Working Mothers


Working Mothers Essay, Research Paper

Most American mothers work. They work because they need to

and also because they like to. Earning money and guaranteeing

their family’s security is an essential part of their lives, a

component of modern motherhood. “Women work because the economy

demands it,” says Donna Lenhoff, general counsel for the National

Partnership for Women and Families. “And because they get

personal satisfaction from contributing to the economy and to


The perception endures that, in two-income households, women

choose to work for fancy second cars, sumptuous vacations, and

better haircuts. Or that they work to fulfill “selfish”

individual ambition, as though their working lives were a luxury,

like a gym membership, that could easily be shelved to meet the

time constraints of child rearing.

For the vast majority of women, nothing could be further

from the truth. Life is expensive these days: For all but the

wealthiest families, a second income is not a luxury; it’s a

necessity. And work, for most women, is not a lifestyle

accessory; it’s part of who they are. The child-rearing years

correspond precisely to the time when many women’s careers are

coming together and these careers represent a lifetime of effort.

For them, giving up work would amount to nothing less than being

stripped of an integral part of their selfhood.

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