Every mother out there will tell you that motherhood is very stressful.
However, the problem is that it shouldn’t be as stressful as it is now, especially in developed countries such as the U.S.
Recent research has shown that the U.S. is lagging behind in how it supports families and mothers when compared to other western countries, especially when it comes to the work-life balance.
Caitlyn Collins is a sociologist that spent five years studying parenthood in four different countries, and what she found out is that mom’s in the U.S. have it the worst.
She told Psychology Today that one desired remained constant among mothers in all the countries she conducted interviews: women want to feel that they are able to combine paid employment and take care of their children in a way that doesn’t put them in a disadvantage at home or at work.
She is the author of Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving, and she said that the U.S. stands out among the other western countries, like Germany, Italy, and Sweden.
Working mothers in the U.S. experience a lack of support, and they try to solve it by changing jobs, or becoming more efficient.
Collins added that women who are committed to their careers but take too much time away from their family are thought that they disrupt their work devotion, while the women that avoid their familial commitments feel that they are compromising their family devotion.
Mothers and fathers have the most equal share in parenthood in Sweden, while Germany has the best support in form of public policy and childcare.
The U.S. definitely lacks the policy and social support of these countries, and moms are literally drowning in stress here.
Mothers find plenty of support to help with the home and childcare in most European countries in ways that don’t even exist in the U.S.
She thinks that this is a structural problem, and it requires structural solutions.
Mother’s in the U.S. don’t even get maternity leave, while most other countries allow working mothers to take 52 weeks of paid leave. In America, mothers are “lucky” if they get 6 to 8 weeks of semi-paid disability leave, and then they have to leave babies long before they are mentally, physically, or emotionally ready to.
And, in the end, they’re left feeling guilty about not being present enough at work or at home.