Wonder women: Working moms balance home lives and careers

The life of a working mother is often a battle to fulfill the role of a mom while balancing the challenges of a professional career. 

Mothers in Texas aren’t receiving a break either. Texas ranks as one of the worst states for working mothers, according to a new study by personal finance company Wallethub. The study ranked Texas 43rd overall.

“Texas moms do seem to be struggling with maintaining a work/life balance and one of the reasons for that is the fact that they work longer hours,” said Jill Gonzalez, a Wallethub analyst. “A woman’s workweek in Texas is about 37 hours, the third longest in the country.”

Gonzalez said the gender pay gap is evident in Texas; women typically earn 82% less than their male counterparts.   

Subsequently, this ranks Texas 49th in work-life balance in the nation. 

But it isn’t just long work hours that contributed to the study’s findings. Texas ranks 32nd and 35th in access to childcare and professional opportunities, respectively. 

Some Hays County moms, however, feel indifferent about the statistics. Local businesswoman Krista Pepa said she has owned three businesses and was able to excel quickly in retail management. 

“I never felt like a man was promoted or picked over me in the workforce,” she said. “I feel indifferent regarding the statistics. I have worked hard for what I have and believe that many men do the same.”

Regardless, Pepa said being a working mother can be difficult at times, but works through the adversary by prioritizing responsibilities. 

Moms in business – a balancing act
Statistics have shown balancing a career with being a mom hinders a woman’s ability to move through the hierarchical business structure.  

Upward mobility for women is far less than men, according to the WalletHub study. Only 4.8% of S&P 500 companies’ chief executives are women. 

Additionally, Texas ranks 47th in the lowest female to male executive ratio. Gonzalez said there is a large gender representation gap in different economic sectors such as manufacturing, technical services and public administration. 

“It would seem that women are not given too many professional opportunities, especially considering that the female unemployment rate is 4.4%, which is among the highest,” Gonzalez said. 

For Hays County resident Erica Perez, working while being a single mother comes with a plethora of challenges that stem around being the primary caregiver for her child.

Perez and her 9-year-old son live in San Marcos, where Perez works and her son attends school. If the school calls about her son, Perez is only one to take that call, which means taking off time from work. 

“When you’re in an office, you’re expected to work as if you don’t have a child, and when you’re home, you need to function as if you don’t work,” Perez. “Yes, there is a lot of pressure.” 

This pressure was also a sentiment shared by other mothers who contacted the Hays Free Press for the article. Some cite that mothers never truly get the recognition they deserve. 

“If you’re struggling, you don’t want it to affect your child,” Perez said. “But you also need to be there for them with school, sports, homework or anything else they need.” 

To cope with the hardships of being a single parent, Perez urges others in her shoes to ask for help, even if it may seem embarrassing. 

“You can’t do it all by yourself,” Perez said. “It’s easy to want to be Wonder Woman, but let people in. Accept help because it doesn’t make you any less. If anything, it makes you better.”

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