Why You Don't Need To Become A Mother To Be A Role Model
Call this a feminist movement, an evolution of social dynamics in the workforce, or a good old wake-up call, but studies have shown women are increasingly disregarding the idea of feeling pressure to choose between their education and careers, versus a family life in the future.
Those stigmatized images of having women stay at home to nurture their families, or working women choosing not to have a family at all, isn’t considered the majority anymore because you know what? We want both.
According to an article from the NY Times, Claire Cain Miller writes that after gathering several studies involving women of the Millennial generation, this group of newcomer adults is opting for more of a flexible lifestyle that caters to not only their family life, but also their education and careers.
It has been proven that children with working mothers benefit more in their social lives, education and future careers, than those without.
Many would argue with this and reinstate the old mentality that having a mother stay at home and take care of the kids helps them get the proper attention, guidance, limits neglect and increases a support system for emergencies if the second parent is off working.
However, Miller has helped shed light on the myth with several studies pointing out that the perception of a mother’s role to children is utilized as a role model.
No one is saying the stay-at-home parent negates positive effects, but this sudden increase in becoming working moms in the Millennial generation has had a positive impact on both girls and boys.
According to HealthyChildren.org, children become more independent and learn to take care of themselves, as well as others, seeing how the constructs of a family is all about taking turns and helping around when everyone is going about certain schedules.
Husbands are more likely to help with household chores, be present for the children when needed and reinstate the value of treating everyone -- both female and male counterparts -- with respect.
Children absorb this, and having two parents model the importance of family helps them evolve more positively.
Being a 21-year-old woman in today's modern society, I have reached a point in my life where I need to consider my future at a deeper degree.
I was raised by a single mother, but was lucky enough that she brought work to the house when I reached the age of 4, after my sister was born. In contrast to this study, I had best of both worlds.
Some may argue that the fact she was home all the time does not contribute to the study’s statistics, but the fact of the matter is, her presence in the house could not compare to an actual stay at home parent.
In fact, after my parents’ divorce, which occurred when I was 10, my mother’s role of being a stay-at-home working mom teeter-tottered more toward an actual working mother.
Other than seeing her in the morning before school, half an hour after school and finally in the evening when she was done with work, the image of a stay-at-home parent really did not fit.
However, this wasn’t a case of neglect.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. I took in her work ethic, her independent personality and her comforting presence in a way that I acknowledged she was still my “ma” no matter what, and took it upon myself to be her “right hand man,” or as we joked, her “copilot.”
My mother’s presence did not debilitate me in any way to want to pursue an education or a career, but did just the opposite.
With her strong persona and exuding qualities, she helped me become the person I am today.
Delighted as I am that the gender gap between parents and dividing responsibilities in raising children has evolved into something more positive, I can’t say I feel any more motivated to want to do the same.
To be quite frank, having kids is in the back of my mind, considering the fact I am still in school.
But for the sake of conversation, if I were to have the choice, I would probably choose my career over wanting to settle down and have kids.
I’ve never been the nurturing type of person to begin with, but working toward a career that would involve a lot of traveling, an erratic schedule and not the greatest pay, striving to be a journalist just does not seem to fit.
I am not saying it is impossible to be a good mother, to have a great relationship with a partner and to establish a loving family while doing what you love, but it would definitely be difficult.
Like I stated before, these positive results of working mothers engaging in both work and home life have given children a positive role model to look up to.
However, with my plans of not being home a lot, not having time to run on a routine or even give myself to others, these children of mine would lack what they need, and this is not what I would want for any child deserving the proper love and support.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one feeling this way, as Polly Vernon wrote a similar opinion in an article for The Guardian.
Vernon explains how she simply did not have an appetite for such a life, and has been completely content with her decision.
Unfortunately, the expectancy of women having children or establishing a family at some point in their lives has been forced upon her as a guilt trip, and this is what we need to stop.
Do I believe I can have it all? Sure, I can; my mother did it, and millions of other women have, are and will do it too. But that life just isn’t for me.
Instead, I have chosen to offer myself through my writing, and hope that maybe some mind out there reading my writing will use me as a role model to reach his or her dreams.