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A college senior reflects on how mothers are penalized in the workplace—and the impact it had on her childhood.


My mother has been working since I can remember. I grew up in a suburban town in the South and lived there until I was 18, when I moved to New York City for college. The majority of my friends’ mothers were PTA moms, who spent their days working on elementary school fundraisers, going to barre classes, and gossiping. This meant I didn’t have many other people to compare my mom with, because she was one of the few working mothers I knew. Although more than 70% of moms with kids under the age of 18 are part of the workforce, in a middle-class white suburb in South Carolina, stay-at-home moms are the norm.

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