Good news moms! It’s not your fault. It turns out the whole work-life balance thing may be a farce. And, that guilt you feel? It’s time to let it go.
“I do think work-life balance is a myth, but I also think it's the wrong goal,” says Dr. Caitlyn Collins, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Collins knows a bit about the topic, she just released a book called, “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving”
“Talking about work-family balance suggests that if a person just balanced a little better, their life would be a little less hectic, less overwhelming,” she says. “I make an argument for shifting the conversation to work-family justice, which highlights the political nature of women's experiences."
What she found is that women everywhere feel the pull, but women in the United States were under a different set of circumstances.
"We live in a country that has the most hostile public policies of any country in the western industrialized world,” says Dr. Collins. “The fact that we have no national child care system, no paid family leave, no right to reduce your working hours after you've given birth, for example, these all contribute to mom's stress and overwhelmed."
Yep. Apparently, other countries have done a much better job of recognizing the importance of raising children. You know, the same little humans that will someday run the world? And, American moms are more likely to blame themselves for not being able to figure out the perfect balance.
“To hear working moms tell me, if I just downloaded the right app, or read the right book, or enrolled in the right class, or arranged my schedule a little bit better, my life wouldn't be so hectic, so it's really my fault that I'm experiencing so much stress and overwhelm,” says Dr. Collins.
So, moms, quit beating yourself up over not having it all figured out. Even if it looks like it, no one else has it all figured out either.
“It's time for us to just catch up with the rest of the industrialized world,” she says. “We don't need balance. Mom's need justice."
Caitlyn Collins is speaking at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, March 27th. You can register here.