Although my home state of Maine was ranked the 11th best state for working mothers, that doesn't mean working moms in the Northeast have it easy. As a psychotherapist, I've spent over a decade talking to working moms about the challenges they face.
Many of them are struggling with issues ranging from guilt about not being at home to burnout stemming from their hectic schedules. Quite often, there just weren't enough hours in the day and they felt like they were being pulled in all directions.
The idea that they were supposed to reach some sort of "work-life balance" seemed like a dream that was always out of reach. Many of them were depressed, anxious, and downright exhausted.
Financial problems--especially for single mothers--were often a serious issue. Some of them barely earned enough to cover the cost of daycare.
The decision about whether to be a stay-at-home mom or join the workforce can be a major challenge for parents. For some, the need to obtain full-time employment stems from economic necessity. For others, it's a matter of choice.
Either way, there are lots of challenges mothers in the workforce may experience. Lack of paid maternity leave, high daycare costs, or fewer opportunities for advancement may be among the top issues working moms face. (Of course, that's not to say working dads are immune to such challenges).
WalletHub analyzed 13 key metrics surrounding child care, professional opportunities, and work-life balance across the United States. They added each state's overall score (including the District of Columbia) to determine where working moms fare best--and worst.
10 Best States for Working Mothers
4. North Dakota
10. New Jersey
10 Worst States for Working Mothers
42. New Mexico
49. South Carolina
Best Vs. the Worst States
The study found each state had specific strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few highlights that show the stark contrast between the best states and the worst states:
- After adjusting for cost of living, Virginia has the highest median salary for women at $45,452. Hawaii had the lowest with a median salary of $22,792.
- The District of Columbia has the highest ratio of female to male executives. Just over 65 percent of executives are female, which is nearly three times higher than in Utah, where only 26 percent of executive positions are held by women.
- Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs with just 12 percent of a woman's median salary being used to cover the cost. Florida had the most expensive childcare costs, where women are paying about 27 percent of their salaries.
- In Maryland, single mothers represent only 26 percent of homes. That was two times lower than in Mississippi, where over 51% of homes are made up of single mothers with children under the age of 18.
Clearly, there isn't a magical place to live that will give you everything you need to 'have it all.' But, some states certainly make it a little easier than others.