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After the one-child policy was revised, China has seen a growing trend of professional women turning into stay at home mothers in order to avoid staggering kindergarten costs.
Though the choice is made for financial reasons, researchers warn great care should be taken to ensure the family’s and, ultimately, society’s stability.
Recent nationwide research in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, and Guangzhou has revealed that full time, stay at home mothers are under significantly more stress than their family members.
The research concluded husbands and often in-laws continue to perpetrate ancient ideals of slave-labor despite Mao’s liberation of women for the workforce.
Mothers in the country are not surprised, as they have silently fumed about the unfairness of the family structure for years.
But in the interest of the society as a whole, party officials are contemplating introducing legislation of mandated time off for mothers who are overworked and never compensated by their families. Officials are viewing children, who are the first to suffer from suffering mothers, as an investment for the future and keys to the nation’s progress.
Talks include requiring husbands and in-laws to payout wages for overtime if these members of the family are not actively contributing to the care of the family’s children.
Other legislation proposed includes having a mandated rotation schedule for mothers and fathers, where stay at home fathers would be required to relieve their wives into the workforce once the child is weened.
Though nai bas have become more popular in the past couple of years, there are serious doubts about the ability of some of these husbands, and a nationwide fathers school has been proposed to equip men to shoulder the task this legislation would impose.
Unfortunately for foreign mothers on work or dependent visas, this mandated leave and rotation schedule would only be available to citizens.
Until this legislation passes, mothers will have to settle for their own self-care routines, such as hiring an ayi, locking the bathroom door, and not coming out for hours.
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Vanessa Jencks founded China Moms Blog to connect internationally-minded parents through semi-humorous stories and poorly-written satire news. She is the former managing editor of beijingkids magazine; see her previous work here. She writes about relationships and faith at vanessajencks.com.