Oct 26, 2016

Don't Give Up Your Day Job....




It's a well known fact that this blog loves a bit of celebrity gloss, goss and sparkle.  I've referenced outfits, reviewed memoirs, shared a bit of Carpool Karaoke (stop the press... Lady Gaga is carpooling this week!!) and even gotten a bit misty eyed about celeb relationships from back in the good old days...

What I try to avoid doing, though, is to write about celebrities (or anyone else for that matter) as if I know them well enough to judge their apparent actions (photos and news articles are often not the whole truth) or presume to know what they're thinking.  Which is going to make writing today's post a bit of a challenge because the opinion piece I'd like to discuss begins by referencing a recently separated celebrity couple but then goes on to intelligently discuss how the situation and its consequences may apply to other women, celebrity or otherwise.

Here goes.

Angela Mollard recently wrote this opinion piece entitled 'This Is Why Women Should Never Give Up Their Jobs'.  The context was how the wife of the relationship had taken to social media to express her feelings about how she had sacrificed so much and worked tirelessly behind the scenes so that her estranged husband  could both work hard and enjoy the ratings success of his television program.  The wife concluded that she would have to congratulate herself because her efforts have gone largely unrecognized by the network and her husband's agent.

Mollard went on to develop her argument about why women should do everything in their power to keep a toe hold on their profession even through those early and challenging early years of raising the children.  She acknowledges the challenges that face women trying to do this but she also goes on to outline some of the many positives of having a paid job outside of the family.  Work can be a source of self esteem, an identity beyond being someone's mother or wife, it is a source of financial security and it can also be a life line when things get tough.

And now I'll get onto this soap box of mine.  I'm very much with Angela Mollard on the issue of the importance of being a working mother.  Not just for financial reasons but also for the less tangible effects it has on emotional well being, self esteem and quality of life.

It wasn't a complete surprise that gender equality in the workplace would only become 'my issue' when I became pregnant, went on maternity leave and then returned to work.  Up until then, I'd been coasting along on a path cleared, created and fought for me by generations of feminists and suffragettes.  I'd completed school, voted, gotten a drivers licence, gone to uni, got given a job, gotten bank accounts and loans.  The list goes on and on.  I, and the world around me, never questioned my autonomy or independence.

Taking time out from the work force complicates things a little.  Not so much the autonomy side of things but there was this niggling fear about money and how what I'd saved could only stretch so far whilst I was on leave. I was also a bit nervous about whether my time off would leave me deskilled and a bit rusty on my return.

I went back to work when Preschooler SSG was around 9 months old.  I wasn't as rusty as I thought I would be, it felt like I'd returned from a long holiday (!!) and after a few weeks, it was as if I'd never actually disappeared for almost a year.  I actually enjoyed learning to balance the worlds of work and parenting and found myself more present at each when I had no choice but to juggle them both.

But is it right or fair to presume this should be the path all women take after they become mothers?  It's easy for me to agree with Mollard's piece because she articulates what I feel about my career.  I don't have a good answer for this but I have read the concerning statistics.  The rise of  homelessness in older women who don't fit the stereotype of women feeling domestic violence or dealing with addiction but find themselves suddenly homeless after a string of unfortunate financial insults.  The fact that one in three Australian women reach retirement age with no superannuation.  And then there's the anecdotal stories of friends and acquaintances whose lives are suddenly turned upside down in middle age with seemingly no way for them to dig themselves out of a bad financial situation because they are unable to re enter the work force after decades of absence.



Did you read Angela Mollard's article?  Could you relate to her arguments?

13 comments:

  1. It's an issue. I didn't read the article but it is an issue.

    One of the things that got me into my profession is the drive to never ever have to struggle financially like my mother did.

    However, some women want to work, and some women want to juggle, and some women want to be stay at home mums. I think a civilised society should enable those women to do what they want to do, and also provide a safety net for anyone, male or female, who falls foul so that they still have a roof over their head and enough to eat.

    Re relationships, in this day and age, both the partners' should support the others hopes and dreams, ideally. All the work being ploughed into one person's dream will lead to tears along the line.

    Thankyou for this thoughtful post xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your wise insights, C.

