Viral Comic Shows the Hurdles Working Moms Face When Building a Career
Juggling kids and a career is challenging for moms and dads, but in many families, women still manage the lion's share of the housework. And as one now-viral comic depicts so well, this imbalance of responsibilities makes professional success all the more challenging for working moms.
Billionaire businessman Anand Mahindra tweeted the eye-opening cartoon after helping take care of his one-year-old grandson. The image shows three businessmen and three businesswomen lined up on a track. The men have no hurdles in front of them, but the women have laundry, cooking and household chores they have to get past before they can even start the race.
Mahindra said he "salute(s) every working woman & acknowledge(s) that their successes have required a much greater amount of effort than their male counterparts."
The comic—with Mahindra's commentary—has been retweeted more than 10,000 times since it was posted last week. Many thanked the businessman for acknowledging women often do shoulder more of the responsibilities at home than their partners. Others expressed their hope that the cartoon could inspire some family dynamic shifts.
"Hope that this tweet coming from you encourages more men to come forward and share the household chores," tweeted one user by the name of Dhanashree S. "#genderequality starts at home #sharetheload"
There's a lot to be said for parents striving to share the physical work that comes with raising kids (laundry, cooking, chores, etc.) as well as the mental load of planning and staying on top of practical matters for the whole family. A true 50-50 split is hard to achieve, but shifting to a "shared" mindset is a good place to start.
Rather than thinking of one parent as "the household CEO" and the other as "the direct report," think of yourselves as co-workers with the same vested interest in parenting the kids.
Experts agree that shared parenting works best when everybody can do all the jobs, but it's okay to divvy up certain tasks based on the strengths and preferences of each parent.
"You might care what the kid dresses like, and I might care that homework gets done perfectly," Sheryl Ziegler, Psy.D., a psychotherapist in Denver and author of Mommy Burnout, told Parents.com. "Couples need to have a discussion about what's important to them as a family and what's important to them individually."
Compromise and communication are key. And in the end, it's important to remember that when both parents are able to thrive at home and in the workplace, everyone comes out ahead.