WOMEN, WORK, AND FAMILY
Cecilia La Madrid-Dy, Ph.D. DPA / GPW Philippines Vice President
Everyday, millions of women live a kind of hectic lifestyle. They’re scrambling to run two lives-one at home and one at work. They want to be good wives and mothers, but they also want to be intellectually stimulated by a challenging career or at least bring in a second income to help their households get by. For some, it’s a full, exciting life. Others feel overwhelmed with having so much to do, never feeling like they are doing any one thing really well.
Women who give priority to their family and spiritual life and who are still able to use and develop their other talents can remind us of the superwoman describe in Proverbs 31. That biblical chapter shows a talented, industrious, innovative wife putting her God-given talents to use as a productive member of society, with support from her husband.
They want to be able to help and serve others, be productive, solve problems, use their creativity, meet challenges and learn new concepts and skills. Even though a lot of these things can be achieve at home, having some additional growth opportunities outside the family unit can be much appreciated.
The extra paycheck for the family is a huge motivator for wives to work. For some, it maybe to buy “wants” rather than “needs.” But these days, many households feel the need for two incomes just to get by financially. The cost of a home, utilities, taxes, food, clothing and educational expenses are beyond the income ability of the typical one-income family. And women at the lower end of the economic spectrum often cannot find a full-time job, so they work multiple part-time or unskilled jobs.
Women should know how to handle their family. Chances are, even in Proverbs 31 a woman knew her limits. While she did have outside business pursuits, she didn’t let things hinder her spiritual life or physical health or let her family responsibilities slide. She probably wasn’t gone from home 50 or 60 hours a week, either. Keep in mind, too, that she had servants to help out with the housework, which most middle-and lower- income women today do not have. For many women, the ideal in terms of working is probably part-time. This is enough to provide some outside fulfillment and boost the household income. But it’s not so much that it takes away from the family or a woman’s personal life.
Research shows that working women are more prone to stress-related ailments than stay-at-home women. That’s because many working women try to cram too much into their schedules and do not have enough time to relax. Stress can weaken a woman’s immune system, making her more susceptible to illness. Working women typically do not get enough sleep either—and that is certainly something everyone needs.
So what does a woman do if she either needs or would like to work? Can a woman combine a career and family and not short-change either? With the right job opportunity and a supportive husband and children, a woman may be able to manage quite well with a full time job and still have a smooth-running household. With time becoming ever more precious and family finances getting tighter and tighter, it’s important to keep your priorities straight and pray that God will help you make the right decisions about how you use your time. Your family is counting on you to make wise decisions.
Every woman can live the life she imagines, the first step is knowing what that looks like.