April 24, 2019
Being a working mom can be tough, and it's not just the kids and career that you have to juggle. As one working mother's viral Facebook post points out, society puts a huge amount of pressure on women to be impossibly perfect at home, at work, and everywhere in between.
Sarah Buckley Friedberg posted her over 1,000-word rant about the unrealistic standards for working moms on April 18, and it's already been shared more than 31,000 times. Friedberg, who has a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 6-year-old, and works full-time as a microbiology manager at a medical device company, told Good Morning America her "Society to working moms" post was basically "a verbal dump of everything" she was feeling at the end of "one of those days where everything seemed tough."
She explained that while her husband Michael, a pediatrician, is a "fantastic partner," she definitely feels there's more pressure on her to keep the household running smoothly. "If my husband takes one kid to the grocery store, he gets a parade...I take three kids to the grocery store and don't get [the same treatment]," she told the publication. "It's just the way society is. He puts the kids to bed, cooks, cleans—it's sort of the extra stuff that doesn't fall to him."
That extra stuff can be a whole lot. As Friedberg wrote in her Facebook post, it's often the mom who's expected to make sure "the kids are learning to swim, play an instrument, read, ride a bike, be a good human being, eat vegetables, wear sunscreen, drink enough water, say please and thank you."
Then there are the birthday parties, parent-teacher conferences, school volunteering, doctor's appointments...it goes on and on! And as Friedberg noted, it often also falls on Mom to, "maintain a clean, Pinterest-worthy house. Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties."
Doing all these things eats up valuable vacation time, yet as Friedberg pointed out, employers will tell you, "You should go on vacations, though. It's good to relax and unwind from work. Makes you a better employee."
Working moms aren't even just expected to be great employees and great parents. As Friedberg noted, society says they need to have hobbies, read, exercise, make time for dates, cook, keep up with pop culture, and current events. The list seems never-ending!
Sadly, many working moms feel this pressure to "do it all" right from the get-go. As Friedberg put it, society tells women, "Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby...Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny helpless baby that is being watched and cared for by someone other than you."
"Make sure to break the glass ceiling and excel at your job—you can do anything a man can do!" she continued. "It is your job to show society this! Show the world that women can do it all. Rise to the top of your career."
It's no wonder Friedberg—and the thousands of other working moms who shared her post—are frustrated. "I'm exhausted just reading this," wrote one commenter. "I think I need a glass of wine after reading this," added another.
Friedberg told Parents.com it was "amazing" how many people shared her post and related to the message. "I absolutely love that so many women and parents have resonated with it—it shows that we all struggle sometimes with keeping it all together. It doesn't mean that we don't love the life choices we have made, just that some days are harder than others," she said.
But not all of the comments were supportive. "There's the 'Well, don't have kids then' comments, which is not helpful. It's a little late," Friedberg told Good Morning America. "Then there's the baby boomer generation saying, 'Just stay home.'"
"I think what they're missing is the increased cost of housing, the cost of schooling—most families cannot survive on one income," she said. "That's great if you can make it work, [but] I enjoy working. I enjoy having my career. It's just everything else we are expected to keep in the air."
It's a lot, no doubt about that, but as many fellow moms were quick to reassure Friedberg, it goes by faster than you think. And despite what society might try and tell you, there's no one right way to do it all.
"Do what is best for you and your family," commented one mom. "You will look back in amazement when they are grown and wonder how you survived...then come grand-babies."