Career vs Family: Choosing Between Job And Family
Do I work for fifty hours at the dream job that I earned after years of hard work at college? Or do I stay at home as a full-time mom embracing every second of my kids’ development? Many women struggle with this decision in their lives and usually the conclusion is considered to be either/or. There seems to be no grey area, as it is normal to think that women just can’t have it all. Choosing between career vs family is never easy.
On the one hand, if you choose your career, then you’re considered selfish. On the other hand, if you choose to stay at home, then you’re just lazy and a poor provider. Do you even have a choice? For some, children are a huge step backward. For others, their little ones are the best thing that has ever happened to them.
It is hard to sacrifice a career – a dream – that you worked so hard for. Many end up choosing both and having to forfeit parts of each. One can end up missing important milestones in their child’s life or losing important career advancement opportunities such as promotions. The dilemma has become more prevalent since women are now attaining powerful leadership roles at a more significant rate. In all honesty, however, it should not be a dilemma. There are ways to balance both aspects of life without loss and if you do make an either/or decision then you should never have to feel bad about it.
The Decision Between Career vs Family
Surprisingly, approximately 63% of millennial women believe that having children will make it much more difficult to advance in their careers. This contributes to the growing trend of women choosing not to have kids at all. Some choose to have fewer children or wait until a much later date to pursue motherhood. Millennial women are also staying away from marriage in an attempt to limit their commitment to anything other than their careers.
Women are much more likely to face career interruptions* because of a family than men. At least 39% of women (compared to only 24% of men) have taken a very long time off from their careers to care for their kids. Though this has a significant impact on their overall careers, most of these women do not regret pausing their work life for their families and actually found it fulfilling. However, young women today who have not yet had children believe that when they do, the impact on their career will be largely negative.
Finding The Balance: Career vs Family
Over 50% of working moms admit that balancing both work and a family is hard. Most of them also prefer to be at home taking care of their children. In fact, fathers are much more likely to say they would want to work full time than moms. In any case, the stigma is hardly ever attached to males. If he chooses to work full time, then he is a good provider, and if he stays at home, then he is an amazing dad.
Attitudes towards work have changed considerably over the years with over 32% of millennial women stating a desire to work full time compared to only 20% in 2007. Society on a whole supports mothers staying home, as a third of the public believe that that’s what’s best for children. Only 16% say working full time is ideal. Up to 42% encourage moms to split their time equally between their families and their career.
What Moms Feel
Society is not seemingly as judgmental of moms who opt to go back to work as it once was. There is still the unwritten rule that women should be devoted to spending as much time in the home as possible. The same amount of familial responsibilities, such as meal preparation, cleaning, and sharing quality time with the children is expected. So when you already have a full-time job, while being a full-time mother and wife simultaneously, you lose a lot of sleep, to say the least.
Even though the choice is ultimately yours, women who choose one over the other often receive significant backlash from family, friends, and the general public. Career women have to deal with the whispers and stares, all of which imply that they are power-hungry and self-centered. They are made to feel awful for missing a school play or picking up their kids from school way too late. They often feel guilty for having to leave their children with someone else during the day since ‘only bad moms would do that’.
No Right Choice In The Public’s Eyes
Stay-at-home moms are more often than not commended for making that choice, but the stigma still exists. They are often made to feel unimportant. They are also made to feel stupid for wasting their hard-earned, expensive education and skill sets. In fact, they are often sneered at for using their immense brain power to plan meals and set up play dates, rather than to work on big client presentations.
Depression can potentially be triggered, regardless of the route taken if that route is not ideally tailored for you. Transitioning into becoming a stay-at-home mom, for instance, may rid you of the self-worth a career once provided. Similarly, being at work every day in a very demanding job which causes you to spend great amounts of time away from your kids may not be the best for your emotional health.
The Choice Is Yours
It seems that any path you take has its cons, but the undeniable truth is that all paths have their benefits. It’s also important to consider that your choice depends entirely on your lifestyle, beliefs, and preferences. Yes, you do have to choose, but the choice does not have to be either/or. Whatever you pick should be the best option for you and one that will keep your mental health stable.
Some moms that choose their career do so because it is necessary to provide for their family. While a career does allow independence, other moms feel guilty about not spending more time with their kids. Find out what it is that will truly make you happy and work towards achieving it. Be realistic: never set goals that are impossible to achieve. You can have both but your schedule has to be organized efficiently. It should also prioritize sufficient alone time for yourself and your partner.
There will always be critics, no matter your choice, so don’t feel guilty when other people don’t get it. Do what works best for you when it comes to career vs family. You may feel at some point that you’re superwoman and you can juggle anything. Keep in mind that you are only human. You need time to settle down and recover from a hard day’s work. Whatever your decision is, own it. At the end of the day, it’s your emotional wellness that matters the most.
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