A joint study by ForbesWoman magazine and TheBump.com website shows that many US mothers feel like single parents, whether they are married or not, and two out of three resent handling all the household duties even when they prefer their partners to stand aside.
The study found that 92 percent of working mums and 89 percent of stay-at-home mothers felt overwhelmed by work, home and parenting responsibilities.
“Mums have an innate aspiration to do it all and a secret desire to be superwoman,” said Carley Roney, editor in chief of TheBump.com.
The survey of 1200 women revealed that 77 percent of working mums and 68 percent of stay-at-home mothers questioned said they feel resentful toward their partner because of all they have to do.
“It’s not just that women can’t ask for help; they don’t want to,” said Meghan Casserly, a reporter for ForbesWoman. “She feels it’s damaging her sense of motherhood to ask for help. And it’s causing resentment.”
Nearly 30 percent of working mothers said they do the bulk of the household work and 31 percent said they are responsible for all of the parenting.
Much of this self-inflicted grief is encouraged by media images of a super working mum who looks glamorous while cooking, washing, babysitting and holding down a full-time job.
“Mums identify with these tasks. They make them feel like a mother. She wants to be the best parent with the best kids in the nicest house and look beautiful while she does it,” Casserly said.
But in reality, “she’ll burn out and head toward relationship disaster,” she added.
Mothers handle most of the parenting and household work, yet 79 percent of working mums and 71 percent of stay-at-home mums said their partners are equally responsible for discipline.
About 84 percent of stay-at-home mums don’t get a break from parenting after their partner comes home, even though 97 percent of respondents say they need at least an occasional break from parenting.
In fact, 50 percent of stay-at-home mums said they never receive a “time out” from parenting, while 96 percent said their partner manages to get a “time out.”
To clear up their resentment, which could lead to further problems, Casserly said women need to have an honest conversation with their partners about housework.
“It might take some swallowing of their pride. Open communication is the first step to divvying up those chores and warding off any resentment,” she said.
There is no question that the pressures on working women with families in the last two decades have intensified markedly.
The price is often paid in burnout, failed relationships and antagonistic relationships with their children.
Open and honest communication between partners is essential. From a male persepctive it is good if that communication is unemotional and not anger laced.
A man is more likely to respond to a rational, factual discussion than raw emotion.