Persistent problem

Work-family dilemmas of mothers have become big issues that drove companies construct more equitable organizations. This is because in their everyday decisions and practices, they consider women on how, when, and if they wanted to bring issues about mothering into the workplace (Jorgenson, & Buzzanell, 2003). Research on the ways in which women made sense of their choices tried to encourage movement from either/or positioning to more fluid work and family and identity constructions (Kirby et al. , 2003).

Women occupy roles that are different to those of men (wife, mother), and roles that are labeled identically (paid worker). According to Rout, Cooper and Kerslake (1997), much of the literature relevant to multiple role involvement implicitly reflects this distinction. Involvement in both work and family roles has been seen as a source of men’s advantage over women with respect to mental health, and as the source of overload and conflict for women, that is, as detrimental to women’s mental health.

Long and Porter (1984) argue that underlying this inconsistency concerning the number of roles is the assumption that a particular role, that of paid worker, is necessary and beneficial for men but is an “added on”, hazardous role for women. However, Barnett and Baruch (1985) argue that because of the patterning of privileges and obligations, the role of paid worker may be less stressful to a woman than her more traditional roles.

The working mothers who felt that their partners did a fair share of the household chores had better mental health and reported lower levels of anxiety and depression than those working mothers who felt that their partners did not do a fair share. These results are therefore consistent with the findings of Krause and Markides (1985) who found that among employed women who received little or no help with housework from their husbands, paid employment was associated with significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than are reported by women who do receive significant help.

But other researchers found that it is the assistance with child care and not with housework that modifies the relationship between employment and distress. The results lead to a suggestion that perhaps help with household chores rather than assistance with child care is the most important factor in determining the impact of employment on their mental health. It is possible that those mothers who are assisted by a partner around the home are more likely to reap maximum psychological benefits from outside employment.

It can be suggested that these benefits arise even when mothers only perceive their partners to be doing their fair share. Another persistent problem of working mothers is the issue of maternity and ensuing family responsibilities. Although in the United States there is much talk of “family-friendly” business practices, the maternity leave arrangements in the United States are not comparable to those of European countries. The challenges for women who choose to be mothers and have professional careers just begin at childbirth. This is why U. S. lawmakers have enacted a number of recent measures designed to help parents who work.

In 1993, President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires companies with more than 50 employees to allow full-time workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in case of births, adoptions or personal or family medical emergencies. In addition, Clinton supported measures that would allow parents to take additional time off from work to take children to the doctor or attend parent-teacher meetings. Clinton has also advocated a “flex time” proposal that would give workers greater flexibility with their work schedules.

Under the proposal, workers would have the option of trading overtime pay for time off from work. Clinton has also sought to boost spending on federally supported child-care programs. In 1998, Clinton proposed a budget bill that would allocate $7. 5 billion over the next five years for subsidies for child care for low-income families. According to a Working Mother article, the present basic maternity leave package includes six weeks of paid disability (eight weeks for a caesarean delivery) provided either by the state or an employer’s private insurance program.

Not all states or employers provide short-term disability pay, and it’s usually limited to a percentage of your salary. Some companies offer more paid leave than disability allows, but if yours doesn’t, you may be able to buy more time by combining sick days, paid vacation time and personal days. For women who would like to add even more time with their babies or who work at companies that don’t offer leave with pay, absence without pay may be an option. Some companies offer several months to a year of unpaid leave, while guaranteeing a return to the same-or a comparable-job.

If a woman works full-time at a larger company or for the government, she may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA. This federal law requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide leave to new mothers-or fathers-who’ve worked there for a year or more. If necessary, this leave can be taken before the birth or up until 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child. It can be used all at once or, if your boss approves, broken up into increments over that first year (Freundlich, April/May 2005).