being watched and cared for by someone other than you.
Make sure to break the glass ceiling and excel at your job- you can do anything a man can do! It is your job to show society this! Show the world that women can do it all. Rise to the top of your career.
Also breastfeed for at least a year.
So take 2-3 pumping breaks a day at work, but don’t let it throw you off your game or let you lose your focus.
Also, lose that baby weight and get back in shape, as quickly and as gracefully as possible.
Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep a night so you can work out, work, and care for your family. But also get up at 5 am to workout, unless you want to do it after your kids go to bed when you also need to clean the house and get life ready for the next day and you know, sleep.
Maintain a clean, pinterest worthy house.
Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties.
Maintain the schedule for the entire family.
Birthday parties coming up? Make sure to have presents! Ensure the kids are learning to swim, play an instrument, read, ride a bike, be a good human being, eat vegetables, wear sunscreen, drink enough water, say please and thank you.
Don’t forget they need to dress as their favorite book character on Monday, and wear something yellow on Thursday. Oh it’s totally your call but most parents come in on their birthday and read to the entire class. In case nobody told you, if you have more than one kid you will need to buy new shoes approximately every other day.
See also: winter coats, shorts, pants that aren’t 4 inches too short. There will never be matching socks or gloves for any member of the family, ever again.
Remember the dog you got before you had kids?
She’s getting old now and needs expensive surgery. She also need walking, a new bed, and she smells pretty bad.
Kids need lots of doctor appointments. Monthly as babies. Every time they are sick. Specialist appointments, especially if any of them have extra needs. At least two school conferences a year.
IEP meetings, if applicable. Parents night. Back to school night. Get to know your school night (what IS this). Most parents are volunteering at least once during the year, would you like to come make a craft with the kids? It will only be an hour or two of your time.
Sorry, you are now out of vacation time because you used it all for time taking your kids to appointments or when your childcare is unavailable.
You should go on vacations though. It’s good to relax and unwind from work. Makes you a better employee.
Don’t forget the kids need healthy meals (and so do you! you are trying to lose that last 20 lbs before swim season right).
That requires meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep on the weekend. But also hang out with your kids on the weekend since during the week you only get to hang out with them when they are exhausted and angry that you made the wrong kind of spaghetti for dinner.
Date your spouse! It’s important to keep your relationship alive and fresh.
Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22+ dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this.
Oh hey you should have a hobby too.
It’s important to have “you time”. Also be well read, keep up with the latest pop culture and tv shows, and keep an eye on politics and be able to discuss at least one of the above on the small chance you are out in public and encounter another adult necessitating small talk.
Make sure to have friends. Social time is SO important.
Surely there is an hour or two left in the week after all of the working, appointments, exercising, cooking, scheduling, cleaning, imparting lifelong morals and learning on the kids, the usual.
Maybe go out after the kids are down for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. Make it a healthy bite though. And you may regret that wine at your 530 am spin class.
Self care though. SO important. See also: getting in shape.
See the general doctor, the dentist (TWICE), the lady doctor. Prob need to get your eyes checked. Full body skin checks 2+ times a year (just me? okay well).
Mental health too. Postpartum anxiety? But you look fine and your kids are so cute. Everyone should have a therapist.
Good luck finding one that takes your insurance and has hours outside of your normal working time (out of vacation time, remember?). That leaves evening time when you want to hang out with your kids. But it’s important, so make time for it.
Don’t wear yoga pants and a mom bun or society is going to mock you in numerous witty blog posts.
Never mind that nothing fits. Going to have to get up even earlier so you have time to style your hair, wing your eye liner and search for a pair of pants that fits your new post baby (or multiple baby) shape.
Love Every Minute Of It
Get off your phone, turn off the TV, and enjoy your life. Enjoy your kids. THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lean OUT. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.
This post originally appeared on the Facebook page of Sarah Buckley Friedberg
Society to working moms: -Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby. The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing…
Posted by Sarah Buckley Friedberg on Thursday, April 18, 2019
I love this. Thank you. You said it perfectly. I’m tired just reading about my life. How to we change this?
We don’t change it. Just live without caring about the expectations of others. My house is a mess, I never go to parent/teacher conferences (we follow them online and communicate when needed with teachers), I don’t volunteer because I don’t have time!!!, and I don’t live under guilt. Doing the best we can IS our best. I have nothing to prove to others with unrealistic expectations of their own lives. I rock it right where I am.
