The Real Reason Working Moms Are Stressed Out and Sleep-Deprived

This article was originally published at the Washington Examiner.

According to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s work commitments have come at the expense of leisure time — hours spent relaxing, exercising, or sleeping. The report also found that in 2018 employed women worked approximately 7 hours and 20 minutes during the typical workday, compared to men who worked around 7 hours 54 minutes, down from just over eight hours the year before.

What’s the takeaway from writers and pundits?

“That could be seen as a win for women’s increased workplace participation,” writes Karen Gilchrist of CNBC. “However, women’s increased work hours were met by ongoing household obligations, which continue to disproportionately outweigh those of their male counterparts.”

And there it is again: Men are slackers.

This relentless narrative lacks serious credibility. In fact, married women with children are simply experiencing the fallout of trying to raise a family while also trying to have a healthy marriage and home life, not to mention a personal life of some sort, complete with time for self-care and relaxation, both of which are critical for mental health.

Women with children who aren’t married are no better off, since they have no partner at all to help ease the load. Since neither scenario is tenable, the only possible recourse is to blame men.

We just don’t get it: The real enemy is time. There is no way anyone can raise children well and bring home a full-time paycheck — plus cook, keep the house clean, pay the bills, mow the lawn, paint the shutters, fix the leaky faucet, do the dishes, go to Target, do the laundry, pick up the dry cleaning, run to Home Depot, shop for clothes, go to the doctor, return emails, do the grocery shopping, go to the gym, and drive their older kids all over God’s creation.

It’s madness.

Moreover, today’s husbands and fathers are doing more on the home front than they ever have before. Actually, they’re technically doing more than wives and mothers (although we shouldn’t be keeping score). Husbands also fully support their wives’ choice to work outside the home, whether they would prefer this arrangement or not. Like abortion, men are given no say in how their children are raised.

The real reason work-family balance is elusive is not the insensitivity of men but the fact that raising children, babies and toddlers in particular, has always been, and will continue to be, a full-time job. No one, male or female, can successfully perform two full-time jobs at the same time.

This has been true since women first attempted the juggling act. In the 1970s, my mother tried to combine a career as a stockbroker with raising my sister and me. Despite having an ideal setup (a nanny-housekeeper and a job two minutes from home) her balancing act lasted just a few years. She thought it was working well when she had one child, but after the second one came along, everything changed. There was simply no time, energy, or ability to do it all.

Balance was still elusive in 1989, more than 20 years later, when Arlie Hochschild interviewed countless working mothers for her book, The Second Shift. One of these mothers, Ann Myerson, told Hochschild she tried all the strategies to create balance: She kept her children up at night to spend “quality time” with them; she farmed out most of her household duties to her children’s nanny; she left her work, physically and mentally, at the office; and she cut back on spending time with friends. But nothing worked.

I don’t like what’s going on at home. My husband is terrific. I’ve had all the help money could buy. I’ve had a fifteen-minute commute, and it still hasn’t worked out.

So, she quit.

Fourteen years later, in 2003, here’s how yet another woman describes her former life as a working mother in After the Baby: Making Sense of Marriage After Childbirth:

I got the baby ready for daycare, dropped her off, and picked her up each day after work. Then I fixed dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, bathed the baby, put her to bed, and with whatever energy I had left, picked up the debris left around the rest of the house. On weekends, I ran errands, picked up groceries, really cleaned the house, did laundry — and, oh yes, spent ‘quality time’ with the baby. I lost all track of family and friends, dropped all volunteer activities, and gained 10 lbs. Bedtime became my opiate. And, of course, I didn’t feel like making love. I was exhausted.

This is the reality of the brave new world we’ve created in which women are encouraged and expected to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and create a strong marriage and healthy kids to boot, despite having zero time to take care of herself or to enjoy life at all.

Yeah, that sounded like a great idea.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

Reader Interactions


  1. “Since neither scenario is tenable, the only possible recourse is to blame men.”
    “Moreover, today’s husbands and fathers are doing more on the home front than they ever have before. Actually, they’re technically doing more than wives and mothers (although we shouldn’t be keeping score). Husbands also fully support their wives’ choice to work outside the home, whether they would prefer this arrangement or not. Like abortion, men are given no say in how their children are raised.”

