Invisibility and Commodification

There is no job more important than that of being a mother. Many women strongly desire to have children but are faced with many challenges as a result of raising those children. The image of the mother holding her baby but looking very tired and depressed is not an uncommon feeling for new mothers. The overwhelming responsibility of caring for an infant causes many mothers to lose sleep as well as lose a part of their former selves. One issue that challenges many mothers is whether to return to the paid work force or to remain home caring for the children for no pay.

Returning to work and staying home each have their own rewards and difficulties. The types of jobs that are available to mothers often have undesirable hours and low wages. The challenges that working mothers, particularly single mothers is explored. Job competition and job security among educated working mothers is also analyzed. Finally, the issue of outsourcing “mommy jobs” is discussed. Mothers love their children more than anything else in the world and want nothing more than to take care of and raise those children.

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The image of the mother holding her child but looking tired and depressed is a striking image that can be directly related to the challenges that mothers face when taking care of their families, particularly if they must work in order to do so. The tired and depressed look on the mother’s face could be for any number of reasons. This is why the image is so startling. There are so many issues that mothers face when trying to raise their children that can cause them to lack sleep and feel depressed.

The struggle to find a job that can be done when child care is available as well as the competitive nature of securing a job can all cause heartache when it comes to caring for children. Relying on outside people to help raise children causes many mothers to feel depressed. There is no job more important than being a mother but the current trends in the marketplace monetize and impersonalize family and child rearing tasks (Hochschild, 2003) so much that mothers are not valued as they once were. These shifting attitudes are likely to cause mothers to become tired and depressed as well.

When a mother must leave her child or children to go to work it leaves a pain in her heart. Many working mothers would like to remain in the home caring for and raising their children themselves. However, in current society this is not always possible. The reality of current families is that two incomes are often needed simply to keep the family afloat. When a mother must work she is presented with many more challenges than where to work and how much salary to request. The bulk of child care duties fall to mothers including securing adequate child care (Armstrong, 2005).

Therefore, many mothers are forced to take jobs that are part-time or short-term as well as accept varied hours that accommodate the times when child care is available (Armstrong, 2005). Further, many of the types of jobs that mothers are able to take offer low wages and poor benefits (Armstrong, 2005). It is no wonder that many times a mother holds her children and looks tired and depressed. She wishes she could provide for her children without spending so much time away from them. Similarly, single mothers face extraordinary challenges when it comes to working.

The reality of single motherhood is that working is not an option. However, the types of jobs that single mothers are able to do are often low paying with varied hours. Single mothers with young children must find decent child care but they must also make enough money to pay for that child care as well as meet all other obligations. In “Serving in Florida,” by Barbara Ehrenreich, the stories of several waitresses are presented. In this article, Ehrenreich conducts a low-wage experiment to see the lives that poor people live. Joan is one of the waitresses she works with at Hearthside Restaurant.

Joan is a single mother raising three children in a mobile home. She relies on her $2. 15 per hour plus tips to take care of her children (Ehrenreich, 2001). Ehrenreich quickly realizes that it is impossible to pay her rent on her tips from the Hearthside Restaurant and decides to get another job (Ehrenreich, 2001). This is the day to day reality of many single mothers. If the author had a hard time paying her rent it is near impossible for single mothers, such as Joan, to keep with the daily expenses related to child care and household bills.


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