You sound miserable. How about appreciating that you have a job and a kid? So many people are depressed and feel like failures because they no matter how hard they try, they can’t have those things. Or is this just a page where moms go to complain? I’m all for that, too. Everyone needs to vent.
So…… count you out for emotional support
It has nothing to do with that. Moms who do have kids appreciate them but are expected to do everything else. It’s exhausting. She isn’t miserable. She’s exhausted. Stop judging her. Show support. It is you that sounds miserable.
How about you STFU Fran! Sorry, I’m sure we’re supposed to be supportive and not be rude and all that peace, love, and bullshit, but…who gives a shit if this is a page for moms to come and “complain”? It’s more like, this is a page where moms can come and share their reality! So anyone who thinks differently can just fuck off!
And to the author of this masterpiece, thank you! Very well written and very fucking real! THANK YOU! <3
Grocery delivery and 4 big glasses of water a day. I’m telling you- this is where it starts girl!
And for school-age kids, make sure your kids are involved in several activities and/or sports. Plan play dates. Do not over schedule them. Encourage independence. Do not leave them at home or in a car ever. Let them explore their world because “free range parenting” is a thing. Do not let them walk alone anywhere or risk a CPS call. Make sure they are comfortable with technology. Monitor all electronic usage. Help foster emotional development, coping mechanisms for sadness and disappointment. EVERYONE GETS A PRIZE!
Basically do everything for everyone exactly right and don’t screw up and do everything for yourself first as long as you’re not being selfish and putting yourself first and then you should put yourself first. And don’t forget that you have to make sure that everyone else in your life is satisfied with the relationship you’re giving them too. And god forbid, don’t fall apart. DONT. That will prove that women can’t do the same things that men do and that we have to make accommodations for us in society and that’s not OK because everything have to be perfectly equal and we have to get everything right. Honestly, reading this made me cry and shake my head and then realize that this is 100% true and I have no idea how it will ever be any different.
When we as a woman collective stop asking for the same rights as men. We need to fight to have rights as women. Also stop letting the “ Karens” tell us how it is. Raise boys that help out and girls that expect them to help out not just provide. Biggest thing is to stop pretending to be super women and don’t give a flying fuck what society tells you. There not living your life.
Um, I saw where it said to have dates with the spouse, but don’t forget he wants sex at least 3 times a week. Gotta fit that in too!?
3 times a week? Oh girl ur lucky it’s only 3 times a week lmao I think its considered sex slave also as a occupation LOL
HAHAHAHAHAHA love this one! Glad I am not alone
Seriously!!And god forbid you don’t give him “enough” sex and he runs off and finds it somewhere else, that’s your fault for not doing your duties as a wife!
My husband only wants it 3 times a month, if anyone wants to trade. Bonus: We don’t have kids, either
Yeah but all pick that over exercise or a hobby. Lol My priorities.
I’m exhausted reading this!?But you also forgot about having parents/inlaws over for family dinners or ensuring all families have FaceTime with out of town relatives and sending presents and thank you cards for all presents received and my cats need their vet checkups and special food. Oh the laundry too, it’s piling up a bit and it’s green shirt day on Thursday! Oh and my daughter has to go over her lines for her play!
And also the morning meeting at work schedule an hour earlier than normal schedule or the evening awards ceremony for employees…
This! I’m very grateful for all the gifts, but if one more person reminds me to write a thank you note I may throw a poopy diaper at them ?
Yep – time to Lean Out. Visit me on FB at We Lean Out and on IG @monica_leaning_out. Read more at http://www.weleanout.com and find my thoughts in Working Mother Mag: https://www.workingmother.com/im-not-failing-anyone-by-leaning-out-i-just-want-more-time-with-my-family#page-2
Back in the days when it was commonplace for only dads to work and moms to be homemakers, dads weren’t expected to do it all. They just went to work. The moms did everything else. But now moms are literally expected to do it all. Why??? So not possible!!!
Ask a feminist. She’s screaming women should do what men do. We do it now. How fun.