    The issue more importantly – that this is not a new thing, nor has it gone unnoticed. It is also that while there has been a massive demonization of male sexuality, there has also been a choice to essentially ignore the notion of needing male consent as well. The other thing, along with a lack of choice, and a habit of blaming him, there seems an utter lack of consideration of men as actual parents, and they have been treated as disposable for a very long time – and that has not gone without notice either. It is that even as broader society is awakening to the problems of depriving children of dad, young men are seeing the reality of the fact that the impact on dad has also been rather deliberately ignored, and even as it is finally being noticed, there appears to be little serious concern.

    So- bottom line – why would anyone sign up for this? Why would you put it in your life plan? Why would you believe that she will be different?

    Until society is ready to provide shelters for men also, when they are abused and hold women to account as well, why should men think they should trust? Until men are treated as equal parents, so that she threatens her own access to kids, when she decides to blow shit up – why should men trust? Until she respects his space, and thinks molesting and abusing boys is as important as girls, why should men believe that she is capable of caring – really? Until boys education – and health matters as much as girls, why should men believe? Until she is held to account as he is – why should he care to engage?

    There is a great deal to be done – to rebuild trust – and today- blaming men is a very old and tired habit. It is something whose time has more than passed, and frankly, it has not just stressed trust in much of a generation, it has broken it. It has been for decades both conservative and feminist women – have taken shots at men, as a proxy for other women, and frankly it reveals a remarkable lack of care. It is that in the wake of thalidomide – where the danger of off label use of drugs was made abundantly clear, millions of boys were fed Ritalin, because teachers – nearly exclusively women – convinced parents – nearly exclusively women – that there was something wrong with needing exercise. Note – as Suzanne noted – men were nearly entirely shut out. That is millions of boys brains were damaged, because frankly it seemed to be that few cared to question, or concern themselves- because it was after all – only boys.

  2. This is so sad!! I’m so sorry you’ve had such a hard time with this, as well as your mother! I’m so blessed to have such an active and supportive husband who doesn’t see coparenting as some kind of favor to me, but I’ve heard stories like that in this article here and there! Good luck to you all, I hope it all pans out for you xoxoxo

  3. Teamwork is the solution. But teamwork starts with respect. Women do not respect men any more. Given all the poison in the mass media, this is no surprise. Women also use the comparable of non-working mothers. My first wife’s mother spent 8 hours/day on housework. Her home was beautiful. It looked like heaven, and she was about as much fun to deal with as Satan. She was poisonously resentful of everything. I have no idea why her husband is still alive, with all the poisons he gets from her. He must be way up on the LD50 scale.

    My wife was in the hospital, for some months. I had to find child care before work, and after work. I did all the laundry, the cooking, the buying, and so on. It wasn’t easy, not at all. But I got relief after some months. I was a single parent with custody for 15 years, before that, but I at least had parents to fall back on.

    Speaking as a Veteran, in the military, you take care of your buddies, and they take care of you. Yes, you do your own work first- and then you do what you can to help others. This is a team. Many American women forget the part about doing what you can to help others. They just make demands, complain, and make strange comparisons that make no sense. All you really have to do, to see where a culture is going, is to look at trends, over time. Live births are going down, in the USA. Cities have long had negative birth rates, not sufficient to replace population. I think back to Desmond Morris’ book, The Human Zoo. He makes the point that a lot of dysfunctional human behavior also shows up among animals- in zoos, but not in the wild. Hence, the book title. Americans celebrate dysfunction. Many American women seem not to care much about their children. Or much of anything else.

    Josef Goebels was Hitler’s minister of propaganda. His official liar, in other words. We have a media full of liars, who lie, and lie, and lie. They operate under Hitler’s Big Lie principle, which does work.

    There is an old expression- “too many irons in the fire”. This refers to blacksmiths, where they would work on a piece, while some other pieces were warming up. This had to be carefully balanced, of course- a piece kept too warm lost its temper, and strength. Many parents, male and female, now, have too many irons in the fire. The kids lose out. But nobody cares much about kids any more. Especially boys. I’m talking to more than a few young men who are downright nihilist, of late. The pendulum has swung far in one direction- yet it always swings back.

    The daughter I raised myself, for 15 years, is married, with children, and may I say a fantastic mom. She isn’t working right now, because her children are very young. Once they are in school, she’ll seek work. Her husband works. If there’s anything she learned from her parents, it is that you do whatever you have to, to stay married, and out of divorce. Divorce does not end the relationship. It poisons it.