      SSG xxx

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi SSG- long time follower and I haven't commented in years! (We used to chat during VF days). But I had to find my google password to leave a comment that I so agree with this... I went back to work when my baby was 10 weeks old- it was alarmingly early, especially post c section, but necessary for my family's situation. Since then I have also loved the juggle of work and family- I could never give up what I do, nor my independence. However, I am lucky in that I live in a place that allows me to have full time live in help- many of my friends faced that awful choice of day care or staying home (often day care cost more than unemployment!). Sometimes women just don't have the choice to go back to work... Yet I've never heard a man say that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!!
      Thanks for taking the time to get past google passwords to comment here. Thank you for sharing your story and am happy for you that things have worked out.
      SSG xxx

      Delete
  4. It would be perfectly fine for women to quit their day job if they wanted to and dedicate their life to motherhood but that's just not reality. Relationships, marriages breakup and the woman generally ends up getting screwed over and has to start from square one in terms of employment. I just don't think in this day and age it's realistic.

    Personally and in an ideal world stay-at-home-parents should be respected and acknowledged and paid a wage at least similar to the amount earned by a child care provider.

    But until that happens, no, i don't think it's a good idea for any parent, mum or dad, to quit their day job completely and for the long term to raise children. Because unless you're indulging in things that constantly stimulate your brain (possibly artistically or culturally, etc), it's going to be a waste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true what you say, JLT, about the status of stay-at-home parents in our society. It's not right but it's what happens. Also agree about the need for all adults to have the chance to continue stimulating their brains or challenging themselves in roles and situations beyond what can often be quite a limited world when looking after children full time alone at home. Not necessarily paid work but an outlet.

      SSG xxx

      Delete
  5. I haven't read the article but can relate and agree with that point of view. It's my choice too. When I was on leave when I had the kids I felt really ... The word that pops into my mind is exposed. I loved my stay at home phase with my babies ... But couldn't let go of my work even though my husband was earning a very decent salary that was beyond our needs. My compromise is the well trodden path of the part time working mum. Im very grateful that I am able to have the choice of an interesting working life balanced with my home life. I love that my kids get to have both working mum and home mum (and good for my husband too and our relationship). But not everyone has the same choices, and the costs are therefore different. I would never judge anyone on what they decide for them and their family because I remember that shift inside me after having my first baby and I imagine that impacts people differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emma,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. There is that shift after the first child and you are right, we are all affected differently and also need, like you said, to respect the differences among us.

      SSG xxx

      Delete
  6. I don't have children (yet?) so this is not a minefield I've had to traverse personally. However, in considering if/when children might be possible for me, my eyes are very much open to what happens to the women around me who do have children. I've seen a lot of discrimination and huge amounts of stress, and basically I have no idea how they make it work but I'm endlessly impressed when they do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rachel
      It's all a bit of a juggle and a heap of luck at times!
      SSG xxx

      Delete
  7. I haven't read the article but you do bring up some good points from it here. I think, like you said, we are able to choose our own path through so many things and take advantage of what people who have gone before us have done. I am extremely fortunate to be at a company with such generous maternity leave and flexible work arrangements that allow me to set the balance I want to have for my life. Close to home, I have my mum who stayed at home through our early years and only returned to work after we had been in school quite some time. I have my mother in law who returned to work after 6 months off with each of her kids.

    Returning to work after 9 months with toddler T was just what I needed to feel like myself again, but I can't even contemplate going back at that point now with baby boy. It's so good I have the option and the opportunities. My current (male) boss took 2 years off to stay at home with his kids, came back for a year or two and then took another year off. It's cases and stories like his that make me confident I'll be able to continue in my current role adding value and still work flexibly and balance the needs of kids. What works for me doesn't work for everyone and while it's probably a good idea not to leave the workforce for too long if it makes the return to work difficult, it's not impossible to make it work if that's what you want to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mica
      Thanks for sharing your story and also the experience of your boss. It is inspiring seeing others in your chosen field making it work.
      SSG xxx

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I'm having trouble importing comments from Blogger right now so using Disqus or sending a tweet would be your best bet. X

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails