A career….and a family? Say what?

 Although I’m determined to keep my personal ranting to a minimum, I do feel compelled to share my thoughts after reading Marc Brownstein’s smart (albeit one-sided) discussion of working momsin last week’s Advertising Age online “Small Agency Diary.”

In his post, Brownstein asserted that agencies must realize the value of providing flexible work structures to accommodate new mothers. Citing the large percentage of young women in key roles, relative to other industries, he explains that a family-friendly policy will encourage loyalty and productivity:

“It’s tougher to find special talent these days. If you make accommodations for working moms, it may come back to you in terms of increased loyalty.

“Technology enables your staff to work remotely in a seamlessly manner. If you hire people you trust, the working mothers will often do more than you expect, and everyone wins. I measure results, not hours worked.”

I agree that companies should do what they can to accomodate parents’ responsibilities to their families. However, I think that Brownstein missed an opportunity to truly be as modern as he suggests. His concluding reason to accommodate moms is that “It’s 2008. It’s the right thing to do.” But in 2008, it’s not just mothers who play an important role in raising children. What about the fathers? In a truly modern society, we would accept the need for dads to enjoy many of the same considerations that mothers do. Denying a father’s equal need to be with his family merely serves to perpetuate the archaic stereotype of Mr. Dad waltzing through the front door, welcomed by the aroma of cooking pork chops and expectantly announcing “Honey, I’m home!”

That said, Brownstein’s post was, in a way, refreshing. To be honest, I feel that through my 4 years of education at the university level, I’ve not even heard so much as a whisper from faculty members about the f-word: family. Instead, it’s all about The Career.

Yes, I know I’m not majoring in how to be a good wife. But I do think it’s important.

The sad thing is, I feel a twinge of guilt even saying that. Maybe not guilt, but it’s some degree of uneasiness. Not to get into a battle of the sexes, but I do feel pressure to be a modern woman – independent, career-oriented, and strong. That means, when it’s my turn to explain my post-college goals, I better not say “get married and have kids.” It’s too June Cleaver. Instead, we talk about how to build a fantastic portfolio. We discuss how to get that stellar first job. We consider proper business attire and how to network. We strategize how to climb that ladder. We pretend we are lone expeditionists, off to seek our fortune and stake a claim for ourselves.

So it’s just nice to know that in the “real world” families really do exist and that having a fulfilling professional career and being a devoted wife and mother are not mutually exclusive. And if I really want, I can wear pearls while gardening, cook pork chops, kiss my husband hello, and still be a modern woman.

Image courtesy of jupiter images

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: