A working mom in 1990 is much different than a working mom in 2021. Honestly, I don’t know how you do it! I am not saying that it was super easy for me back in the 90s, but I can see that the level of difficulty has risen exponentially.
Back in the day, if you were a working mom, it meant that you worked eight hours outside the home, but you needed to provide the illusion that you still were at home all day. Laundry done, meals prepped, house clean… that old chestnut. God forbid if you had to go on a work trip somewhere!
You had to figure out how to be in two places at once – which generally meant enlisting your mom to come and take over the childcare so that there was a seamless transition of situation.
The kids would barely notice your absence. Hubby would tell you that your mom’s spaghetti was better than your spaghetti.
There was this silent undercurrent of, “you chose to be a working mom so you had better ensure that no one suffers as a result of your choice.” Of course, that was never verbalized, but was an internalized expectation.
Circa 2021 and the pressure on a working mom has changed with the times, but not lessened. The misogynistic undertones have waned, but the expectations are still high.
The dynamic doesn’t change regardless of the family structure: Mom and a Dad, Mom and Mom, Dad and Dad, Mom or Dad, etc. There always seems to be one partner who carries the burden of the day-to-day operations of the family unit.
Whoever assumes that role has a heavy burden. Take everything that I listed above and compound it with the fact that your life needs to be consistently Instagram-perfect. Your life needs to appear organized and perfect to the outsider who has no qualms about judging you for how you buckle your child into their car seat or what you packed as a school lunch.
Yes, the world is full of Judgy McJudgersons who thrive on calling out other moms for a misstep. Feel like someone is always looking over your shoulder? You are not being paranoid, there is someone waiting to catch you doing something wrong.
Whatever happened to the solidarity of motherhood? Where simple mistakes are forgiven due to the “those who live in glass houses” analogy.
I am truly thankful that I transitioned out of the working motherhood thing in the early 2000s before things got nasty. I do not know how you do it.
Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek.