South Carolina-based mother of three unpacks 'mom guilt,' reveals why it occurs
Working moms should not feel that they have to "carry it all," said author Paula Faris this week.
A former broadcast journalist who now lives and works from her home in South Carolina as she raises three children, Faris appeared on "Fox & Friends" on Thursday, March 9, to discuss her new book, "You Don't Have to Carry It All: Ditch the Mom Guilt and Find a Better Way."
She said "mom guilt" about working is a uniquely American concept.
"I think we've been conditioned in this country to believe that we have to do it all, we have to carry it all," she said. "And that's why we're seeing record numbers of burnout among mothers and working mothers in America."
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She continued, "It's harder to be a mother, it's harder to be a working mom in America than anywhere else" — adding that this is because of the expectations American society puts on mothers.
Faris interviewed many types of experts for her parenting book, she said, to help "give working moms the support they need and deserve."
She added, "A lot of people are skeptical" about the issue, noting they may feel, "Why is it my problem?"
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Working mothers put a lot of pressure on themselves, she said, noting that she herself had to "pump the breaks" on her broadcasting career in 2018.
"I just never felt like I was nailing it," she said.
Her "mom guilt" manifested itself as "constant tension" — she felt that she should be "momming" instead of working, she said.
In writing the book, Faris aimed to "unpack why we feel this guilt."
"Globally, moms don't really have a sense of mom guilt," she said.
Mothers from other cultures "take a great amount of pride in working, because they have to," she also said.
The thought of being a stay-at-home mom in other countries is "a privilege," explained Faris, which took her by surprise.
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"I had a lot of blind spots when I wrote this book," she added.
The dads have to be involved too, she said. "This can't just be a bunch of moms saying, ‘We are marginalized,’ which is true — that's what set me on this mission," said Faris.
Women, she claimed, are "paid less, valued less and scrutinized more" when they become mothers — which she termed "ludicrous."
Mothers, said Faris, should be celebrated, as they keep both the human race and the economy going.
Men need to be involved in the issue, too, she noted, saying, "we cannot solve this problem without you."
She continued, "It was really important for me to write a chapter to invite men into the conversation, to address some of the toxic messages that you've been hearing," she said.
"I wanted to address that. And I think that men can change the game for gender equality by doing one thing."
That one thing, she suggested, is to take paternity leave upon having a child.
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In addition to helping to strengthen the bond a father has with his child and partner, "it creates a dynamic that levels the playing field."
By this leveled playing field, mothers perhaps will experience less burnout.
"You're in it together — raising your children together," she said.