It’s hard to quantify just how much a working mother does. But between work outside the home, domestic chores and child care, it’s an indisputably heavy load.
Most working mothers are forced to turn multitasking into an art, and many would likely recognize themselves in the Sept. 9 picture below, taken by John F. Rhodes for the Dallas Morning News. In it, sports photographer Melissa Wardlow juggles a heavy-looking camera lens and a baby bottle. She is strapped front and back with two children, and even her posture tells the story of mothers around the world: half-turned toward one child, while trying to hold her camera steady.
Warlow, who has a photography business in Grand Prairie, Texas, was documenting a high school football match between Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mesquite Poteet. She tells Quartz she’s shot the Mansfield Lake Ridge games for 12 years, ever since her husband became coach. “I am always on the sideline,” she says.
As their two children came along (first Jordan, now three, and baby Addison) she took them with her. Addison was born on the way back from a game that she photographed in Houston, three hours from home, two days overdue.
Warlow says she schedules her other jobs so that her husband can take care of the kids in her absence, but that’s not possible when she’s shooting one of his own games. “We don’t have family where we live,” Warlow told Quartz, so “it’s primarily lack of childcare” that forces her to take her kids with her. “My three-year-old just knows that’s the drill,” she says.
Household responsibilities still typically fall on women, and for many mothers, pursuing a career still means grappling with an unending series of duties. This is especially true wherever childcare services are expensive or hard to find, and for minority women, who tend to be doubly penalized with a greater wage gap, and less flexibility at work.