Did you see the New York Times article describing the stressed, rushed, and tired state of two-parent working families? The piece was based on a recent Pew Research survey which examined the attitudes of working fathers and mothers.

As I looked through the survey, I couldn’t help but feel badly for working mothers. A majority of them admitted that striking a work/family balance is extremely difficult, particularly since they always feel rushed. As a result, many mothers don’t find parenting truly enjoyable.

Society has made many mothers feel that they have to join the workforce in order have a nice home, the latest cars, impressive vacations, and regular restaurant meals and movie nights.

But what many of us often forget is that having both parents join the workforce often adds unforeseen expenses. Just a few months ago, The Washington Post reported that many parents were returning home because childcare costs have skyrocketed. Indeed, the average cost of daycare for a young child is almost $12,000 per year. Add another child or two, and that price can quickly multiply.

On top of childcare costs, two-income families fail to realize what it actually costs to go to the office every day. According to Reuters, commuting costs can average around $5,000 a year, and that’s without mentioning the money that needs to be dished out for clothes, lunches, and other surprise expenses that arise from being a part of the office.

Granted, when one subtracts these costs there may still be a little income left over from the second working parent’s salary. But when we consider this recent poll about how stressed working mothers are, does this little bit of extra income seem worth it? Perhaps we need to reconsider the mass societal encouragement of the two-parent income.

Image Credit: Ed Yourdon