More than a Mom: The Reality of Today’s Working Mother

Working Mom Stats

You don’t need to be a mother to know that moms are capable of some pretty fantastic and seemingly unbelievable feats. Over the last century, a mother’s role of being designated to the home has evolved to incorporate working women into the world. “Working moms” have also become such a common idea in households across America that it’s almost assumed that if you’re a mother, you’re working as well. Everyone probably knows at least one working mother, but do you know just how many mothers juggle working and raising children simultaneously? According to the Department of Labor, in 2022 there were 21.7 million working mothers in the United States with children under the age of 18.1 That’s like if the entire population of Florida consisted of working moms!2 The increase of working mothers in America made a gradual but significant increase from 1975 and peaked around 2005.3 And while in 1960, only 11% of women were the sole breadwinners of the household, that number rose to 40% in 2012.3 The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor reports that the median weekly earnings for mom in 2022 was $908—which, based in a 52-week year, comes to an annual salary of $47,216. Fathers, on the other hand, earned $1,316 per week, or $68,432 per year.

“The United States ranks last in government-supported time off for new parents,5 with no weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of protected leave.”

Working Mothers with New Babies

The length and stipulations of maternity leave in the United States is a hotly debated topic today. The United States ranks last in government-supported time off for new parents,5 with no weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of protected leave.6 In comparison, Estonia leads the world in leave for new parents, with 108 weeks of paid leave and 180 weeks of protected leave.3

“Sons of working mothers spent more time helping with family and household chores than sons who had stay-at-home mothers. Another interesting finding is that men who grew up with working moms were more likely to seek and encourage a spouse who works as well.”

More Than a Mom : Working Mother

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While there are some mothers who return to work because they wish to, this lack of government-supported family leave causes many mothers to return to work with a new baby at home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,7 the majority of mothers who had a baby were back at work that year. In addition, women who are more educated were more likely to return to work. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher (based on median earnings for full-time wage and salary workers not broken down by gender) typically earn more per week than those with just a high school diploma,8 it seems as though working mothers new and old may want to consider enhancing their college education.

“The Department of Labor states that the occupation in which the highest number of  moms employed is registered nurses.9” 

You’ll generally find working mothers in nearly every industry you can think of, but there are definitely some occupations that tend to show a higher concentration of working mothers. The Department of Labor9 states that the top ten occupations employing working moms in 2021 were:

  1. Registered nurses  
  2. Elementary and middle school teachers         
  3. Other managers
  4. Secretaries and administrative assistants, excluding legal, medical, and executive
  5. Customer service representatives
  6. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  7. Nursing assistants
  8. Maids and housekeeping cleaners
  9. Teaching assistants
  10. Cashiers

In half of these occupations, moms are overrepresents—that is, there are more moms employed than non-moms.

“Some jobs are particularly suited for remote work. Examples include customer service representative and graphic designer.”

Working Mothers Don’t Necessarily Have to Leave the House

The shift towards remote work, particularly working from home, has become a prominent aspect of the modern workforce. This trend has been accelerated by improvements in technology, changes in work culture, and, notably, global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many organizations to adapt quickly. Mothers who work at home face a unique challenge: balancing professional responsibilities with the constant presence of their children. However, managing to get work done while kids are around is a skill that many mothers have honed through a combination of creativity, patience, and effective time management.

Some jobs are particularly suited for remote work. Here are some examples.

1 Website Developer

Web developers design, create, and maintain websites.


2023 median annual salary

2 Marketing Specialist

These professionals investigate the conditions in local, regional, national, or online markets to assess the potential sales of a product or service or to strategize a marketing or advertising campaign. Learn how to become a Market Research Analyst here!


2023 median annual salary

3 Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work with both images and text to develop the production design for applications such as logos, advertisements, brochures, books, and magazines.


2023 median annual salary

4 Data Entry Specialist

These specialists are responsible for inputting and managing data in computer systems or databases using specialized software or other tools.


2023 median annual salary

5 Customer Service Representative

CS representatives work with customers to answer questions, resolve problems, handle complaints, and process orders.


2023 median annual salary

The Future Trend of Working and Stay-at-Home Moms

There will probably never be an answer to debate on whether being a stay-at-home mother or a working mom is better for children, but perhaps there doesn’t need to be one. Some women choose to participate in the workforce and some work out of necessity. An interesting finding by the Pew Research Center is that after 10 years of an increase in working mothers, there seems to be a switch over to an increase in stay-at-home mothers.3 The researchers note that this may be due to the fact that would-be stay-at-home moms entered the workforce during the economic uncertainty that preceded and followed the Great Recession of 2007.

No matter how much the numbers of working mothers rise and fall, there will typically be millions of working women who need to, but also want to, develop their careers while also raising children. The traditional nuclear family—stay-at-home mother, bread-winning father, and two children—has generally become a relic of the past, and the idea of a “traditional” family seems to be becoming more and more indefinable as the twenty-first century marches on.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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