.. er and my children, how much time I can give. It is a catch 22. I want to put my all into my work and receive self-fulfillment that way, but I don’t want to sacrifice any time with my children. They are too important to me. At this point, I am taking my job one day at a time and weighing and measuring the opportunities that come along. CAREER CHOICES I believe a woman has three security valves, a man, a child, a job; in my code it stands in that order, yet in real life the order is reversed. Also, I believe that only a man with whom I would like to make a couple should be able to calm my anguishes, my distresses; but in real life it’s my work that does that.
I hate to admit all these contradictions in myself. Re-entry to the Workforce The way in which the contemporary married woman with a family integrates a work career into her life is usually by accommodating to the “social facts” of life and choosing the least stressful options open to her. Though highly qualified women may be assumed to have a range of ability and creative potential comparable to men and, like men, seek to develop a lifestyle in which they can function in their various roles efficiently and productively with some degree of integration between them and satisfactions deriving from them, the social supports for women are lacking. Once the decision is made to have children, a massive dilemma arises. On the other hand, women are seen as fortunate to have the choice as to whether or not they work, as the family livelihood does not usually depend on the wife but on the husband in his role of provider. On the other hand, her range of options is in fact severely curtailed by virtue of the fact that she is expected to carry responsibility for familial roles and to subordinate her own career aspirations to those of her husband.
This narrowing of options, coupled with the tendency for environmental institutions to aggravate the difficulties faced by highly qualified women, creates a situation where the onus is thrown very much on to them as individuals to create solutions to their dilemmas. The easiest path is to fall into the conventional role of housewife, at least for a time. Another alternative is to make irrational choices, do unsuitable work, be exploited in jobs of lower status or interest than they would command if they were men. Another alternative is for the woman to interrupt her career, dipping out and re-entering as family situation and stage allow. There are intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions of career aspirations, and the women – though dropping their level of aspiration when they encounter the difficulties arising from the integration of a career with traditional domestic roles – do not alter their intrinsic aspirations, i.e.
the specific kinds of interests and values which they seek in work. They wish as much as men to have the kind of career in which they can do an interesting job and work relatively autonomously in relation to supervision. They value the idea of cultivating a reputation for extreme competence in whatever line of work they pursue, and feel that the experience of creativity in work is important. The intention ultimately to return to work is now far more widespread than in the past among married women. According to the book Marriage and Families, nearly 80 % expect to be working when their children are grown. The early returners are ones whose commitment to work is a matter of principle. The later returners may not be committed so much to the general idea of women’s careers, but they may recognize that they will want to do something to keep themselves interested and to feel useful. Many women want to work.
Many women have to work. Many women choose to stay home. However, no matter what a women chooses to do, she is different than any other woman. I say this because I read and see similarities in myself as that with other women. Yet, my maturity, priorities, and lifestyle make these similarities different from other women. According to studies, women get their greatest satisfaction from work. I too feel great satisfaction when I accomplish projects at work and receive positive feedback. I also feel great satisfaction when I have spent quality time with my children; when they seem happy and fulfilled. In my marriage, I felt great satisfaction having loving arms to come home to and someone to care and provide for me.
This is where fulfillment for women differs. It is a matter of needs and priorities. When I was first married, I worked to support my husband through school, and, since I did not have children yet, for something to do. The seed in the back of my mind was finishing school and career advancement. At that point, I did not know what career I wanted. When my first child came along I took time off but was back at work within a year for financial reasons.
I settled for less than what I wanted because I was not ready for the additional responsibility of a higher paying job and I did not have the confidence to pursue further. When the next child came along, I was back to work for financial reasons. At that point, work was very dissatisfying because my paycheck went to pay daycare and little else. It did not make sense. Now, I work out of necessity because I am single. What I have learned throughout the years is that my needs have changed. Whether it is because of circumstance or maturity or a little of both I am not sure.
I am glad I worked throughout my marriage because it has made it easier for me to support my children as a single parent. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would be home with my children to make sure their needs were met. They are the single most important thing to me. When I was married, they were not. My husband was most important, then my children, then work. As the years passed and I gained maturity, confidence and experienced great emotional stress, I now feel I can focus on my future.
I am satisfied taking small steps towards career advancement. I do not have the goal of achieving loads of money, a stressful job and a good title as fast as possible. I want to be available to my children while still providing them a decent lifestyle. My fulfillment will come when they graduate from high school or college happy and secure. I have twenty years after that to dive head over heals into a career.
