mother and baby playing with soccer ball at home

Mom’s Role: What’s Different, What’s the Same and Why does it Matter? 

Peace at Home February 19, 2023 | Stephanie Rondeau

There’s no doubt about it—a mother’s role in the home has evolved over time, for better or for worse. A quick look at the numbers shows this to be true. In the 1950s, only about 16% of mothers worked outside of the home. Today, that number is close to 70%. 

But when we go beyond the numbers, the changes are more than just working or not. Several decades ago, a mom’s role in the home was to “tend house.” Keep the house clean, take care of children, and provide family meals. At that time women were dealing with their own spate of struggles, with the Equal Pay Act and Equal Rights Amendment not in existence yet. Back then, the debate wasn’t whether women were making enough money, it was whether women should be working at all. 

Children today are much more likely to live in a household where all of the parents or caregivers work—whether that’s a single working parent or two working adults. The full-time stay-at-home parent is now rare, yet all of the responsibilities of a stay-at-home parent still exist. For today’s mothers, the expectations to tend house persist—only now that’s in addition to their paying job and other family related responsibilities. In the modern world, kids are often pressured to branch out of school-offered extracurriculars. They’re encouraged to join club sports, travel teams, and hire private tutors. And it’s usually Mom who bears the brunt of making sure everyone gets to where they need to go—another full time job in itself.  

Moms today are feeling the effects of all of these added stressors. According to a report out of Ohio State University, parental burnout is at an all time high since the pandemic started. Approximately 66% of parents polled reported feelings of parental burnout. And one of the variables that showed strong associations with this condition? Being female. With parental burnout linked to increased depression, anxiety and increased alcohol use among working parents, our kids need us to take this challenge seriously. 

So what can moms do to combat modern burnout? 

  • Make time—even five minutes a day—for self care. 
  • Learn which things you can say no to—and then actually say no sometimes. Self preservation is just as important as any extra commitment. 
  • Find friends who are going through similar struggles and vent and look for solutions together. Social support and connection is validating and helpful during stressful times. 
  • Seek out professional help if needed. Your emotional state influences the whole family – finding your joy again actually helps protect your kids’ mental health.

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