Today’s woman feels ripped apart between work and home, more so if she prioritizes herself over the above two. Her conditioned grooming and social pressure to be a perfect woman forces her to visualize herself as the incarnation of Durga, who has twelve hands to do multiple tasking. Overall, she is an all-rounder who can look stunning, raise perfect children and run an ideal home while being a CEO at MNC.
I quote Michlle Obama here, “That whole ‘so you can have it all.” Nope, not at the same time. And that’s a lie.
And it’s not always enough to lean in, that s*it doesn’t work all the time,” she said during the promotional tour of her Becoming book tour.
In our society, a professional woman is successful if her husband appreciates her, her kids bring laurels to the parents by winning trophies in school, her house is well-maintained, and her in-laws take pride in her.
A woman faces multiple challenges throughout her career. Career advancement is much harder for women as they need to work harder than men to get recognized. Can you believe that only 41 female executives got their names included in The Fortune’s 2021 list of CEOs? Shockingly, this is said to be the highest number of all time.
Whether calling or family is more important for women is subjective and can vary from one woman to another. Is there a one-size-fits-all answer to this question? No. It’s an individual choice. No two women are the same. Then how their priorities and options can be the same?
Historically, traditional gender roles have often positioned women as primary caregivers and homemakers, with family taking precedence over career. However, the millennials and Gen Zs saw a significant shift toward gender equality. More women have pursued higher education and career opportunities.
The BIG question is, “Should she leave her career, which she built with all her heart, sweat, and soul half the way, once she gets married? Or after she embraces motherhood? Or she can be single for a lifetime to live her life on her terms. Or she gets married but does not become a mother as she has other life goals.
Whatever she chooses, will it go well with her community of parents, in-laws, friends, colleagues, or society?
The point is that a woman who decides to leave her career behind for her family is equally strong as a woman who chooses to continue in the professional domain even after having a family. So does she get applause and respect for her choice? Or not choose anything at all and remain just herself? In either case, things are going to take a lot of work. It is so painful to leave the well-paying job that gave her all the recognition, self-respect, independence, and confidence for her family. It is equally disheartening to go to the workplace, leave her baby in childcare or with a domestic caretaker, and check every two hours with the caretaker while in the office just because she doesn’t want to let her dreams die.
Whichever may be her status, we must bow to the woman! We respect her for the courage she exhibits. While successfully climbing the professional ladder and quitting the office to support her family is a life-changing decision for any woman. It’s easier said than done. It requires courage and conviction to do it on the ground.
On the other hand, those women equally deserve a salute who leave their kids at home with so many insecurities and agony in their hearts to pursue their dreams. Their devotion and love for the family is no less. Meeting her deadlines at work and feeding her baby at home can take a toll on her mental health without unconditional support from her family.
Men should remember this fact—their encouragement and support would strengthen their relationship immensely. She only needs a shoulder to lean on. A helping hand is all that she expects.
A woman deserves respect regardless of whether she is a homemaker or a businesswoman. Making a happy home requires a similar effort to make a profitable business. Let us stop being judgemental and make this world a better place to live.
The impact of choosing between self-growth and family can be different for women playing different roles. Let us see how it differentiates them:
- Career-Oriented Women: Women today don’t shy away from prioritizing their careers and focus on professional growth and achievements. They enjoy financial independence, personal fulfillment, and empowerment. However, they face challenges balancing work and personal life, and societal expectations may still pressure them to fulfill traditional caregiving roles.
- Family-Centric Women: Family is love. There is no harm in being a homemaker. Therefore some may prioritize family over work. She may want to raise children or care for aging parents. This choice can provide emotional fulfillment and a sense of purpose. Still, it may lead to potential career sacrifices, such as stepping back from the workforce or having limited career advancement opportunities. She must be proud of her decision and not feel depressed later.
- Balancing Both: Many women seek to balance their career and family life, but achieving this balance can be challenging. At times it leads to burnout. The struggle to balance work and family responsibilities can lead to stress and guilt, particularly if they feel pressured to excel in both roles simultaneously.
- Self-sufficient women: Post-pandemic, the young generation has realized the futility of toxic relations and complicated marriages. The ever-increasing divorce rates have proved one thing that women today have started giving the utmost importance to their mental well-being. Her health and happiness take top priority. Work and family come next. They are not ready to get into toxic relations and carry that stress in their workplace.
- Societal Expectations: Societal expectations and cultural norms influence most women to prioritize their choices. Some societies may still perpetuate traditional gender roles, impacting women’s choices and opportunities. Let them decide without being typecast.
- Workplace Discrimination: We all know there is a gender pay gap or bias against mothers. These factors can affect career advancement and make it more challenging for women to maintain a successful career while prioritizing family.
- Personal Fulfillment: Whatever a woman does, she must feel fulfilled at the end of the day. A woman’s sense of fulfillment and happiness depends on her ability to make choices that align with her values and goals. The impact on women can be positive or negative, depending on how well their choices align with their aspirations.
Each woman’s journey is unique, and there is no right or wrong answer to the question of career versus family. Society should not judge them to let them live as they want. The endeavor should be to create an environment that supports women’s choices, offers flexibility, and eliminates gender biases, allowing women to pursue their aspirations in both career and family life on their terms. Encourage work-life balance. A beautiful message from the recently released Barbie movie: “Let women be mothers or bosses. Or just a mother or only a boss. And a mother and a boss too. It is her ability to perform and her choice to be.”
We need ordinary souls who can create their sense of identity. The way they want. What they aspire to be.
Rightly said by Michelle Obama, You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be.”
Love from Soul