The women next door may set different priorities or think I am nuts not to excel at work faster when it is offered. Though I admire here for her fortitude, I know what is important to me and having that focus will make me happy and that is all that really matters. Gone are the days of making decisions based on what other people think is right for me. It has taken me fourteen adult years to figure that out, and it very well may change in the future, but for now I know where I am going! Legislation Affecting Women at Work. Legislation addressing working women is growing each year. Many bills are introduced each session dealing with child care availability, leaves of absence for dependent care, affirmative action and equal opportunity issues, equal pay for equivalent work, minimum wage, health insurance, and job training. Although some of these bills are never voted into law, it is clear that the issues are ever pressing on the minds of women and lawmakers alike.
As with any legislation, time and pressure from special interest groups will turn the tide. FUTURE OF THE FAMILY Because of the high percentage of divorce rates, single parenting is the wave of the future. Poverty is the most important difference between the families headed by women and men. Although women from all segments of life work, the female family heads finds the climb to a higher income level extremely difficult. The number of poor families headed by women continues to rise, while that of men is steadily falling. For several million of these women, the barriers blocking their way continue to be inadequate training and education for the current job market and, in some cases, heavy child-care responsibilities.
The traditional household with the husband at work and the wife as housekeeper, wife, mother, and family representative in the community will never disappear. But the woman who assumes more of the male traditional role will do so by choice. Women who have achieved self-respect and confidence in their abilities have come too long a way toward equality to stop where they are. The problem and challenges of the technological era are too great for the concerned, well-educated, ambitious woman to be content to sit on the sidelines with her knitting while men make all the decisions that count. Young people see the heavy male-dominant role disappearing in most marriages.
In its place is a sharing of work, play, child-care and child-rearing. Women will continue to work before and after child-rearing. Many women will combine the two. Husbands and fathers will play a greater role in housekeeping and child-care. A father may take a leave of absence to take care of the children.
If the wife is offered a better paying job in a distant city, the husband will investigate his own job possibilities in that same city. Some sociologist say an educated woman has three main outlets for her energies, ambition, and involvement. She can express herself through her own career, involvement in her husband’s career, or through her children. Most pour much of their energies into their own careers, although many rear children and help their husbands. In contrast, most women who stay home devote their time and energies in promoting their husband’s career and are deeply involved in child care and child-rearing.
As more and more women seek higher education and/or employment, communities will need increasing numbers of well-trained child-care substitutes. CONCLUSION Life is very uncertain anymore. Couples marry and divorce so often. It is difficult to be secure. I sometimes wonder if the trend for women obtaining better careers is because of the high divorce rate or if divorce happens because women are more into their careers. Whatever the case may be, I recommend setting goals and sticking to them but be flexible for your changing needs and circumstances.
Women need to be involved in household finances and, if working, need to establish their own 401k accounts to protect them for the future. If work is most important to a woman, she should put off having children until she is absolutely ready to postpone career aspirations. Most importantly, a woman needs to follow her heart because neither her, her husband or children will be happy unless she is happy. As for raising children, I hope my little ladies grow up with the knowledge that no matter what they choose in life-a stay-at-home mom, marriage and career, or marriage, career and family- what is important is how they feel about the situation and what fits in to their values, goals and lifestyle. I want my daughters to choose what is right for them and not make a choice based on what other people think.
I don’t want them to flounder like I did. I want them to know that whatever they choose is great as long as it makes them happy and it is what they want. I think the best advice I can give them (though children usually don’t listen to parents about long term advice, they usually have to learn for themselves) is to begin formulating goals as early as possible. For instance, if my oldest daughter wants a full-time, successful career, she should focus on achieving that and not let an early marriage or children slow her down. She can easily begin a family later.
Or if my youngest daughter would like to have a large family, or be mostly involved in her children and husband, then she should insist on that and communicate with her future spouse so they can both work together to achieve that goal. I wished I would have been that mature. Lastly, hopefully my girls will understand that no matter what they choose, it won’t be easy but worth the effort and sacrifice in the long run. I especially hope I raise them to not allow sexual biases get in the way and to achieve what they want regardless if it is deemed a man’s job or woman’s job. In fact, my children see me do both.
I mow the lawn, wash the cars, take out the garbage and do dishes, laundry and clean bathrooms. I also work, go to school but love to have fun water-skiing, snow-skiing and coaching and playing softball. My new husband does the same except he is indeed the bread-winner of the family. That to me is a fairly well-rounded parental example. I hope my children surpass me, at parallel age levels, in all ways.
University of Phoenix WORKING WOMEN AND FAMILY LIFESTYLES – (UD) Theories and principles related to the past and present status and role of women in work, behavioral, and socialization patterns affecting career choices and leadership abilities. Dual career couples, child-raising issues, and the future of the family. Special problems of re-entry women and current legislation affecting women at work. GENERAL EDUCATION: SOCIAL SCIENCE Social Issues.