    I am amazed at the number of women who seek equal rights, opportunities, etc., yet who hasten to say they are not feminists, because they identify feminists as being poisonous.

  4. A book, something like The Substance of what is not seen, [Faith is the substance…] details the life of a young man who managed to overcome being in a de facto ghetto, with only his mother, to get into Brown, and succeed in life. His mother had him when she was young. His father was a player, as black people say. He wasn’t interested in doing anything for his son, or his former girlfriend. It notes that point where the mother realized she had hit the wall, and how she took refuge in religion. The preacher is an alpha male, standing in for the ultimate alpha, you could say.

    Ultimately, what matters is the pictures and feelings in the minds of people. They create their lives from their expectations, and mental models. All the attacks on men, in the press, have the effect of any other covering fire: men take cover, and take fewer risks. Getting involved with a woman is risky, very risky. For some men, it is not worthwhile.

    You can see this to extremes, in populations above about 60 years of age. One sees women very, very much interested in relationships with men. And one sees men not very interested at all, in relationships. Because men know that the only reason to enter a committed relationship with a woman, is to create a stable environment to raise children in. Take away the possibility of stability, and women cease to have value, beyond one-night stands. Women, in their guts, and biology, seek stable relationships for the stability, unless they are so traumatized they strike out blindly. Men seek, well, sex. And love. They marry, expecting to get lots of sex and love, and no bitching. Only they get the reverse. The best way to deal with problems, in a marriage, is to wait, to negotiate, to play for time, because shifting flow shifts everything else. But people want it all RIGHT NOW. Or, as another comedian said, women want one man to satisfy their every need, and want, and desire, and so on, while men want many women to satisfy their one need.
    And both get disappointed. I deal with people who complain, in the USA. I ask if they ate at least 2 meals yesterday, did they have a warm place to sleep, do they have some free time, do they have some regular money coming in. They look at me blankly, and say “yes, so?” I say, “Well, congratulations, you are better off than about half the planet’s population.” Civil servants in African countries live far worse than people living in Public Housing, in the USA. If you look at how rich people lived, just 120 years ago- no real mosquito nets, polluted water, coal or wood for heating, drafty houses, all kinds of fires, no emergency rooms, incompetent doctors, cocaine and morphine in patent medicines, the average poor person now is better off than many of the rich, of 1900.
    I’m not that old. My mother’s job, as a child, was to wash clothing. Using a washboard. Because they had no washing machine. And her father was well off.

    Consider your comparables carefully. We are better off, now, in many ways. I know men who, as soon as they realize a woman is a feminist, fence her off in their minds, and deal with that feminist as little as possible. It’s the only safe way.

    As for all that media that says men are slackers, and insults men- it is dying. It is losing eyeballs on the screen, and eyeballs on the text. The big 3 networks I knew as a kid are dying a death of thousands of cuts. I am not sorry to see them go. They did little good.

  5. There are other reasons working women are exhausted. Especially those without husbands. Here’s some samples.

    1. My wife told me that she could take care if the car. I need not tell her what to do. Last fall she ran our car dry on the oil and seized the engine… Then it was my fault because I moved out. Oh, she forced me out.

    2. My ex ran off with the local police constable, about six months later she called me and wanted to know when she could drop off her car for a brake job. I told her it was her new boyfriends job now. She complained that I had promised to do the brake job in the spring. All promises were deleted when she broke her promises in the marriage vows. I got another call when the timing belt let go on her interference engine. I told her it was going to be expensive but I would not be doing the job. The whole world revolves around a woman (in their mind)
    It never ceases to amaze me how a woman can cheat on you and call you back months later like nothing happened asking for favors. Like seriously? Actually my ex was the violent one. I remember one Saturday night spent in a police interview room, the sole constable on duty was on the phone with her, they were having an affair, he was advising her how to handle the coming interview. The detachment commander was out at an opera with his wife when he was forced to return and to handle this domestic. My ex tore off my shirt and scratched me up pretty good, but the piece de resistance was the bite in the middle of my back. I guess I attacked her with my back. Violence is an admission of defeat, the violent person is so frustrated due to drugs alcohol or stupidity, they have abandoned reason. I never understood violence as I never experienced in my family as a child. I soon learned about it when I got married. She did me the biggest favour when she ran off three months after the wedding. I have lived alone for the past 30 years in peace and tranquility. No more intense human drama. did I mention I have 54 tapes, 45 minutes long each, confirming these two conspired to provoke me to violence, but I never laid a hand on her or anyone else.

