About the changing world all around us

I would like to thank all of you whom have participated in discussions after my articles. Today I give a special thanks to Captain Lifecruiser who took the time to set herself in my latest theme and inspired today’s article.

Captain Lifecruiser writes:” Now it’s not a choice any more, it’s a MUST to work and to NOT care for your kids to get more money to the household. That’s a bad thing, because those kids needs their parents and not other people, to give them their mothering and education for life. The parents is stuck with our high living standards expectations.”

What she was talking about in much of her comment is role conflict, especially for women – but also for men in modern society. Parents today are overcommitted and often find that it is difficult or impossible to satisfactorily combine work and family.

working mommy

The main source of role conflict for women is the idea of “having it all.” Trying to meet the demands of being a good wife and mother, and at the same time successful in meeting the increasing demands of a workplace with fewer and fewer limits in time and space. Many modern workplaces expect their employees to be available all hours of the day and willing to do an initiative in the evenings from home as well. This applies especially to private industry.

This is not news to any of you reading now, I suppose. When we first are in this situation how can we deal with it for the future?

Spouse participation at home – Young families today are finding new ways of combining care for their children and homes. While women have ventured long out into the typical “mans sphere” men now have changing roles on the home front.

Developing strategies for reducing time pressures – Primarily setting limits on the limitless workday. Not allowing themselves to be pressed in to longer hours, turning off their cell phone, and refusing to work on the PC from home in the evenings. Another strategy is to work less then full time, for example 80%. The downside of these strategies is that it can hinder the women in moving up within a field, and it clearly effects the amount she gets in pension in most European countries which base the amount of pension on individual earnings.

Efficiency ala mother

Family Friendly legislation – One good way to deal with the effects of the role – time conflict between the family and workplace is to organize for better laws which protect workers rights to a private life. A good example is the extended paid maternity (and paternity) leave of absence in the Scandinavian countries.

How are you dealing with role conflict in modern society? Do you have other role conflicts? What about care for the elderly for example. It would be especially interesting to hear from some of you guys out there. What are your conflicts?? Please share your reflections and experiences with us!


Comments on: "Role confict in modern society" (12)

  1. Thanks for mentioning me 🙂

    Lots of roles conflicts today yes. Actually, I have to come back to give my answer on this another day, hopefully tomorrow. Because I fear my answer will become as long as the other day…. I’m too tired right now to not ramble too much…. *giggles*

    DianeCA: Fully understandable Captain, you need you beauty sleep 🙂 Renny and I are both the ‘midnight editor’ type!! Not a good habit actually!

  2. I was raised by my grandparents, so there was a big difference in our ages. 60 years. I was raised with a very traditional woman’s role in the world circa 1925 even though I am 49. I grew up wanting to be a Mommy. A wife and a Mommy! *giggles*
    So raising my kids, and taking care of my home was the most important thing to me. Even now, the kids are grown and gone, I am at home with Hubby and we enjoy retirement.
    My daughter is 31 and she wants to “have it all”, but all she has is a high paying, highly important job. SO far no man, no children and she keeps saying there is no time. I worry for her happiness.

    DianeCA: I understand your worry, its a common situation these days. More and more women are wanting to get their education finished and career started and suddenly realize the clock is ticking. However many women are having their first babies well into their 30’s and we will cross our fingers and hope everything goes well for your girl. On the brighter side 30 year olds usually make fantastic mothers because they’ve got their act together and are far more mature then I was at 21 when my first child came as an oooops…..

    By the way, that hurried marriage ended in divorce and single parenthood…maybe your daughters situation isn’t so bad. She’s more responsible then I was.

  3. That cartoon is so “ME”, and i love how motherhood has made me that way!

    Could write a whole bloody thesis on this subject, so i’ll check in later 😉

    DianeCA: Hehehe actually at my workplace they could use a bit of that kind of management. It would be an improvement! If you write a thesis send it along, I’ll publish it!!

