Often mornings before work are a pressure point, where the tensions between home and work are front and centre.
On those morning when we rush to get ourselves presentable and our kids ready and delivered to childcare or school our best laid plans can get derailed; kids are sick, there are no clean socks, hair hasn’t been tied up right, (insert your story here..) and mayhem ensues. On these mornings it is important to be really clear about why we’re doing it – why we are working – to help us get through.
Our reasons for working are different and personal and ideally, values-based, but it can help to also know that you are doing a good thing for you, your partner and your kids and that you don’t have to sacrifice work to have children, or sacrifice having children to have a satisfying career.
It is a concern when women lower their sights or opt out of hard-won careers simply because they can imagine no other option.
One helpful principle to follow for a satisfying career and home life is 50:50 (Getting to 50:50). 50:50 running the household, 50:50 parents, 50:50 when it comes to careers. 50:50 is really about a core belief that satisfying work lives and loving bonds with our children are equally important to men and women and that we have the potential to be equally skilled in those roles.
So let me share some reasons for why it’s a good idea to work and to work towards 50:50 between you and your partner at home and work.
Childcare is OK
Children with 100% maternal care fare no better than kids who spend time in childcare. Parents should, however, focus on finding the best quality childcare they can afford. Parenting is the critical variable and it is important that you are happy as parents. So if working makes you happy then it can help make you a better parent.
Time spent with kids
Working mothers and at home mothers don’t spend drastically different amounts of time interacting with their kids. Important to note, working mums today spend more time with their kids than non-working mums in 1965. So not only does this reflect higher expectations regarding what good parenting looks like today, this is on top of women now working as well. Perhaps we need to cut ourselves a break when we worry about how much time we spend with our kids.
Involved dads help build healthy kids
Important factors for healthy kids are 1) sensitive fathers, 2) parenting that supports self-directed behaviour, and 3) an emotionally intimate ‘marital’ relationship. Controlling for what mothers do, children do better academically, are better behaved and are more socially skilled when dads are sensitive, more involved, eat and play with kids, and help with homework compared to when they don’t do these things.
Children can gain a lot when both parents work: independence and self-confidence, cognitive and social skills, and strong connections with two parents.
Question: What are your reasons for working?