I have the unpopular opinion that feminism has led to the breakdown of the family unit and the detriment of children everywhere. I was a SAHM and a working mother at different times in my life out of necessity, not because I had dreams of a career. All I ever wanted was to raise my children to be strong, independent, self-sufficient adults and maintain a clean, efficient, loving home but we made decisions that finally necessitated me working outside the home. I freely admit that, as a working mother, I never gave my employer or my family all it deserved and I lived with constant feelings of inadequacy. My best advice to young women today: decide what is most important to you and give it your best effort. Trying to do it all, burning the candle at both ends, without exceptional and reliable outside help, takes a lot of the good out of life and leaves you feeling completely spent.
100% agree that it is pretty much impossible to give your family and your employer and yourself all that they want/deserve/need. But feminism did not create the conditions that led to female dissatisfaction nor breakdown of the family unit. Limiting women’s choices, to their detriment and to the detriment of their families, caused them. The failure of our society, economic system, government, families, and yes, even our husbands and ourselves to adapt to the changing needs of women and families is what caused the breakdown of the family unit. It is 100% victim-blaming to say that women wanting more has caused the family to breakdown. Women want success for themselves on multiple levels, just as men do, but when men want that, they don’t get blamed for it.
No it was what they fought for. Say “ we can be just like men” is what did it. Fighting for us to be women with rights is what we should fight for. Not to be equivalent but to be women that have rights. Im not the same as a man but I am not less than either.
Goodness. Feminist don’t ask for women to do it all. They ask for equality. What this author wrote isn’t equality at all. Equality is when the husband starts doing the play dates and the grocery shopping and meal planning. Wake up! We can only have it all with a spouse to share it all.
Agreeing with this article and coming from a standpoint that the expectations of a working mom are ridiculous:
We dads are still thought of as incompetent when it comes to children. We have two children. I often take my kids to the grocery store and I’m given praise and adoration (“Dad of the Year!”- seriously) simply because I made it out of the house and my children are still alive. We need to raise our standards of fatherhood.
Speaking in very general terms- men are also more likely to let the pressures or ‘judgements’ of other people roll off. Mothers, I believe, are more likely to take to heart any perceived shortcoming as a personal failure. This can also come from fathers who ‘won’t do it right’ thereby incurring the dreaded judgements and results in a lack of trust in his abilities. Men -human beings- will only rise to the level expected of them.
Even here, on this thread, I’ve seen condemnation of other parents who believe this to be a worthy goal. If that is where they get their validation, where they choose to expend their energy, who are we to tell them to do otherwise? If i feel ‘judged’ that is my response to other people and therefore my responsibility. can I do better as a parent? Of course I can and I will continue to that goal. But not for other parents-I do this for myself and for my children who need to see a mother and father who are intrinsically motivated.
Please don’t read this as a condemnation of feeling guilty. It creeps up on all of us, mothers and fathers alike- we’ll never be perfect and that is just as important for our children to see. They need to see us fail and get back up. They need to see us work through self-doubt. They need to see us bear our own goals and unload the burdens others place upon us.
Stay strong. Parent on. God bless
The assumptions at the heart of the US maternity leave policies are that the company’s time is more important than the baby’s time. But the baby’s growth and childhood can’t be rushed or made more “efficient”: s/he will eat solid food at 4 months, crawl at 6, and walk at 12. The US maternity leave policy needs to be longer and put families (not companies) first. Mothers (and their families) in this country are caught between a rock and a hard place.
As a teacher, we get no maternity leave. We have to use our sick days.
What about the guilt. Because at some point you break and some of this just slips out and you don’t do it. Because let’s be honest, 5am workouts vs sleep. You pick sleep! And now the guilt from that multiples. Or the guilt from not getting the healthy salad but the quick bite, which is at least 900 calories and will put you over for the day and now your behind parts are bigger size. Yay to me. You nailed this perfect!!! Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.
Are Fathers not doing anything these days? If your spouse isnt helping you do half if this then ditch his ass and save yourself the time of “date your spouse”. One less thing to worry about.
Same expectations different era. Apparently, nothing has changed ladies. These expectations have been around for a long time, you should be thankful that you’re not living during depression and dust bowl times. Now that was a hard life. All you can do is be the best mom you can be and pay no nevermind to what others tell you what you must be or should do. Stop getting sucked in to Social media. Here’s a commerical from the 70’s which shows that you don’t have it any different, harder, better than they did then.
Agree we should not let others expectations dictate our responses. However, given the lack of real wage increases over the last 40 years, people have to work a lot more now to make the same living.
