Friday, 31 August 2012

A Woman's Place?

Women. Why is it that I keep hearing how you want to be so equal with men?  You want positions of power within the workplace, you want to run large companies, flying from country to country to do business and conduct meetings. You want to leave the home early in the morning and return late at night and when you do have a moment, you want the luxuries of going out to dinner, expensive holidays and all the freedom that many men have. Hmmm. That's all well and good if you have no responsibilities to take care of. 


But wait! Have you forgotten that you have children languishing at home with no mummy in sight? The children some of you planned to have. Are you happy for another woman to raise your child, cook for them, attend the school plays, tuck them into bed, kiss them better when they fall over, and teach them the way to live?  Really? Some children are even left home alone, fending for themselves for periods of time whilst mummy progresses her career!

So I ask the question - should women with children be working at all until a child is of a certain age?
Doesn't it come down to an unavoidable choice between two options:
EITHER - suspend the career to have children OR - pursue the professional career and not have children.

I'm really not trying to offend career women or women who have to work to put food on the table, but rather have a constructive discussion about those who are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

You see, certain women are putting pressure on their employers by trying to juggle home life, work life and a social life. Women with children are likely to take more time off to deal with child illnesses, school holidays, extra dental and hospital visits etc throughout the whole year. They want to start work later in the mornings and leave earlier in the evenings to do the school runs. They want reduced flexible working hours without complaint. 

What if you are a small business owner? How could you continue to run a successful business if your employees were continually taking time off work due to their children? Can you imagine telling your boss you can't attend the next meeting because little Johnny is having difficulties at school?

If I was to tell you that a mother was neglecting her child, we would all be in uproar, but can neglect also be that the mother is never home to see/take care of her own kids, regardless to how much money she throws at them? 

Is it such a bad thing for women who want to have children to stay at home to raise them properly, then continue later with any career plans they may have?

We continuously blame the parents when children are raised by the streets and go crazy. Is it right to blame society for failing in raising children who should have been raised at home in the first place? We just can't have it both ways. Something has to give. 
How important is it to have a mother at home raising her own children?
Would you give up a career to have children or vice-versa?
Men, what is your opinion about career women having children or Stay-At-Home-Mums?
Ladies, how do you juggle working and being a mother, especially if you are in a prominent position at work?
Would love to hear your views, comments and opinions of this. 

32 comments:

  1. I've always thought that it is up to the family. Fathers can be caregivers too, why is it a woman's place? Unfortunately for the most part most women or men do not have a choice to work or not to. We are lucky in Canada that women and men get parental leave after a child is born.
    Also society seems to look down on women or men who want to raise their family without working outside the home as lazy. So really social stigma is a huge part of telling parents that raising their child is not a desired thing.
    Finally, ALL employers should have rules in place that everyone has to follow, including exceptions for personal reasons. I'm wondering if you would think this time unreasonable if it was someone needing special time off for a sick parent or spouse...

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    1. I understand that there are many women who don't have a choice whether or not to work and they therefore have to put food on the table in order to survive. I did say that earlier. I was referring to the women who do have a choice but want to work full time with all the benefits and still raise a child when it's obviously not working because the children are suffering, so to speak. (suffer is the wrong word really).

      I do hear more and more comments made against women who want to stay at home to raise children, but from my end I think that's because a portion of these women never work, are single parents and they just produce child after child and a majority are on state benefits. I'm speaking from a UK perspective. This is where I think part of the stigma comes from.

      Exceptional time off should be allowed depending on the circumstances because usually it is an unforeseen emergency. But once children are involved and apart from emergencies, it should be down to the woman to provide the necessary cover for non-emergency issues otherwise she would end up taking much more 'leave' than the other workers.
      Thank you so much Jamie, you always give me something to think about :)

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    2. Again, I ask, why is it a woman's place? Why not just one of the parents? Why is it expected that a woman should have to ask that question of herself whether to sacrifice her career but never the father?

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    3. In response to your question 'why is it a woman's place?'. I would say it falls mainly upon the women simply because from the time a woman gets pregnant or should I say makes a decision to get pregnant, she has to decide whether or not she wants to continue with her career plans and if so, who will then be responsible for her childcare. I'm not saying men do nothing, but I think you'll find that the woman has more of a say in this area, and with that privilege comes responsibility. What I mean by this, is that, as I'm sure you will agree, the law greatly privileges women in this area. (This point is not based upon women who have no choice but to work).

      I also agree with what Untony states about. the historical background to this issue which stretches back beyond pre-history. This is a legacy which we cannot expect to wipe away in a space of a generation.

      Hope this answers your question, otherwise I'm not sure how else to put it to you. Thanks again Jamie.

