"A major problem is that home often becomes as demanding as work.
'I feel like I have two jobs,' said Nam Yun-ju, aged 38. 'There are so many small and detailed things that a mom needs to take care of, even while she’s working, and it takes up so much energy and time. From changing the filters at home, or paying the insurance, I’m the one that has to communicate with the outside world. Even when the daycare tutor uploads a picture of my child online, I’m always the one writing comments.'
According to Lee Ye-jin, 38, the social standards of an ideal mother are too high for women to bear, leading them to feel guilty if they don’t meet expectations. 'There’s too much pressure on being a super-mom, probably because of portrayals of mothers in the media where mothers do work and childcare without any trouble. At the same time, everyone’s telling me that a child needs a mother’s care. Even when I get to do something away from the child, I’m stuck with a sense of guilt,' said Lee.
'I have no idea why elementary schools call in the students’ mothers to volunteer at the school cafeteria or at the crosswalk in front of the school,' said Ms. Jeong, aged 37. 'The [mothers] have regular gatherings at the kids’ cafe, and it’s awkward for me not to go. But the funny thing is, there are no fathers at those meetings.'"When a major holiday comes up in South Korea I rarely ask my adult female students what their plans are, because nine times out of ten they'll mention the drudgery of having to prepare for, cook meals, and clean constantly for at least three days in a row.