We have a completely different maternity leave policy here in germany. I am allowed to stay home for a maximum of 3 years. I get a percentage of my wage paid the first a year or can split it. also I have the right to get back to my job. So whenever I read things like that plus the missing healthcare system in the USA I am so glad that I can raise my kids in Germany. And still it is a tough job to be a mom.
[…] and I completely understand why many mothers want to take a step back and lean out instead of leaning in. But for me, achievement is satisfying and motivating. I know that if I am satisfied with my own […]
I would like to go back in time and visit all the extreme feminists who pushed us into doing it all and show them what was created. I’m all for equal rights but this work life balance is not working ?. A solution I came up with is to not do it all. It doesn’t go over well. I put a lot guilt on myself too.
This wasn’t a feminist expectation. This was necessity brought about in the 1970’s when more women found themselves HAVING to work due to shifting living standards. Ask our government why family and raising children is not valued. Sure would be great to not have to stress about going back to work so quick, and have a government pension for raising a family.
Similar to D’s point:
I agree with everything here except the conclusion. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for change in trickle down feminism or marketplace feminism but leaning out fails to address policy and cultural issues or that most women do not have the luxury of leaning out. This is an option for few mothers. Rather than embracing intensive mothering, I think we should embrace sisterhood to drive change. I’ve been lucky enough to find a group of like-minded moms that support the core objectives of feminism that have been warped and misrepresented. My hope someday that we all become mad and empathetic enough to demand real change and stop blaming ourselves under the neoliberal fallacy of “choice”.
I am now a mother of 2 girls who are now 13 & 16 and I worked 12 hour days while they were young. I did breast fed, did the volunteering, field trips, every doctors appt and school functions. I have not missed one honor roll ceremony for either girl. But it has been an exhaustive whirl wind. I purposely did not have an animal (although the girls asked repeatedly) because I couldnt take care of another living thing. If I had a do over I would negotiate part time with my employer and my husband so not to be so exhausted all the time. I did not climb the world of nursing and still have no desire because of my children and that is something that most (coworkers) questioned all the time. Women need to empower and embrace each other and our own circumstances. We make it hard on each other in the workplace and in our social circles. I tried to notice others struggles and ask if they need a hand. I could go on and on with this reply. But in the end know this, you will always have guilt, whether you stay home or work. Just do your best and take care of you.
The author needs to prioritize her life and Marie Kondo out the tasks that don’t bring her joy. Society doesn’t set our priorities, WE do. Personally, I have cut or scaled down half of those tasks out of my life. Don’t care what “society” thinks about it either.
What about Dad? It’s titled “Working Moms”. Why is all the onus and stress put upon her? Dad’s reap all the benefits of “working mom’s” responsibilities too- great kids, clean house, sexy wife… within the story the writer says “parents”… so is this a working mom stress or parent stress? With division of parental responsibility a lot more can get done with TWO working parents.
D. I thought the same thing. My spouse works and shares in the childcare, house, and life responsibilities. It is exhausting but were in this together. For moms who say their spouse doesn’t do anything I say, you picked the wrong spouse.
I can relate to a lot of this but at the same time these are all things WE put on ourselves. Lean out to me means going hey babe I am tired, high five its your turn. Or having the things split so Mom isn’t doing it all. Sometimes we say my husband does nothing, and yes it is nice to just have them do it without asking, but be ok to say hey you yes you other person that made this small human these are the things I need done. lol I made sure to tell my husband when we were pregnant I am not that woman. YOU will help. CLEAN, BABYSIT, trade off on apt etc. Some of this on this list I do cause well honestly he would never remember birthday parties or days of clothes at school, but the trade off is you are volunteering, and you are doing xyz. We blame society but it starts with us, choose to say F these expectations I am not superwoman and I am perfectly fine with that!!
Absolutely brilliant. This is so true!!!
Jobs for moms
Wow that was quite the downer, but pretty darn true. I think most women do try to do it all, but fall short. When I had my third kid, that was when I decided I’m going to do and accomplish what I feel is possible and decided to not care what society expected of me. There are days though that I feel that pressure and start to care how I measure up to all the “Super Moms” out there. I’m not one, but it’s hard to not compare some days. I think it comes down to being okay with the path you have chosen and who you are and what you are accomplishing. You got this Moms and know you are not alone!
Hilarious ! This is truly expected of you ! Where did I go wrong ???? LOL !