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Career vs motherhood?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Read this article the other day by a Danish woman, who's written a book about how "women are lying to themselves". She claims that the idea about women being able to be good mothers, and also uphold a prestigeful career is impossible.
It's either or.
She wishes she herself had gotten the message of the book she has written 20 years ago, so she'd know the choices she had, and not be fed by the lying stories about "succesful career-mothers", as they're simply "not true".

On the other hand, you got a woman commenting on the article saying that it's just the opposite. That she as the head of marketing for a firm, views it as a much easier job to parent. That while she has the possibility to coordinate her work hours with the activities of her children, and can to a great extent work from home, a mother who has a low postioned job, will find it much harder to suddenly stay at home cause her child is sick. To this she adds that she also has the benefit of private transportation, instead of dependancy of public transportation, nice vacations, and generally a higher quality of life.

Is motherhood and career possible? Or is it motherhood or career?
And where's the mens role in all of this?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hmm that woman who copes okay, she has a good job though, which im sure would give her fexible hours.. nenver hear of women workin in sweatshops who r happy with their time seeing their kid!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Anna Lindh seemed to mix the two rather well didn't she?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mmm... the two should be perfectly compatible. Of course it helps when you can afford a childminder full time. But even if you can't, arrangements can be made.

    I fear that many of the people who argue women must choose between a career and motherhood are the kind of people who think the place for a woman is the home… or that the primary function of the female of the species is to breed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Speaking from my own personal experience here, not judging anyone who wants to work by the way :)

    I think Mums are better off staying at home. If they work they miss so much of their child growing up. Its the things they miss which cannot be replaced. Things like when the 1st tooth comes, crawl for the first time, being the 1st to see her walk and showing it off to Daddy when he comes home from work. All these things I was around for and im glad I was. If I had worked I would have missed most of these, or be the last person to see.

    Ive sat many hours reading and writing with Becks which is why I think she is doing so well now. Ive taught her many things which im sure a child minder would but in the back of my mind I would be thinking no one can look after my Daughter as good as me.

    If the child is ill who do they want? They dont want the child minder, they want their Mummy to hold them and make them better. Also if I was working and she was ill I would have to come home anyway, I could not leave a poorly baby/toddler/child with a child minder, they would want me and I would make sure i was there for the child.

    Some people who have careers which mean they leave the house at 7am and return late on a night I think should have chosen wether they wanted a career or a child, because I dont think its right working such long hours and not seeing your child grow up.
    I think if someone wanted to work then maybe part time would be better and mean the child would not miss out on seeing the mother.

    I know for some people there is no option and they have to work, im lucky enough not to have to work, at some point I will go and get a job but that will not be till Becks is older and can fend for herself.

    Fathers I think are the main bread winners, or at least in my family they are. I know sometimes roles are reversed and the father stays at home which can also work, I suppose it depends on the individual.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by KoolCat
    Anna Lindh seemed to mix the two rather well didn't she?

    Depends on who you ask.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Aladdin
    Mmm... the two should be perfectly compatible. Of course it helps when you can afford a childminder full time. But even if you can't, arrangements can be made.

    I fear that many of the people who argue women must choose between a career and motherhood are the kind of people who think the place for a woman is the home… or that the primary function of the female of the species is to breed.

    Now that you mention it, the woman behind the book is a self-proclaimed feminist with education and degree.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ive thought alot about this sort of subject over the years. I think much of it also comes down to how developed one's social support network happens to be.

    With a community of contacts be they friends, relatives, or good neighbours im sure many women find career and motherhood quite easily managed and the children dont appear to suffer so long as they are not tied to a tv babysitter.

    The problems that do exist are exacerbated by economics to a degree but even poorer women can and do manage to make both work if they have support.

    What i have determined to be a major factor is more a matter of society's impression of the gender roles and the resultant societal expectations that such roles engender.

    I should think most guys would agree that we are expected to achieve and to provide and thus are forced to compete even when odds are against us, women have not traditionally been expected to compete in that way and thus those that do are forced to make sacrifices to "play the man's game".

    This cycle of expectations only makes it more stressful for both men and women, which is what gives rise to the problem of doubting one's ability to be a good parent and work (or even not work) for both sexes.

    In the end it seems as if we are damned if we do and damned if we dont.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Becks, I was wondering. Don't you ever feel you missed out on your own life, that you gave it all up for parenting?

    Not a dig or anything, just wondering.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Jacqueline the Ripper
    Becks, I was wondering. Don't you ever feel you missed out on your own life, that you gave it all up for parenting?

    Not a dig or anything, just wondering.

    hhhmmm good question.

    At times I have felt im tied, don't have my own life, can't come and go as I please. But at the end of the day she is my Daughter and I will be there for her no matter how long it takes.
    I brought her into the world so she is my responsibility and eventually I will get my life back again, but not till she is older :)

    I used to work before she came along, its a long story really but another reason I wanted to stay at home is because of my baby who died. So maybe thats why I am so for mother being at home......I dunno really :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    She is right you can’t be both. My wife had a career; she was a solicitor earning enough to pay 40% income tax. We had children, now she is a full time mum, and only works part time in legal support. She plans to resume her career when the kids reach their teens. She is an excellent mother and my kids are doing well. I work with women who have good jobs earning large salaries, however they hardly see their kids and basically pay someone else to bring their kids up. I have met their kids, and they are seem to have issues.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Aladdin
    I fear that many of the people who argue women must choose between a career and motherhood are the kind of people who think the place for a woman is the home… or that the primary function of the female of the species is to breed.