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  2. This is a topic I can relate to very much, as I am in the stage of thinking about my future. On the one hand, I would like to travel as much as possible, I want to see many parts of the world, learn a lot of languages and I want to earn my own money and be independent. On the other hand, I would like to have my own little family one day and I want to be a mother that is there for her children.

    There is absolutely nothing bad about women who want to stay at home to raise there children properly. The problem is, that it is difficult to raise them properly without earning enough money. Of course other things are more important than money and one can be a great mother without having lots of it, but nonetheless it is necessary.
    Moreover, unfortunatey it isn't given that a marriage or a relationship lasts forever and after a divorce or a breakup it is difficult to earn a living if a woman hasn't been at work for many years.
    There must yet be more opportunities for women to go back to work after a few years of staying at home. Here in Germany it is nearly impossible to go back to your job after a few years of staying at home.
    Our society is in steady change, which isn't a bad thing, it is necessary. But progress also raises problems, as there must be more things changed. When my mother was my age, she was already married and my grandmother has already been a mother, which was very normal for them. In contrast, none of my friends that are my age is already married and none of them plans to be for the next few years. I think there must be more chances for mothers as well as fathers to go back to work after raising their children, so that one doesn't have to choose between having a family and earning money. The possibility to work at home could also be a good way.

    I also want to say that you can be indeed a good mother though going to work. There are other things that are important, too. At the same time, when a mum is at home for the whole time, that doesn't have to mean she's a good mother. A mum should be there for her children and give them her love, but she can do that even if she's working.

    Maybe I am a bit prejudiced, as my mum had been at home, but nonetheless we had a very difficult relationship.

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    1. Kleopatra. Thank you so much for your views. You seemed to have covered some very relevant points here. Employers should give more opportunities to mothers who go back to work after raising their children. There must be many difficulties with earning money after a break-up/divorce/separation if the woman was a SAHM, especially if she didn't have savings for a rainy day so to speak. Most importantly, as you say, even if the mother did stay at home it doesn't mean she would be a good parent. Food for thought.

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  3. This is such a great topic and a very complex issue. As a single mother, there was never an option for me not to work outside the home. I basically constructed my life around my children, and was lucky enough to have a wonderful, live-in babysitter whose entire family helped care for my sons. I've definitely known parents, both men and women, who try to milk the system, sometimes even feigning a child's illness to get the afternoon off. But, at least in medicine, those are the outliers. If a woman with children also wants to pursue a career, I see no reason she shouldn't go for it. It's a decision she and her partner need to give careful thought to, and both should be willing to foot the responsibilities that inevitably arise with kids: picking them up when they are sick at school, taking them to doctor's appointments, going to see them in plays, etc. I think it's possible to have your cake and eat it, too, with the caveat that one fully accepts one's obligations at home and in the workplace.

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    1. I've also heard of the parents who seem to have a disaster every 5 mins with their children and always want to have a day off here and there. It usually occurs on a Monday or Friday. In my own opinion over the years, this behaviour has not helped the genuine mothers get a job as people think they will have a problem getting childcare whilst they are at work etc...

      Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too? Perhaps for some people, but I'm sure you'll agree that very often this is not the case. And in those instances where a choice must be made the children who do not ask to be brought into this world must be put first. This is the burden of responsibility and duty of care without which no one should embark upon parenthood. Thanks you so much for your comment Helena.

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  4. Most of the time we look to these social subjects from a pragmatic way in our present.

    Since there is nothing to add to the well sustained opinions presented, I will try to look at this from an historical viewpoint.

    In the beginning... and I am not intending to be preaching, in the beginning Nature was also pragmatic, and having settle two sexes on Earth, decided to give the toils of pregnancy and delivery to females.

    Since the zygote, foetus, and child grew into the mother's womb, it was logical to idenfy both creatures and think that they may understand better one another, while the other part, males, could be free to go out and look for food and provide safety.

    In other plane, Science said it is proved that males gametes are quite unnecesary to get a new being, since the female haploid cell can create sure, and nicely children (females them, of course), and that the only reason the existence of males is to provide a suitable mixture of genes as to make sure to avoid illnesses and deformities.

    With all these pieces in the puzzle, the subsequent thought is: Nobody has the right to claim for a possition, with the almost bashful exception of let males free to get more children on the way.

    Finally, following the pattern written above, males took the advantage to keep their place of providers using comfortable armchairs, high incomes, and great power. Which was coveted by females with enough guts to face the perils of the new environment, and get a career

    Our crazy and in a hurry World has get things arranged into a mess where almost nobody can know what is going to happen in their lifes, so providers and children generators lost their position and now it seems as if anyone can face the tough business world, but it, the world, forgot to concede men the possibility to be pregnant and then change places securily.

