She wakes up before everyone else in the family to sort out the household work. She ensures her kids are fed and ready to leave for school. And then, she gets ready for her workplace, to officially start her day as a part of the formalised labour force. While at work, she juggles just as much work as her peers are assignedbut unlike the others, her workday doesnt end with her colleagues. This is because she goes home to resume her workload as a mother, and perhaps as a homemaker and spouse, as well as a primary caregiver for the entire family.We call this woman a working mother. But should we?The simplest answer to this question is a big, whopping NO. The term working mother does very little justice to the woman described above. Moreover, it does no justice to other mothers who might not be a part of the formalised labour force. Heres every reason why.How The Term Working Mother Came UpThe term working mother hasnt been around like some ancient relic, preserved for its great value in a museum. Before the 1950s, the term simply did not exist. During the Second World War and soon after it, the world went through an immense economic transition, which allowed the entry of women who are mothers and not fulltime homemakers into the formalised labour force. These women, especially in Western countries, were inevitably white and middle-class, and had taken up jobs to meet the growing demands of inflation and the impact it has on families.In India, the term only came into vogue in the 1970s and 1980s, when mothers stepped out of their roles as homemakers to enter the formalised labour forcemostly in teaching and banking sectors. As the roles and opportunities expanded, these women continued to balance their homes and workplacesor at least tried their best toand are now given the titles of working moms, even super moms because of the sheer amount of work they accomplish.How This Term Gives Society An Easy Way OutGiving labour force momsbecause, lets admit it, thats the right way to address themthe epithet of working moms or super moms may seem like an act of genuine appreciation, but its really not. The term and the work these women do, after all, hides underneath it the disproportionate amount of work women, mothers or not, do in our everyday lives. The United Nations and UN Women have time and again brought spotlight to the fact that women do most of the unpaid domestic work and care work around the world. From caring for the elderly to the men, down to the children of the household, women do it allwhether she works in an office or not simply doesnt come into play here, even in this day and age. On the other hand, her male partner or counterparts arent expected to maintain the balancing act between a paid job and unpaid domestic care work.Giving her the presumably appreciative tag of working moms somehow gives this disproportionately high amount of work she pulls off, often to the detriment of her own physical and mental health needs, the appearance of a good thing. In fact, if a woman does it all, its supposed to be a great thing, despite the fact that its simply not fair. Work, all work, should be equally distributed among all functional members of a family, right? If a woman is a part of the labour force and earning plenty to manage the economic aspect of the home front, then maybe the other members can share responsibilities, right? Current studies show this is perhaps a tall order.According to a recent study published in the peer-review journal Work, Employment Society, mothers who outearn their husbands also earn more household workproving that instead of sharing the workload, these working moms are getting even more work on their plates for being accomplished in their careers! Clearly, the epithet of working moms is misleading and lets society get away with treating womens labour like its a free-for-all.A Stay-At-Home Mother Is A Worker TooOn the other hand, a woman who isnt defined as a working mom is naturally assumed to be not a worker at all because she doesnt get the big bucks home. What an immense disservice this is, especially since there isnt a single person out there who can say that a stay-at-home mom or homemaker isnt just as hardworking as a so-called working mother! In fact, a 2018 study by the US juice company, Welchs, shows that being a fulltime mom is the equivalent of holding 2.5 fulltime jobs! The study measured working hours, and found that while anybody with a fulltime job works eight to 10 hours a day, fulltime mothers work at least 14 hours a day.Now lets be fair here and add the other factors: a stay-at-home mother also works on weekends and holidays, and doesnt get paid a single rupee for all this labour. Lets not forget that her domestic labour is part of the informal economy. Like the woman farmer whose labour isnt recognised, hers isnt either. In India, there is now at least an E-Shram portal which is working to bring female workers in the informal sector into the formalised system, but as yet, there is no accounting the work a stay-at-home mother doesnor any monetary value attached to her labour. To know more about this, read our story on homemakers and their unpaid work.Lets Talk About Setting An Impossible StandardClose your eyes and think about the popular image of a working mom. Neither is her home dirty nor do her kids have a hair out of place. Her bosses and colleagues at the workplace after always content with her performance because shes naturally great at multi-tasking and managing it all. Everything on the home front and the work front is well-maintained, and every person is happy. This idealised picture of a working mother and her surroundings might seem amazing in our minds, but it does put an immense amount of pressure on women to comply.The simple fact is, maintaining one workplace is hard work. Juggling two is much harder and manicnot the hunky-dory picture were told to imagine. Not everyone is great at multi-tasking and even those who are good at it can have their bad days, because multi-tasking can be very draining indeed. Idealising the picture of the perfect working mom or super mom who does it all sets an impossible standard, a bar that every woman can feel guilty upon not meeting. For the stay-at-home moms, this idealised picture also does a lot of disservice because it permits many to say things like, Its good you only have to manage your home. You dont have to handle the pressures of being a working mom. Remember, we are not in their shoes, and these pressures do vary from one person to the other.Where Are The Working Dads?But if these reasons havent convinced you to strike out the term working momsas well as the term stay-at-home momfrom your vocabulary permanently, heres a more pertinent question for you. Why isnt there a term equivalent to working moms for men? Fathers are parents too. In this day and age, when companies and nations around the world are working to introduce paternity leaves so that men in the labour force can share the workload of raising a child, we need to accept the fact that work in the domestic sphere is not and cannot be limited to only women. Its not just a question of womens rights, but that of men too. It is, to put it simply and bluntly, a question of equal rights.Over the last two years, while living during COVID-19 times, women across the world have come to realise that pandemic or not, household work falls disproportionately on them. Catering to the needs of kids and elders at home, whether youre a labour force mom or a fulltime mom, has taught all of us that terms like working moms and stay-at-home moms do nothing but divide us when we should be united in asking for, rather claiming, identities that do justice to us and the labour we put in.