Support your local mom – working mothers


Close to half of all married women with infants are employed, yet it is still typically the mother who assumes primary responsibility for baby’s care. For some working moms, juggling career and family runs smoothly; others don’t fare quite as well.

It’s not the actual burden of child care that determines working moms’ distress, contends a University of California at San Francisco researcher. While bearing the brunt of responsibility does have a negative effect, two other factors also come into play–and they are closely related:

* Regardless of the actual division of child care, it is extremely important for a mother to be able to count on enlisting her husband’s help should she need him.

* The knowledge of such support increases mom’s perceived capability to juggle work and baby care–improving her outlook and reducing overall stress.

Elizabeth Ozer, Ph.D., studied 42 married women from the last month of their pregnancy to one month after they returned to work (usually within three months after giving birth). By measuring the moms’ degree of child care responsibility, how confident they felt in combining the demands of work and home, psychological distress and well-being, Ozer found that a woman’s belief in her ability to manage multiple roles contributes significantly to her overall satisfaction.

And who has the greatest influence on that belief? None other than daddy. Whether or not mommies believed that their jobs or even their friends were flexible enough to help out in a crisis, dads’ willingness to help out (if mom gets stuck in a meeting, for instance) greatly influenced their well-being–regardless of whether she actually uses his help. Conversely, if dad’s attitude toward baby care stinks, the time he puts in doesn’t matter; mom still feels extra stressed.

The bottom line? Happy working moms need supportive dads.

COPYRIGHT 1994 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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