Those old cigarette ads tried to convince women in the late 60s and early 70s that being part of the workforce and changing women’s roles should also include smoking a long, thin, dainty cigarette. Feminism and equality were buzzwords. Bras were being burned. Gloria Steinem (who I met during my brief stint at Ms.) was becoming an icon. The belief, or dream, was that these women were paving the way for generations to come…
and fastforward to 2011. A newspiece on Marketwatch, part of The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network, presented the findings of a recent survey by thebump.com in conjunction with ForbesWoman.com. The survey on Co-Parenting revealed that “nearly 1 in 5 Working and Stay-at-Home mothers feel like married single moms.”
What happened? Or what didn’t happen? How is it we continue to allow ourselves to get caught in the patriarchal trap? How did women move so far ahead in the workforce and in public life, yet at home continue to find herself in a role not unlike that of her mother or grandmother?
According to ForbesWoman reporter Meghan Casserly: “These survey numbers tell us that, despite the conversations on the changing picture of parenthood and sharing of responsibilities at home, not all that much has changed since women first stepped into the workforce. And it’s exhausting! Besides being on a treadmill of work, family, household, repeat, many women feel largely on their own when it comes to home and kids.”
What was the saying, women get paid half as much to work twice as hard? Two full time jobs, one is paid.
I’m a single mom. My husband left shortly after my son was born. It’s been challenging, at times even a struggle. After 14 days straight flying solo my kids stay with their father overnight. On Sunday, when he brings them home, he usually likes to complain how “they wear me out.” I generally don’t comment. But if we were still together, I’d probably be one of those 70% of working moms (and 68% of stay-at-home moms) who said they feel resentful toward their partner because of the unbalanced load of household and parenting responsibilities.
“Moms have an innate aspiration to do it all and a secret desire to be superwoman,” says Carley Roney, editor in chief of TheBump.com. I can’t help but wonder if this “innate aspiration” is based on desire or necessity. Do woman really want to do it all or just find that in many cases they simply don’t have a choice and rather than complain they attempt the impossible?
As Gloria Steinem once said, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
Chime in working and stay at home moms, do you feel like unexpected members of the single mom sisterhood?