The US Labor Department came out with its annual American Time Use Survey. Women are working longer hours on the job, spending more time caring for the children, AND are doing more work around the house than ever before.
Emily’s alarm is set for 4:35 AM. That gives her enough time to pack four lunches and start a load of clothes so they can be put in the dryer before she heads out. Folding clothes will wait. She sets the crock pot out and puts in all the ingredients she prepared last night before bed—which came after three hours of monitoring the kid’s homework, doing dishes, and getting them ready for bed.
By 5:30 AM, the baby is up, fed, clothed, and readied for day care. By 6:30, her other kids wander out, one by one, sleepy-eyed and in various states of readiness for the pending school day. Breakfast is fixed, and she cajoles her slowest eaters to hurry.
She gulps down her now cold coffee, then rushes to make sure everyone has their backpacks, lunches, and knows where they are heading after school. Hustling out the door she narrowly catches her own bus while making sure her kids are on theirs. She gets off near the babysitter’s, drops off her youngest, then jogs to another bus stop so she can barely get to work on time. It’s the same thing. Every. Day.
Sadly, according to sociologist, Caitlyn Collins, women are dealing with increasing demands at work—and are expected to have full allegiance to their job. Work performance matters, so they do it all.
What do women give up? They have less time to relax, exercise, and sleep. Even though Emily didn’t see the Labor Department report, it wouldn’t surprise her. Every minute matters. She’s using her bus commute to make a grocery list, menu plan, and a to-do list, that never ends.
Since Mary Poppins won’t be the antidote to the discouraging American Time Use Survey, then it’s up to us. What an incredible ministry opportunity at our chuches. If you’re friends with an overworked mom, offer to babysit sometime. If you see an over-worked mom pushing a stroller with a few other kids in tow, feel free to give her a smile, and an encouraging thank you. She’s building tomorrow’s America, one sleep-deprived day at a time.