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Iowa Tough Place for Working Moms

MARION, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- There's some good news for the City of Five Seasons.
According to, Cedar Rapids is ranked as one of the best places to raise a family. It's a distinction the city says it's wearing with pride.

"We got great school systems, we got great amenities for kids and families to we'll just keep on doing what we're doing," says city spokeswoman Maria Johnson.

Some other numbers show the news isn't as great for the state. Iowa is ranked 40th out of 50 states for working moms, according to It examines factors like childcare, average salary, and public schools.

We set out Monday to see what moms in the corridor think of the news. We caught up with Jennie, Maria and Amber as they were picking up their children from Apple Kids daycare in Marion. They were kind enough to take some time from the hustle and bustle of motherhood to speak to us.

All three of them have fairly demanding jobs. Jennie works at Infinity Contact in Cedar Rapids. Maria works at Transamerica, doing licensing and contracting. Amber works for the City of Marion.

All three strive of them women say they strive to find that balance between hugs and hard work.

"I don't find there are a lot of obstacles, because I have a pretty good work schedule where I'm able to be with my kids," Jennie says.

"I would say I probably spend more time traveling and picking up children than I get quality time nowadays," added Maria.

"Being a working mom is a lot of work, but the rewards are great too," Amber says.

While the study shows Iowa comes in 10th out of 50 states in the work life balance rank, professional opportunities and child care rank near the bottom.

"It surprises me," Jennie says. "I think there are a lot of family friendly environments here, lot of good daycares."

It's a surprise to Jennie, but not to Maria.

"I have a lot of friends going through the same thing," she says. "A lot of them find that it's better to stay home."

So how does Iowa improve that ranking? Being a working mother means flexibility, so Maria says she wants employers to be just as pliable.

"It's very hard working for the big companies here because they want you to put in so many hours," she says. "I would love a more flexible schedule...I would love more companies who are willing to, if my kids are sick, have the set up to be able to work at home."

While Iowa ranked 10th in the work-life balance category in this survey, a survey done by the Iowa Women's Leadership Conference in 2013 shows 35% of women say family responsibilities are the greatest barrier to career advancement.
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