  4. I could write a thesis on “conflict” with this topic. As i’ve been so much in the real heart of such change, perhaps there is value for me to write further in more detail on my blog. It’s been close to 7 years since i gave birth to my son. I’m quite over the “conflict” and have been in the receiving end of positive changes. This is why i am hesitant in indulging conflict (granted that it’s valid and requires acknowledgement) – i’m far more interested in the positive action & changes that is taking place in the “now”.

    Thing is – there IS a lot of positive changes that have transpired across the last few years that have been impacted by Australia’s baby boom and this trend has been progressively increasing with time. Businesses are changing how they’re doing things, but people too. New mothers (with careers established before childbirth) are forced to become so resourceful that it is exactly like that cartoon in this post. No time to waste – let’s get on with changing our lives and finding better ways to do things more efficiently.

    Some wil manage things remarkably well while others won’t. I’m in contact with many women(mothers) in Down Under that have done some pretty amazing things. Here’s one fantastic example of constructive change taking place already:

    Kate Skyes (mum) – founder of Career Mums
    website: http://www.careermums.com.au
    She created a jobs classifieds website connecting mums to family-friendly employers. The service provides advice for women getting back into the workforce, but also communicates the benefits of considering flexible working arragements with businesses as well. Job-sharing, work-from-home, parti-time/casual arrangements with flexible hours.

    I facilitate Newtown Mums
    website: http://www.newtownmums.com.au
    We are very keen to hear from & support other businesses who are doing similar things that advocate for more family-friendly policiies & ethos in their communities.

    DianeCA: Newtownmums looks like a great place for Mums to meet and share and laugh at themselve and the world a bit. I like the edgy, fun loving feel of this blog…and the header fascinates me….Careermums is a great idea. I am all for positive action. It is wonderful to see mothers helping mothers find out of this sticky business of having it all. I’m glad that after 7 years your situation feels stable…let me assure you it won’t stay that way LOL – just the voice of experience here. You think it gets easier as they get older but each fase has its charms.

    It’s important that we take positive action to help eachother through and to redifine how we would like society to be. I see a lot of resourceful women reflected in these sights but keep in mind that resourcefulness varies. Some situations are more difficult than others, some women are so worn out from making ends meet that they don’t know where to find help and don’t have the mental energy to try. Thats why we need to also let our government know that we want legislation which protects the rights of families. Our children are their future and it shouldn’t be “survival of the fittest” but rather “united we stand”.

    Thank you so much for you positive efforts through Newtownmums and for sharing with us here.

  5. I love aka R’acquel ‘s examples and I can only hope that there will be many other similar places all over the world.

    Though we do have more opportunities to work from home here in Sweden on many work places, not only for Mums. (*giggles* Mums in Swedish means Yummy!) What I think is that the whole attitude must change towards humanity. Much more humanity-thinking must be forced upon this society we have today. If we had that in mind all the time, all kind of problems would not even show up.

    Since you’re mentioning it, I’ll bring up the care for the elderly too. It’s similar to the child care actually, the difference is that the elderly hardly have anyones that is defending their situation. To help them when they’re treated badly. I actually think that it has been more of a storage of the elderly (and the kids too) than to be called CARE. Even if it’s on its way to change, but it’s changing too slow.

    I’ve seen really bad examples of this with my own Mom which nearly cost us her life. All the time we have had to rescue her, the staff hasn’t been able to understand/read the signs – or care – that she was that sick. How many elderly is actually dying because they don’t have any relatives that can warn? No wonder there are role conflicts here too.

    Swedes work all the time and can’t take care of their elderly too – or as in our case, our Mom is too ill to be at home since she needs supervising 24/7. Some people works so long hours that they hardly have any time for their own kids, no wonder their elderly never gets visits from them! And there the bad conscious carousel is spinning once again….

