"5. If women learn to cope better with stress, they’ll be able to resolve work-family conflict. Since the 1970s, when middle-class women began entering the workforce in large numbers (low-income women, of course, have always worked outside the home), they’ve been deluged with advice about how to manage the stress of combining paid work with family responsibilities. Too much of the work-life balance debate is focused on women’s illusory choices: If we can work part-time, have flexible schedules or work from home, we’ll be okay. And if Mommy’s okay, everybody else will be okay, too.
But there’s something wrong here. Work and family aren’t having a conflict; it’s work and workplace policies, work and limited child-care options that are at odds. The conflict is between family and work as king and fit only for kings — that is, work designed for men with wives at home. And it’s related to the fact that parental caregiving is an unpaid and undervalued activity.
If we stop treating stress — and women’s stress in particular — as the problem to be solved and instead work for the kinds of social and political changes that will benefit women, men and children, maybe then we can find a real solution for women’s ‘stress.’”