    So here we are, in the middle of an unsolvable problem, unless we sacrifice some things as the well being of our descendants... or ascendants if grands get the responsibility to bear the children.

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    1. Isn't this something we should think of before we have children, what sacrifices we may have to make?

      I think if we get down to the core of what you are saying here, it is that the fact we are living in the modern world doesn't alter the natural biological facts that govern our existence. It's no use burying our heads in the sand, we have to take account of this when we make the massively important decision to bring another life into this world.

      In the event that we find ourselves creating a child unintentionally, the same thought process needs to take place, albeit after the fact. Thanks Untony, always welcome your comments here.

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  5. Nothing like a crazy issue, in the end, it comes down to so many things. The whole single mother who wants a career is a bit of a stretch for someone to do both.

    Personally, I have no problem with any of it, as long as the child is taken care of. I have an odd perspective, as I'm a stay at home husband, in a sense. Admittedly I'm in a relationship where there is a 16 yr old, so the parenting part is negligible, but I'm the one doing all the chores of the house while the woman goes out and brings home the money.

    This article can kind of be related to the bigger argument of people having babies that really shouldn't. But yeah, that's still another topic.

    To end, yeah, as long as the child is taken care of. But everyone's opinion of what it takes for a child to be taken care of is different. In the end, its the person's right to chose what they want to try to do. Freedoms can easily be abused, but I'll never judge how someone else uses their freedom.

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    1. Ah, SAHH. I fully agree that children should be properly taken care of but did your wife make a choice to continue with her career or did you both make it? or was it based on earnings? I'm a bit too nosey here so you don't have to answer this personal question.

      Thanks Dan, it's nice to know that you are willing to do all the chores as well as keeping the home fires burning. I admire the men who do this.

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  6. Interesting and stimulating post, however...
    The thought, doesn't consider the whole picture. A family's place is to take care of the home and raise children - both male and female; father and mother. Earning an income does not end a father's responsibility. I agree, that if possible, there should be a parent at home to help raise the children and those working outside the home should help - their day doesn't end when they come home. And the saying, "it takes a whole village to raise a child" came because no one person can do it alone. When you have a family, the freedom comes in seeing your children learn and grow into responsible humans, in knowing they will pass what you teach them to their children, in the love between two parents who have the family's best interest at heart and not their own self interest. Freedom doesn't come from early mornings, late evenings, expensive dinners - don't fall for the hype. There is no equity in the work place for women - that's why so many work so hard and long just to earn an unequal pay. What about the single parent, should they feel bad because they want better for the family and themselves. Unfortunately, men have convinced women that their only real worth is in the home - while men exploit their so called freedoms. When one part of society loses, we all lose - men, women and definitely the children. Just a thought...Paul Worthington
    www.Cop-A-Squat.com

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Paul, and very good they were.

      I'm going to put a controversial spin on something you're written here. Hold on to your hat!

      I acknowledge what you say about there being no equity in the workplace and women earning unequal pay with a lower chance of promotion, irrespective of talent and hard work, so...

      wouldn't the PRAGMATIC choice for the hard-pressed modern family be to send the player with the greatest chance of success (the male) into the workplace and let the woman, who after all carried the child for 9 months already and whose work performance is therefore unavoidably compromised, to do the day time childcare?

      This is NOT fair, but neither is the world we live in. And we have to live in the world as it is, not how we know it should be. We each have to play the hand we're dealt to the best of our ability.

      Thanks Paul, for digging into a new area of this discussion!

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  7. I stayed home with my six children. I did work as a freelance writer which allowed flexibility. I was also active in my church and community as a leader. I spent a lot of time with my children and I gave up my own college education so they could have one. Do I regret it? Sometimes. Now they are grown and busy with their own lives, I rarely hear from them. Most of them forget Mother's Day and my birthday. There are no easy answers to this, but thanks for the discussion!

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    1. You see, you've just shown me a flip side in a sense. The fact that you sometimes regret you decision after sacrificing yourself. If you saw your children on a regular basis, they showered you with birthday gifts or cards and contacted you on Mother's Day, would it make that 'regret' go away?

      Could it be that you raised them to be so independent, they are now busy doing their own things and this kind of shows what a good job you've done?

      They too may sacrifice a career path along the way, for a season to have children, who knows.

      Thanks for sharing Carol Allen Anfinsen.

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  8. Everyone only gets one shot at life, parents and children, men and women alike. So I don't see any reason for any person to deny themselves the life they feel is right for them. If a woman with children wants a career at the same time, certainly that's her affair. How the children turn out in the long run will ultimately depend more on them than the amount of time their mother spent with them. There is no formula for raising happy or successful children.