    I see where you are coming from here but if someone has a career and they decide they want children then the career has to take a back step.
    Think about when the child is going to nursery for the 1st time and they have concerts who does the toddler want there to see them on stage? When they start school and have assemblies where parents can go, or when they put shows on for the parents and all the child wants is for Mummy to be there. I have heard children whose parents both work saying "I wish my Mummy could come but she has to work". Children love it when the parents get to see the sports day, they are so proud to be taking part and want Mummy/Daddy to cheer them on.
    If a parent cannot make it then I feel the child actually does miss out, but not only that I think the parent is missing so much, things that they can never see again.
    As I say I know some people have to work, but surely when you have a career then a child comes along your career should be put on hold for a short time, a child growing up can never be replaced. Im talking about people who work really long hours, or have to travel long distance and so rarely see the child.

    I have actually been brought up with the fact that Mum stays at home to look after the child, also hubby can earn more than me so it makes sense that I stay at home and look after the child.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think that it is possible to be a good working mother, but not fulltime and not when the children are babies. I feel sorry for women who are put in the position where they have no choice but to go back to work. I dont see the point of having a child and then paying someone else to look after it. Im getting to the stage now where I think I should be thinking about getting a part time job (my son is 2 and a half) but when they are tiny, they really need someone at home with them, be that the mother, father or grandparent. someone who you will be happy for the child to have its closest bond to. If a child is left full time with a childminder, then dont be surprised if the childminder is the one the child goes running to when they are upset.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Jacqueline the Ripper
    Don't you ever feel you missed out on your own life, that you gave it all up for parenting?

    Interesting question because it suggests that being a mother isn't fulfilling in it's own right...

    From a personal perspective I'd have to go with much of what Becky said. In our case, my wife gave up work so that she could raise our children in the manner which we wanted. Had I been earning less than her then I would have given up work.

    When it's all said and done, we felt that we owed our children a committment. The responsibility of being a parent is a heavy one and shouldn't be taken lightly. That means that you should be there for the good things as well as the "bad". You should be there to teach but also to comfort (notably when they are sick), to play and educate but also to chastise and that none of this should be farmed out to someone else - such as childminders.

    It's a very personal belief, and I wouldn't criticise someone else for taking a different path.

    For the record I have never missed a school play or sports day. For me that is part of being "Dad", if I cannot even do that for my children, if I cannot find that time for them, then what kind of Dad am I?

    Added to that is my working style. When I was interviewed for this job I made it clear that my family are my number one priority. I could work all the hours available, but if I wasn;t there when my family needs me then what would I be doing it for?

    As a result I use a laptop which means that I can take work home with me. So, when things are pressured I don't have to stay in the office and work too late. I can leave work at 4pm, spend a few hours with my children (play, eat etc) and then once they are in bed I can work again. For me those few hours when we are together are the most important in my day.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    When I have children I would like to be with them in their early years. Hopefully I will be in a financial situation to be able to do so. Some kind of work can be fitted around children while still spending lots of time with them, such as home based work, freelancing or part time work combined with part time nursery for the kids. A mother doesn't have to give up her entire life when she has a child although of course it affects it a lot.

    And what about the father, a repsonsible father should take time to care for his children too, sharing responsibility with the mother.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was 18 when my littl'un was born and was about to start at uni, so I took a year off and she went to a childminder and then nursery full time from 12 months and has just started at school.

    I don't feel like I have missed out and I don't think she has either...the time which we do spend together tends to be more precious.

    I'm sure some people enjoy being at home til their kiddies are teenagers so that they can attend the assemblies and sports days and be there when they are ill and stuff, but my last employer (and most decent employers to be honest) tended to be quite sympathetic towards situations like that.

    I think from a young age, the child can differentiate between the mother and the childminder...my wee one never asked for her when she was with me. The only experience the childminder had of a kid running to her was with a child who lived 3 days with her mum and 4 with her dad.

    I think the interaction with other children has made Lil a more confident little girl - she's the youngest in her class but is by far the most robust.

    So, yeah, I do think its possible to balance the 2 - definitely. And frankly I'd be bored if I didn't work/study/both...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think it's important for the child to have a parent with them while they're young. Certainly I think that the parent should not re-enter the workforce until the child is at least old enough to go to a nursery/school for most of the day. I say "parent" because although it is generally the mother who does this role, there is absolutely no reason why the father couldn't. Preferably there should always be one parent with the children. But then this is based on my own experience.

    My mum was with my sister and myself all the time when we were very little. When I first went to nursery my mum used to work in a shop and I would go to nursery for a few hours and then my nan would take me back to hers until my mum finished work. Then in 1990 (when I was 5 and my sister was 2) my mum started working on the nightshift which was the best way for us, she'd be there to get us to school, come back and sleep, then pick us up and be with us and my dad would come home and then once we'd gone to bed she'd go out to work, this always meant we had one parent with us. It was only when my sister and myself were both in secondary school that she went back to working dayshifts.
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