Linda Haysworth stops by a local Provo daycare to pick up her two small children, Zack and Bo. After a full eight-hour workday, the job as a full-time mother is one that never quits.
“There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” Haysworth states, in between buckling each of her children into their car seats. “Did I expect life would be like this for me? No. But I’m making it work the best I can.”
Like many modern women, Haysworth works a full-time job to help support her family. She has no choice but to take on a job in this particular case, however.
“My husband left a few years ago, right after Bo was born,” Haysworth said. “I went into a weird fight-or-flight response, and realized that I needed to take on the responsibility of supporting my family now. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to come to terms with.”
As history tells us, in the 18th and early 19th century, it just wasn’t a woman’s world.
Things changed for women though, and in the big timeline of life, these changes happened quickly. It was once understood woman stayed home, tended the children and maintained the household chores, such as cooking and cleaning. The idea of feminism and women’s liberation came about in the 60s, after women won the right to own property and vote. Since then, the idea of women with families going to work has not only become commonplace, but has, in many instances, become a popular and respected idea — and women have adapted to that norm.
The Families and Work Institute did an analysis in 1974 which showed 47 percent of women with children under 18 years of age participated in the labor force. Make a 33 year jump to 2007 and that same figure increased to a whopping 71 percent.
However, a much less discussed topic is the affect this has on the working mother and her family.
Shannon Cooper, a working mother from Springville, Utah, has a high-stress job as head secretary to a very busy law firm. Cooper said the pressure of the job can sometimes be quite overwhelming.
“My husband and I both work,” Cooper said. “We decided to hire a nanny to watch our daughter during the four hour overlap that neither parent is home.”
Cooper added she sometimes has to work on typing up cases or filing documents for her job while at home. She said this can sometimes interfere with the time she would rather be spending with her family.
“If I had time to finish all of my assignments and projects at work, I would,” Cooper said. “But sometimes I have to have whatever I’m working on spillover into my life at home. It’s usually little things, but it can be hard.”
A study from a 2011 Journal of Women’s Health Issues found that “job and home spillover are associated with maternal, mental and physical health. Findings also revealed that flexible work arrangements were associated with poorer postpartum mental health scores, which may reflect unintended consequences, such as increasing the amount of work brought home.”
Amber Leick, a professional chef from San Fransisco, said her boss and coworker’s support makes juggling her family and job a whole lot easier.
“If I didn’t have the full support from both my family and everyone at work, I probably would not have persued my dream,” Leick said.
Leick was a stay at home mom until her daughter turned three, at which point she was accepted into the California Culinary Academy. Between the program and a part time job as a sous chef at a local restaurant, Leick stays busy but still finds time to spend with her family.
“I know that sometimes working mothers feel guilt,” Leick said. “I somehow find time to work, attend my program and spend time with my daughter. When it comes right down to it, I really don’t have time to feel guilty.”