Caitlyn Collins, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, conducted interviews with mothers in four countries — the United States, Italy, Germany, and Sweden — who have jobs outside the home to better understand the pressures they felt. She found that American moms were by far the most stressed, primarily because of the lack of parental benefits offered by their employers and the government. In Europe, women told Collins they had more help, but at times cultural norms around their personal and professional roles had yet to catch up. Collins thinks companies can work to improve the situation but argues that the real solution is carefully designed government interventions that will help families at all income levels. She’s the author of the book Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.

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