Women and Work Too Many Choices?

I am reading the most amazing book. Let me say, I am re-reading the most amazing book (because really I start books, put them down and get busy and have to RE START!) "Find Your Strongest Life" by Marcus Buckingham. One of the things he keeps asking is if women are happier then they were 20 or 30 years ago. The answer from all his studies is no!

One of the things making us unhappy? Too many choices. We wanted to have it all. The choice to work if we wanted and raise a family. The choice to not work. The choice to work part time or all the time. For some of us the economy made those choices for us, but still we feel torn. Should I work less and spend more time with the kids? Should I work more and try to get a promotion? Should I start the business I have been dreaming of? Should I quit the job I hate and see what's out there? Men make similar choices but they don't agonize over them!

"For all the dilemmas men face-and they have their share- there isn't much of a debate about whether they should work or put their family first. If they take an hour out of the day to meet their child at school, they're applauded. If they take a whole day, they're held up as exemplary models. And if they choose to stay at home, they have magazine articles written about them."

Isn't it annoying? True though. Certainly we don't want to go back to having less choices, but it's how we learn to use the choices that is the key. I'm the person who needed bestie to come with me to Bloomies the other day and find a pair of jeans. I almost had a panic attack seeing how many different kinds of jeans there were. I didn't want that many choices.

Since starting my own business I have made a lot of choices. I chose to start my business. Work more hours. Spend less time with the kids. Hire a nanny. These are choices I agonize over, even though I am still very present in my kids lives. I wonder about these choices and sometimes wake up at 4am thinking about them. 

Of course my husband is sleeping soundly next to me.


Suburban Princess said...

I wonder if a woman stays at home she feels she has let down all the other women.

My issue with feminism has always been that it didnt just get women and men meeting in the middle...it overtook and instead of men making what they did...salaries have come down. Which makes it even harder for women to make the choice to work....which really means there is no choice.

It's like I say in my book...it's ok to not want it all.

Debbie said...

I have always thought there were far too many choices in life. Know where it bothers me the most? Furniture shopping!

Legallyblondemel said...

Yes, I can so relate to this. I think us women are more likely to gather outside input anyways, and that just goes into overdrive when we have to decide over the really important stuff like staying at home with kids vs. pursuing a career.

And I laughed when you mentioned the 4 am thing; I was just sharing my concerns with my husband about bebe possibly giving another child the sniffles, and he sort of gazed at me blankly and repeated "It'll be fine." Not 'til I worry a lot more it won't! :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are too many choices, in particular when considering work and family. Don't me wrong. I still struggle with any menu that is more than 1 simple page. But it is not emotional for me. My real issue is that I just am not built to do things half-a**ed. When I worked full time, before 3 kids, I nailed it. Almost everyday. My real fear in going back to work, full force, is that I would be a crummy worker, a crummy mom, and then what's left for my marriage? I just don't think we can have it all, all the time, even though we may want it something wicked. So for now, I'm just trying to nail being a mom. BUt that doesn't mean I don't think about all the fabulous things I could be doing. Everyday.

Anonymous said...

I am a stay at home dad at first by the economy's choice and eventually mine. I have no magazine articles written about me, I do not want to be considered an exemplary model, and I do not wish for applause when I pick up kids, run errands, change diapers, let my wife attend events, or any other thing that happens during the course of a daily regimen of family. I feel blessed that my wife is strong, independent and a butt-kicker in a field dominated by men and egos. We work as a team and we cherish the moments with the kids whether they be good or bad, and funny enough I still have time to make many positive choices in my life-and feel like I am growing. It is unfortunate that you feel the way you do.I compliment your writing and your blog, but want you to realize that stereotyping men in this space will is not a positive step. I hear where you are coming from, but there are many sides to the parenting coin. Continued success in all of your endeavors.

Kate Nisbet Designs said...

i'm struggling with this now...I'll have to pick it up!

{it's me, kate, from "barefoot in the park" just under my new venture & real identity!}

ps: the above is why i need this book!

Solar Powered said...

Thanks for sharing it. I'm adding it to my list. I couldn't put it into words but all these choices since having a baby are what has made it stressful for me!