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    1. I appreciate your views NP. Certainly, those big opportunites don't come around very often, if at all, I guess.

      But still, while there is certainly no set formula for raising children I personally believe that quality time, discipline, nurturing and support from parents is an essential ingredient in forming mature people. Any person denied this is at a huge disadvantage at the outset of their life. Thanks Nothing Profound. 

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  9. While you have many valid points, you are walking on a dangerous territory. We are living in the world where there shall be no biological and sociological difference between men and women.

    I guess the modern day sex change operation with hormone reconstitution have brought a new chapter that men can be women and women can be men.

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    1. James, this is an interesting slant that had not occurred to me at all. You suggest that scientific advances in this area could be a game changer? You have given me food for thought and a bright new topic to look into.
      Thanks for your comments.

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  10. Mothering is not a default job for women who failed to succeed in the world of power and money. see http://motherofnine9.blogspot.ca/

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    1. I don't think I said anywhere that mothering was a default job. Rather I was exploring the impact that women juggling work has on the quality of their parentood and whether means that an either/or choice, where possible, should be made. Thank you for your comments on this Motherofnine9.

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  11. Interesting discussion... I chose to stay at home with my children for more than 10 years before resuming full-time teaching. I found it difficult to balance being Mom and wife and community member and ...and...and...with being a full-time teacher. Teaching is a career in which you can lose yourself completely, and I found it frustrating to not be able to fulfill any one role perfectly in the juggling act. I now work part-time, even though my kids are teens - I feel that for me, this sets a better balance. I also think that this is MY choice - there are as many reasons as people for how they run their lives. In general terms, I agree with your points about parents (not just women!) raising their OWN children as being the ideal situation. And I am also aware of how often life falls far from the 'ideals' we expect.

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    1. Thanks Melody, it really is a balancing act for many people who choose to work full time and raise children in the same strength. I'm glad you managed to find what works best for you and are happy with your choices (no regrets). 

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  12. My wife's a doctor, and she actually works a lot more than me to be honest. Our kids grew up fine regardless. We took turns. It's all about the two of us balancing work and family. We decided we wanted to have kids so the responsibility lies in both of us. I didn't think she had to put her career on hold just so she can take care our children. That's how it worked for me, but in any case I don't assume this is how it is for everyone.

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    1. William, this just goes to show when the man steps up too the choice is easier for both. It takes two to create a child, if only those 2 could co-operate for the good of the child how much easier, richer and more fulfilling would life be for everyone. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Why shouldn't the man stay at home? In my opinion who ever is the lesser earner should be the stay at home parent. Why is it the woman's place?

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    1. Jamiesmiles asked a similar question here (see above response I gave, just saves me repeating it again) Thanks for sharing your view Globaljaunt.

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  14. I always believe that a mother to her child should always be with her kid, until the baby is big enough to understand and solve her immediate needs. A mother needs to sacrifice her professional career up to that stage. Later she can resume. I know it will be difficult, but you will have so many options to choose as your career, if you don't find your dream job back. All you need is to continue working on your dreams and goals, even being sit- at home -mum. I am doing that. I am sure, I won't regret not being with my kid at her tender age. I know, finding my dream job would be little difficult, but not impossible. At least I will have the satisfaction of carrying out my responsibilities sincerely.

    But, I will request all husbands to support their wives in this situation. Do not tease and show your frustration to your wife, by saying that and showing that; you are a bread-earner, and there is just single handed income right now. So, wives are not supposed to spend anything or raise their voices ( when needed), because they are not earning right now! When such arguments occur, mums take bold steps and nobody suffers, but her child.

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  15. Thank you so much Epsita Loves Writing and thanks also for the good advice you give to husbands who have wives at home looking after the children :)

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  16. Many a times a woman works because she want herself not to depend on anybody, when somebody especially her husband or her family doesnt respect her for all d sacrifices she do, for all the love and care she shows and treat her low., then women find there happiness in working. The family, her husband, her child needs to respect her. They need to know that, she is the main ingredient in the family which holds it together.
    If a woman is a house wife and u respect her for watever she does, she would never want to work, she would never think of leaving her baby and family behind. I'm sure. Many a times, its the criticism that makes her take this step.!

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    1. I think that even if a woman has total respect in the home from her husband and family, she may just want to work so that she doesn't loose touch with the outside world. I've heard many women say that they enjoyed being at home with their babies at first, but after a while they felt very lonely, isolated and frustrated because they wanted to be amongst others. I take your point though. Thanks Esabella.

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Disrespect will be happily deleted.
Thanks for posting!

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