In today's society, there are two basic types of women. There is the Homemaker and the Working Woman. Now, within these two types of women there are the women that have children and the women who do not. Both types of women are hardworking, strong, and independent women. Both types of women represent the American Woman in all forms. Yet, society has varying views on the value of both the Homemakers and the Businesswomen.
The Homemaker is viewed in two different ways. The first is admiration. Her family takes top priority with nothing else vying for her attention. She cooks, cleans, does laundry, carpools children, and is a lover, all the while being a wife and mother. (Ooo. I rhymed. Extra credit right here.) The second is view is scorn. She does all of these things, yet is she content? Doesn't she have dreams? Doesn't she want more?
The Businesswoman is also viewed in two different ways. The views are the same as the Homemaker. The first is Admiration. She works in the corporate world and has a family. She is able to take care of her family and have a career. The second view is scorn. Is she able to give both priorities enough time and effort to make them both successful? Are her children getting enough “mommy” time? Is her relationship with her husband as a wife and lover able to grow and flourish? Is her job taken care of in a way that is productive to the company?
The answers to all of these questions are yes. There are women who are content being homemakers. There are women who want something different. A woman can succeed in the business world while succeeding as a wife and mother. Children with working mothers grow up to be normal human beings, just like those children whose mothers stayed home with them. Husbands whose wives work outside the home are loved and nurtured just like those whose wives stay at home. The two family types may function differently, but both can be happy, “normal”, loving families. Yet, with all this said, there are still parts of society that looks at the woman who works outside the home and says “ Tisk, tisk. That woman is neglecting her family.” On the other hand the Homemaker is looked at in the same way only on a more personal level, with worry focused on the person and not so much on the activities with which she is involved. Well, at least both sides are talking about the other and no one is being singled out.
Let's look at the Homemaker. Her job is not an easy one. She is constantly being pulled in several different directions. She has a full time job cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, raising children, and being a wife. The question “Does she want more?” still arises. It depends on the woman. Some women are perfectly happy being a Homemaker. They love their job as a wife and mother and need nothing else to fulfill them. They take time out for themselves when needed, but taking care of others is what keeps them going. Yet there is the Homemaker who wants more and is not content with “just being at home”. If she is not truly happy, how can she effectively take care of her family? There are women who do long for more than the role of homemaking and that is where we meet the Working Mother.
The Working Mother is not so different from the Homemaker. She also cooks, cleans, does laundry, has children, and a husband, but has a corporate job as well. She is a wife and mother and businesswoman all at the same time. She carpools children, goes to soccer games, little league games, sits on the PTA board, and takes care of her husband. Whether she is a doctor in the E.R., a lawyer, a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, or a politician on Capitol Hill, it does not change the fact that she loves her family. While it is true that it is not always a fairy tale life, the vast majority of women prioritize well (since that is what women do) and work hard at putting their families come first.
The Working Mother is a fairly new phenomenon. Only since the Second World War have women truly begun to work outside the home for any reason other than a financial one. Women have begun to work outside the home because they enjoy it. Whereas, during WWII, when they were forced to take up the jobs the husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers had had before the war, now women were realizing they enjoyed the idea of working outside the home. They wanted to be a part of the world in a new way. They had only recently acquired the right to vote and now they wanted to be a part of the work force that was truly affected by their vote.
I believe whole-heartedly that women can choose what they want to do. That women can be successful at whatever they put their minds too. I grew up in a home where my mom stayed home with us. I have friends who had moms working outside of the home. And we all went to college, are emotionally stable people, and are working towards our dreams. I work for a family where the mom works outside the home and I have full faith that little Luke will also go to college, be emotionally stable, and go on to be a successful adult who will make his parents proud.
The judgment and guilt put on women who work outside the home with a family in tow is unfair and wrong. And it is wrong for the working woman to look down with superiority on the homemaker. There are always going to be reasons behind the decision of each woman to stay at home or work outside the home. And we will never know all of those reasons. So where does the right to judge come from?