Family Health

Mom's Post About Society's Expectations in Balancing Work and Motherhood Goes Viral

A Massachusetts-based mother of three’s Facebook post has gone viral after she shared a message about the unrealistic societal expectations she feels are placed on working moms.

In her 1,000-plus-word post on April 18, Sarah Buckley Friedberg listed multiple tasks working mothers are often responsible for, such as to “go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby,” making sure to “break the glass ceiling” and breastfeeding for “at least a year” — all while getting “back in shape.”

Buckley Friedberg’s post goes on to describe many everyday occurrences that moms typically are expected to handle in caring for a family and themselves simultaneously, like maintaining schedules and appointments, volunteering at their kids’ schools, finding “me time,” keeping up with a social life and having date nights with their spouses, ensuring their children practice good manners and preparing healthy meals.

After all that, she says, the message also includes, “Get off your phone, turn off the TV, and enjoy your life. Enjoy your kids. THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lean OUT,” Buckley Friedberg writes in conclusion, joking, “Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.”

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Since it went up on Buckley Friedberg’s Facebook account a little more than a week ago, the post has been shared more than 27,000 times and has about the same number of reactions, along with over 6,000 comments.

Speaking with Good Morning America about the unexpected response she received, Buckley Friedberg — who has a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, as well as a full-time job as a microbiology manager for a major medical-device company — said it made her feel like she hit home for many women.

“It was last Thursday and it was one of those days where everything seemed tough,” she said, according to GMA. “I got the kids to bed and was tired, frustrated, pumping and had a verbal dump of everything. I said, ‘This is what’s going on in my head.’ “

She also addressed the double standard she feels society places on women in the sense that moms are just expected to complete all these tasks with a smile on their face while men, doing the same things, are lauded.

“If my husband takes one kid to the grocery store, he gets a parade. I take three kids to the grocery store and don’t get [the same treatment],” she told GMA with a laugh.

“It’s just the way society is. He puts the kids to bed, cooks, cleans — it’s sort of the extra stuff that doesn’t fall to him,” Buckley Friedberg added of her husband, a pediatrician.

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The comments she received on the post were overwhelmingly positive and supportive — but like anything that blows up on social media, the critics came out to leave their remarks too.

“There’s the ‘Well, don’t have kids then’ comments, which is not helpful. It’s a little late,” Buckley Friedberg explained to GMA. “Then there’s the baby-boomer generation saying, ‘Just stay home.’ “

“I think what they’re missing is the increased cost of housing, the cost of schooling — most families cannot survive on one income,” she continued. “That’s great if you can make it work, [but] I enjoy working. I enjoy having my career. It’s just everything else we are expected to keep in the air.”

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