Marriage, Motherhood, and Career: Have You Found that Balance?

| May 9, 2012

Note the arrangement of the terms and how career comes last. The same would be true if this article was titled: Marriage, Fatherhood and Career. Over the last few years, a lot of time and money has gone into studies dedicated to picking apart the correlation between working women and the state of marriages today. And although African women are more culturally in tune with their responsibilities and contributions, we are not immune to getting caught up in the culture of our host countries. While most of the studies have become redundant and meaningless and outright annoying, there is some truth to the fact that the rise in the number of career women has somewhat contributed to the down-spiral state of marriages today. One would think it would be the opposite.

But while studies have focused on the negatives, some women have proven that we can, indeed, have it all – the successful, happy marriage, great and happy responsible children, and a thriving career – if we know how to prioritize all three. All three require a lot of nurturing, attention, time and patience. However, women who do not know which one to dedicate more of themselves to, are the ones who eventually see the collapse of any one of the three, or all three for the unlucky ones. Women who end up indeed having it all are the ones who are smart enough to realize that it takes balance and a good sense of prioritizing.

An important question women should have at the back of their minds as they apply themselves in these three areas is this: which of the three responsibilities is the most important? Which one, if asked to choose, could you live without; because let’s face it, as much as we want all three to have equal importance, we will find ourselves having to make sacrifices at one point or another.

Ellen is a successful attorney with a husband and four children. She has one work rule: “never let work get in the way of family”! She never works more than a certain number of hours a week and she is out of the office by 3:30 in the afternoon so she can be home when the kids make it home from school. If she is in the middle of a conference call and one of her children calls, she excuses herself to take the call – no matter how trivial. To her, family is everything.

Some of you may think this is a woman who probably needs to just stay home and be a housewife if her family means that much to her. But, this works well for Ellen. She has her priorities, and she’s unwilling to compromise. She made that clear before she accepted the job. After all, she’s brilliant at what she does and she gets her work done. That’s what’s most important.

Mansah is also a successful attorney with a husband and three children. Her rule is to never let family get in the way of work. She works long hours and is always home after dinner. She works no less than 60 hours a week and is always too tired when she gets home to pay any attention to her husband and children. Her children don’t remember what their mom’s cooking tastes like because they rely on their father and the babysitter for that. She does not allow either her husband or her children to interrupt her at work.

Obviously, we can all argue that should Mansah find herself divorced or, worse yet, replaced by another woman, and her children going wayward, she need not be surprised because she has failed to nurture the other aspects of her life – her marriage and her family.

Many women argue that it takes a lot of time and money to build a career and to invest in one’s dreams. And one would surely hope that the same amount – of not greater – of time and energy goes into building a successful marriage and building a family. It is up to us women to decide which is more important to us. No one is asking that we choose, we simply need to gain some balance in the sense of priorities and then maybe, just maybe, we might be able to put things into perspective.   

Are you a career woman with a husband and children, or do you simply have an opinion you’d like to share. Please do so below. Or, perhaps, you liked what you just read, please use the pretty social buttons below to show us some loveJ

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