Monday, March 22, 2010

Now hiring

It used to be that men and women had very defined roles in our society. Men were responsible for providing for the family financially. It was a man's paycheck that kept a roof over the family's head, put food on the table, and allowed for leisure activities like family vacations. Women on the other hand provided for the family in a more emotional and physical way; cooking the meals, washing the clothes, helping children with homework.

Today, more and more women are choosing careers outside the home, and while many see women in the workplace as progress, I would argue this "progress" has created a whole new set of problems and challenges.

With no one dedicated solely to the structure and survival of the family, that entity is all but falling apart.

Let me make an analogy most working women, and men, will be able to relate to. If a co-worker quits or is fired or laid-off, someone else must now pick up the slack. That person's work must still get done. At first, the remaining employees share the load, but as more and more co-workers disappear from the office, your work load soon becomes unmanageable and the boss is forced to rehire.

The problem with working mothers is that the work load has become overwhelming. And unlike in the workplace, there is no hiring a "new" mom to take your place. Sure, you can invest in a nanny, or daycare. You can hire someone to clean the house, pay someone to do your laundry, even order your food ready-to-eat. For many, these quick fixes are not financially feasible, and even if they are, they only contribute to our fast-paced, out of control, unfulfilled existence.

For years now, the role of the traditional "mom" has in many cases remained empty. The position is vacant, and no one is hiring. A moms job has gone undone and the results are evident in our every day lives. Things like divorce, high school dropouts, childhood obesity, crime, even depression. These problems have always existed, so I won't blame women entirely. However, it's clear we mother's can not be everything to all people.

So, here is my question to working mothers. Why do you work? Is it because you think you'd go crazy stuck at home with the kids all day? Do you feel a social responsibility to contribute to society outside the home? Are you so passionate about your work that you look forward to and enjoy your time at the office? Or do you feel like you don't have a choice?

According to the most recent census, 72% of mothers work outside the home. While a majority of them probably made a conscience choice to return to the workplace, I'm guessing many feel obligated for one reason or another.

I'll talk more about that next week, but in the meantime let me know what you think!

Monday, March 15, 2010


It's Women's Rights Month, and as you might expect, there's been a lot of talk about the career and pay obstacles many women still face.
While I can't refute the research, I'm frustrated by women's persistence to push forward and conquer the workplace, when the negative effects on their families are becoming so obvious.
Instead of focusing on what we haven't been able to accomplish, I think it's time to take a step back, look how far we've come and ask ourselves, "was it worth it?"

Before you call me a traitor, let me explain.

I was raised to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be. The sky was the limit! As a child of the 80's, I never experienced a world where women did not participate in the workplace. By the time I was old enough to start thinking about my own future and career, women were working all around me. Teachers, doctors, news anchors; everywhere I turned there was a female role model encouraging me to join the workforce, and they did it without ever saying a word. In fact, it almost felt expected.

While my own mother stayed home to raise myself and my four siblings, I felt a responsibility to forge ahead; to embrace my feminine power. I wasn't going to depend on a man to take care of me. I certainly wasn't going to stay home changing diapers and wiping snotty noses all day. I was going to be a career woman, make lots of money, and live a beautiful single life with no one to answer to but myself. I was a perfectionist; driven, determined, and motivated to compete in the real would without ever for a second thinking that I might be at a disadvantage.

It wasn't until recently that I realized my feminine freedoms came with a big price tag. And while I believe we women are footing some of the bill, it is our children, our husbands, our neighbors, and our friends who are truly paying the price.

That's why, over the next few weeks, I plan to examine the women's movement in our country, and the effects women's changing role has had on our society. I want to show how our blind ambition has lead to some of societies biggest problems.
Who knows? Maybe I will find that I'm wrong, that we women truly can have it all. Maybe it isn't our fault that our children are fat and lazy, that our communities are crumbling, and that our personal lives are lacking.

But, if I'm right, and we are responsible, even in some small way, I hope we will have the strength to do the right thing. Instead of complaining about what we still don't have, ladies, let's get our priorities straight and refocus our efforts on the important things in life. I believe it's the only way we will ever lead happy, satisfying, and full-filling lives. After all, isn't that what we all want?