In today’s economy, women no longer need to choose just one or the other.
Despite all the advances in women’s rights, modern society still puts women under increasing pressure to choose between building a career and staying home to take care of the household. But contrary to what extreme feminists and traditionalists alike would have women believe, this choice need not be made.
When I was a child, my mother chose to remain home with me until I started school. Thereafter, she bounced between staying in the home and working at family businesses. She helped my grandmother run her shop, helped my aunt to run her restaurant, and helped my uncle run his gas station.
By the time I turned nine, my mom had opened her own business in the flat beneath ours. Somehow she managed to not just run the store on her own, but make dinner, clean the house, and ensure all my homework was done before bed.
There wasn’t a hitch in our household affairs, her business was profitable, and she even found time to travel to Central America with her friends.
Needless to say my mother’s successes – and mistakes – in her career taught me the important lessons I live by today. Here are four things I learned from watching her succeed as a housewife with a career.
1. Choose an Independent Partner.
Many people still expect women to take on the majority – if not all – household chores when she remains at home, even if she is working. While it does not matter what society or even your families think, what your partner expects does matter.
Choose a partner who knows how to find their way around the kitchen or a takeout menu, and who is not above fixing dinner or doing the laundry, while you tackle tight deadlines. Sometimes the sheer volume of work to be done leaves little time for tending to household chores and duties.
Finding a partner who can carry their equal weight, or chip in when you are too busy, means less stress for both of you and a happy home. You will not feel pressured to rush work to please your partner and care for the family; and they will not feel resentful because dinner isn’t always waiting on the table when they get home.
2. Have an Office.
Working from home is almost always portrayed in a glamorous light. It encourages people to lounge in their bed with a cup of coffee, or relax on the couch in pajamas. What these ads often neglect to include is your spouse watching television next to you, your teen giggling loudly on the couch, and your toddler storming through the house.
These instances make it very difficult to get work done, because it interrupts your concentration. Having an office creates a personal work space away from the hustle and bustle, and sends a tacit message to the family that you are working and should not be disturbed.
It also encourages you to get all the necessary equipment that will not fit on a bed or a couch; such as a fax, printer, scanner, graphics tablet, a computer and anything else you need to get the job done.
3. Hire Help.
Not everyone can afford the extra help, but for families who can, this presents a viable option. Assistance may come in the form of a PA to help with work, a nanny to help with the children, or a maid to help with the cleaning. Help may come in all of those forms, too.
This allows stay-at-home career women to focus on what requires their personal attention most at the time – whether it’s their partners, the kids, work, or getting chores done. For women who do not have partners that can fend for themselves, or have old enough children who can do the same, this is even more important.
4. Get Out More.
In the modern world, humans are mostly concerned with the home and work life. When both activities take place in the home, the dangerous result is that oftentimes we find no real reason to do anything else or go anywhere else.
Make time to network, especially with other entrepreneurs, and to meet up for the occasional brunch with old friends. Work and family life do make up a significant portion of all our lives, but it should not constitute all of it. Pursue your hobbies, stay fit, and do your best to live a wholesome life.
With these pointers in mind, any woman can maintain a great work and personal life in the comfort of her home. A well-run household will mean more time to spend on work; and productive work hours mean more income to contribute to the well-being of the entire family.
Originally written for and rejected by The Establishment.