Raising children in today’s busy, fast-paced world is nothing like what parents experienced while raising children several decades ago. It used to be that the man of the house went to work to earn a paycheck and the woman was in charge of the house and the children. Today’s world is full of working moms, dads raising children and parents choosing to work from home as they co-parent together. Options abound and with some creativity and flexibility there is a parenting method that can fit the needs of both parents while still providing financially for the family.
It was exceedingly rare as little as thirty years ago to see many mothers working full time. Things today have changed dramatically and many women work outside of the home as the number of stay at home moms dwindles. Some blame the economy and insist that families need two full incomes to survive. Others understand that some women choose to work in fulfilling careers that they worked hard to excel in. Women who choose to be stay at home moms make that choice based on their own wishes and parenting philosophies. Today women have more choices as far as making an income and parenting and more freedom to make the choice that best fits them and their families.
With more working moms in the workplace, some industries have seen a shift in their workplace policies. Working mothers demand a flexibility in scheduling and workplace responsibilities so women can care for their families and devote themselves to their careers at the same time. It is also a benefit to working moms to have more women in positions of management. Managers, business owners and other women in positions of power who are also working moms understand the distinct ways that they can help support the working moms that they employ or manage.
Sometimes conflicts can arise when employment decisions must be made. When a woman has been a stay at home mom for years and her children are older, her husband may assume or expect her to get a job once the children are in school. If the mom would rather remain at home and be available for her family, there may be some disagreement between her and her husband.
There is an equal chance for conflict when a woman wants to get a job and her husband does not want her to. Motherhood is a rewarding, amazing experience, but after having children, many women realize that they miss the workplace. They may miss the income they were able to generate, the feeling of contributing to a group project or the adult social interaction. Some fathers prefer that their wives remain at home to care for the children and keep up the home.
When conflicts surrounding whether or not for a stay at home mom to work outside the home, communication is the key. Spouses must be committed to an open dialogue to ensure that both sides feel that their desires and opinions are heard. When it comes down to it, how a family is supported financially is a family’s decision. Both husband and wife need to compromise and figure out a way to get on the same page to support each other and maintain harmony in the home.
It is no longer the mom’s sole responsibility to care for the house and the children 100% of the time. Motherhood used to be an all consuming role in which mothers rarely left the house and were expected to keep a tidy home, create elaborate home cooked meals and raise kind, successful children. Today mothers and fathers share the home and family responsibilities.
Parents have realized that time must be taken for themselves in order to feel their best and be productive. Aside from working outside the home, moms and dads are taking classes, going to the gym, starting home based businesses and spending time together apart from their children. When the house cleaning and child raising responsibility are shared, both parents will feel more relaxed, supported and connected to each other.
When both parents work it can be difficult to manage the household and parenthood tasks that must be done on a continuing and daily basis. The best way to avoid arguments and bitter feelings surrounding housework and child care is to make a plan and stick to it. Both mom and dad need to sit down and write out the tasks that need to get done on a daily basis, then divide up the chores equally. One both parties know what is expected of them and do their assigned responsibilities without being reminded, the family will have less stress and both parents will feel that they are working on the same team.
The question is often brought up that if we’re all working, who’s raising the kids? Many times when both parents work, children are placed in childcare facilities. There are pros and cons to day care providers and each family must choose which options are best for them. Some families are fortunate to have extended family or grandparents available to watch the children while mom and dad are at work. When both parents make an effort to spend quality time with their children when they are off of work, the entire family unit will feel connected and strong regardless of where the children are cared for while their parents are at work.
The bottom line is that parenthood is complicated. Earning a living is complicated. We are fortunate to live in a time that allows women and men to be equal partners who get an equal say as far as how the family will be supported financially and emotionally.
Article contribution by Jennifer Spiegel