Most Americans Say They Are OK With Working Mothers, So Can The U.S. Have Paid Maternity Leave Now?
According to a new study from San Diego State University, acceptance of working mothers is at an all-time high in the U.S. Millennials apparently think it’s fine and dandy for women with children to work, or maybe they’re just used to the idea that the days are long gone when a family could expect to live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle on the income from one average, full-time job without fear of being impoverished by medical bills or tuition.
According to the study, “Only 22 percent of 12th graders in the 2010s believed that a preschool-aged child would suffer if their mother worked, down from 34 percent in the 1990s and 59 percent in the 1970s.” It’s good to see those numbers moving in the right direction, but as The Huffington Post points out, that acceptance of working mothers does not actually translate into any kind of support for working mothers. The U.S. is still the only democratic country on the planet without any kind of paid parental leave. And according to The Huffington Post, only 13 percent of U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave to employees in full-time positions, and those benefits are disproportionately offered as perks to highly paid and in-demand white-collar workers. Women in low-wage jobs, who arguably need assistance with childcare and maternity care the most, are unlikely to benefit.
The demands on mothers are pretty ridiculous, and expectations can get downright hypocritical. Have your kids, but don’t let them affect your job or your job affect them. Breastfeed, but only at specific times convenient to your employer when no one else can see you. Cook good food from scratch and have family dinners, but don’t leave work before 6 p.m., because that’s when everyone else leaves and you have to “lean in.” Be there for your kids’ plays and sports games, but don’t miss work. Spend time nurturing your relationship with your partner and making sure he or she gets as much attention as the baby. And always remember to take time for yourself, by which I mean don’t forget to go to the gym and make yourself pretty.
It’d be awesome if babies came with an extra 24 hours in a day, wouldn’t it?
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)