Maxed out moms are on the brink – The fault of the system or moms?

Today I had a great conversation with Katrina Alcorn, author of the new bestseller Maxed Out: Working Moms on the Brink:

Alcorn, a married mom of three, found herself physically and emotionally incapacitated by trying to do it all: be a mom, wife and fulltime professional. Maxed Out tells her story to recovery through her research which supports what you already know: Corporations and the U.S. government do little to support families, and moms bear the brunt of this.

It’s important work, this book, and it is no wonder Alcorn is getting scads of much-deserved press. But I worry that it is dangerous to pacify the working mom’s stress by blaming policy. Voting and fighting with your employer to adopt flexible work schedules is important — but that is not going to change your life today. Instead, I think we (and when I say ‘we’ – I’m speaking to my professional mom peers) stand to get a grip on our mental health by adjusting our expectations: How much time we really need to spend with our kids to be considered adequate parents? How many meals do we need to cook from scratch? Do you REALLY need to do all that laundry yourself (ANSWER: HELL NO!)? And what are your true career objectives? How much money do you need to be happy? Can you take the initiative to create the career and family life that you want — and take corporate culture out of the equation entirely (ANSWER: HELL YESSSSSSS!!)?

Check out Maxed Out: Working Moms on the Brink here on Amazon.


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One thought on “Maxed out moms are on the brink – The fault of the system or moms?

  1. And the most important question: how can we get the fathers to participate and help carry some of the load? I think men are starting to step up to the plate. But in many cases, they don’t until they are confronted with a divorce and limited access to their kids. What can we do to get ahead of that?

    The other problem that may be particular to just me: how do we let go the expectation set for us by our mothers (or set by us in witnessing our mothers)? My mom “did it all,” working full-time, heading the household financially, spelling out chores, (eh-hum) laundry, and not to mention her role as President of the PTA for each school that my brother and I attended. Some of us maybe witnessed “Super Mom” at work. I tell myself that she did it during a time when there was a off-switch: no internet (as we know it today), no cell phones (that weren’t the size of platform heels), and little expectation to work after 5pm. Still, I’m astounded at what she did and it pushes me to do more (like, attending every PTA meeting for the rest of my tired life).

What do you think? Please comment!

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