Every mother runs a small country called home
|Painting by Jessie Wilcox Smith|
"Women carry the puzzle of family life in our heads."
Allison Pearson argues that it is not possible to be a committed mother and excel in the boardroom, because the world of work still does not accommodate for the realities of motherhood.
"Every mother in this room ... runs a small country called home, she is its health minister and the secretary of state for homework and in charge of policing unsuitable boyfriends." Allison said.
"Let me tell you, those women at boardroom level are not having it all, when I wrote a novel ... I spoke to hundreds of high achieving women and what did they tell me privately ... the women said that they were failing to meet their own high standards at work and at home.” (source)
Whilst I am a working wife and mother (to adult children), I completely agree with Allison Pearson. Women cannot run a household, raise children and be in a high-powered job. It just doesn't work. If you want the high-powered job, forget marriage and children. No matter which way you look something has to give. As Pearson states in her speech (which is well worth watching), women are running a small country called "HOME" and if we neglect this, everything falls apart as in a puzzle that is suddenly dropped. We, as women, have a responsibility that we need to take seriously. We are the guardians of our home and our husband's "helpmate" and we can't do this if we are married to our high-powered and come home exhausted.
The Bible is clear about the role of younger women. When Paul wrote about young women being keepers of their home and caring for their children, it is important to note that women at that time were not out working in offices as they are today. However, they weren't at home; they were having coffee with friends (or the equivalent in biblical times), busy gossiping over the back fence or meddling in affairs that they shouldn't be meddling in. Their focus wasn't on their family, they were not taking responsibility of their "small country" and they were neglecting their husbands. Their behaviour was unbecoming of a married Christian woman - they were falling into the ways of the world and all that was ugly. Women who are at home also need to be mindful of this - you can be at home and still neglect your family.
As I wrote in a recent blog about women and work (link), if you do need to work outside the home (or even run a home-based business), it is important to only choose those jobs that do not impact on your "small country". Many mothers in Australia work part-time hours for this reason. Many are in lower paid jobs that allow them to take their children to and from school and many women are willing to sacrifice promotion so they can spend the time with their families and remain a dutiful manager of their small country. However, there are women (particularly younger women these days) who think they can have it all. If a woman want that high powered career, go ahead, but I wouldn't suggest you marry or have children. Marriage and children require far too much attention for a woman in a very senior position of a company to dedicate to.
Like anything in life, find the balance and if you choose the boardroom, be willing to sacrifice the family. But if you choose family, be willing to sacrifice the boardroom for something less ambitious.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Titus 2: 3:5