Caught in the Middle

Women

Women with families often have little time for their personal pursuits, and they generally feel they are caught in the middle between work and home. Their children need a mother, and their extended family may not always be able to help. Their husbands have their own careers, and only a few of them take up their entire share of the child-raising burdens. A sick child at home often means the mother will miss a day of work, but the father’s career is safe as he reports for duty on time.

Being caught in the middle is never fun in any situation, but being a working mother has added burdens. Women in the workplace who do not have children are often resentful of mothers who need unexpected days off, and the men have the impression that mothers are undependable. A woman who does not stay home with her child who is sick feels guilty, but she also feels guilty when she lets her co-workers down. Added to this is the knowledge she will be judged when it comes time for pay raises and promotions.

Working mothers are usually dependent on extended family members to help them with their children, but some of them do make enough to afford day care services. It sounds like the perfect solution, but children who are sick are generally sent home to avoid spreading their illness at the center. A parent might drop their child off in the morning, schedule a series of meetings and be called to come get their child only a few hours later. This is part of the burden of any parent, but mothers are generally called first.

Raising children is never easy, and it gets more complex when both parents work. As the primary caregivers, mothers often feel they are being torn in two between their children and their employer.