    3. truff guy here, there is a simple solution to domestic violence, LEAVE, do not go back. Violent people do NOT change. And to all the blue pill white knights our there, women are more violent than men, men just suffer in silence. Truff guy out!

    2a. I recorded phone calls between her and her boyfriend (police constable) conspiring to provoke me to hit her so I could be arrested for assault against her. The cop lost his job, she lost her job because she was a nurse and in another phone call they conspired to remove prescribed medicine to increase my anxiety level. A third party also lost his job as an accessory to the conspiracy. Stay safe men, go MGTOW. The cops did back off and issued an order that I was not to be harrassed by their constables. I was just glad to escape with my life and sanity. I was divorced shortly afterwards and lived happily alone for the past 30 years. No more intense human drama. Carry a big stick, but go in peace.

    3a. have you considered publishing those tapes of yours? You could probably just upload them right on YouTube with a brief description of what occurred. Or perhaps forward them to someone else to upload. Those tapes could serve as an invaluable lesson for any guys out there foolish enough to be still considering marriage.

    4. You said it, no wife = great life.

    5. Most women think the “E” on the gas gauge means “enough”; they think the dipstick is their current sex partner; sometimes if you tell them “the air in the tires needs to be rotated”, they’ll actually do it; and the “special fluid” in the headlights needs replaced, they’ll take the car to the dealer.

    6. Dude single baby mommas always have cars that are new but internally the have a fucked up engine.

    7. They always have money for hair, nails, booze, cigarettes, fast food but call on you to buy new shoes for their entitled Damian or Lilith at home

    8. Fact: My kids come first = I am calling the shots

    9. A funny first date? Man, where do I start? There’s one where I was at Molly Woo’s (Kind of like a PF Chang’s, this one was on the second-floor mall), sitting at the bar and drinking a Scorpion, waiting for my date to show up. About a half hour goes by and while on my third Scorpion, I’m about to finish the drink and call it, go do something else. She finally walks in with “Sorry I’m late…” but in that tone which would suggest “I’m only saying it to shut you up, not because I’m actually not at fault.” I’m expecting her to go on about traffic or something. No… no no, it was so much better.

    She starts going on about how she was going to be on time, but on the escalator up to the floor, the power went out on it and she was stuck there the whole time. My knee jerk reaction was to think that she either said “Elevator” and I heard her wrong, or it was a slip of the tongue and she’d MEANT “Elevator.” For obvious reasons, I’d think. Also, it would explain why she hadn’t texted me to let me know she’d be late. So I respond “Oh no, that’s terrible. What happened, did the doors just stay closed? Were there other people in there? Was it getting claustrophobic?” She looks at me in utter confusion. “The hell are you talking about?” “In the elevator.” She cuts back with “What elevator?” “The one you were stuck on.”

    “No. No… ES-CA-LAY-TOR.” In a condescending tone which would suggest that I’m somehow the dipshit in this current interaction. Yet, I still gave her benefit of the doubt. “So what, like your purse strap got caught on there or something and you couldn’t leave?” Only for her reply to be “No, the power just went out and I was stuck there… because it wasn’t moving.” “So… the moving stairs…” as I pantomime what they do. “Yeah.” Then I continue, “Stopped moving…” “Yeah.” “And you were stuck on the moving stairs… because they stopped moving…?” “Yes.” I finished my drink, stood up, pushed my chair in, turned to her and said “Well… it’s been real” and walked out.

    10. Weirdest first date- when I told her I was a conservative, she talked about (don’t know why) 2 abortions+ another one she had just last year. Tells me how liberating it felt as she is isn’t just ready (btw she 31) to give her life up and first wants to find some prince charming and financially (btw she a receptionist at a cheap motel) stable with a house. After an hour or so of clearly seeing that nothing is common between us, the bitch still wants to go to MY house! I literally Lol started my car (didn’t offer any kind of assistance) and went to my friends.

    11. It was a blind date, I was 17yo and when I saw her I wished I was. Anyhow when I politely offered her a can of beer she accepted and proceeded to chug the entire thing in one gulp. Escaped through the woods the first chance I got.

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