Photo of a mother sitting on the floor holding an infant.
Photo by Jessica Pankratz, Flickr CC

Working moms need more than just flowers and spa days this Mother’s Day. They need policy changes and other support in order to manage their stressful daily lives. As highlighted in a CNBC article, sociologist Caitlyn Collins’ new book Making Motherhood Work demonstrates that Germany and Sweden can serve as useful models for how to support mothers in the United States.

Collins points out that many American mothers juggle primary caregiver roles and demanding work schedules. She interviewed 135 middle-class working mothers in some of the most wealthy nations in the world — the United States, Sweden, Italy, and Germany — and she found that the United States is an outlier in its lack of societal support for working mothers.

Policies alone cannot solve all of American moms’ woes, but Collins argues that Germany and other countries can serve as useful models. For example, a policy in Berlin allows mothers to take an entire year of parental leave and either work part-time or telecommute after that. Collins states that if similar policies are set in place to support working mothers in the United States, a weight would be lifted off their shoulders.

Collins’ research highlights how American society needs a deeper appreciation in supporting mothers in their daily lives and work. However, it still doesn’t hurt to get mom a little something extra this year!