    My Mom is lucky, because she get visits almost every day from her children (she is famous all over the building for that actually :-), because the others seldom get any visits at all! That’s truly confirming my “storage” thoughts. I have to end that with saying that it’s a change on the way, the staff is getting much more education in those kind of matters too, but it’s not enough and not fast enough. It’s humans suffering there meanwhile. Sometimes I’m thinking: the old way of doing things was not so bad, at least the families could be together then…. Oh, I would have loved to go back in time to check it out, to be able to compare to nowadays. Which is worst? The poor conditions back then when it comes to standards, work conditions, health etc – or the stressful, rich (?) society we see today? Best for the humanity?

    It’s an interesting question…

    DianeCA: It’s an interesting question and a real dilemma! What we need is a more holistic approach to society and care for all the people. We need workers, and lets face it many of us women (definatley me) love our jobs. We need to keep on having babies…otherwise the population will die out…and we are living longer then ever before. These problems need to be seen as a whole and solved! I have worked in the preschool system in Norway (Daggies? in Sweden) and we did the best we could to make sure the kids had a good environment to be in, but lets face it…its a challange. The system for elderely care in most parts of the world is awful, it really is mass human storage in some of these so called homes. The policy of keeping the elderly in thier own homes (alone) until it is dangerous for them is no better. I don’t have the best modell or anything but change would truly be a good thing here!

    Maybe the traditional family wasn’t so bad, multigenerational families solve these problems by providing both child and elderly care. However the conflict comes in with the new individualism and self development, which also does have its positive sides. Multigenerational families also have their unique problems as we all know familes are not always so harmonic. (A brief thought of sharing a home with my parents again…..shivering…..) Nope we can’t go back, we must go forward – and we need to find new solutions to take care of all.

  6. The old way wasn’t s bad in that way, but surely a lot of other problems yes. The questions is if they were so bad at that time as they would be now if we were forced to go back…
    I do agree with you there. There is no turning back. Always forward. Though I think that new solutions takes wayyyy too long time to be developed. Unfortunately. And I really don’t understand why they should take so long time. Nothing should hold us back.

    DianeBA: No there is no turning back, and why would we. We deserve education, we deserve a social network and jobs we love….we need a new plan. However nothing makes waves like family politics…everyone has a strong opinion on how it things should be..and tradition is hard to change. Let us follow along with politics in society and do our part to change things for the better.

  7. Hello Dianne,

    First of all,Id like to thank you for the messages that you left on my blog.I really appreciate them 🙂

    you have a healthy topic here.yeah,women of today can do everything and still striving to play every role of human being 🙂 being a working mom,the major conflict for me is spending quality time with my children and husband.i made the solution,i lessened my working time,im lucky im free to decide about that.

    through my observations here in Japan,women get tougher everyday,claiming good salaries that drive them to feel that their hubbies are no longer necessary in their lives.LOL!for me,it doesnt mean “ruining” their families,although i sympathize the kids that suffer psychologically.

    great post you have!

    DianeCA: Being a working mom is a tough job. We all have our challenges, thankfully mine are a bit better now that my kids are teens. I also work part time so I can study, plus be mom and wife. The only problem with reducing our hours for our families is that in many countries our pensions are based on our earnings when we are in the work force. After we have reduced our wages to take care of our families, we live in poverty when we retire because we don’t earn as much as men. Yet the men, who are also parents, usually don’t wind up in the same situation….

    Thanks for your comments and support!! Looking forward to seeing your home!

    thanx for the advice about our house searching.we`re finally done and it was a relief!


  8. Things are not easy. Situations are different. Each situation waits answer. Laws are the most often created by men. If the number of women in politic could grow, perhaps things could change quickly; Of course if women decide to stay at home…Mentalities must change . I’m ok with the captain: we have to take care with our old and our children. So we need social laws to help and protect the families. But with the economical crise..Will go the futur laws in the good direction? When I hear my president crying:”working more to win more!” When men and women are called to work the sunday when their children are free. when the purchasing power bring down…I must admit women who create original systems to help other women can be a great idea! We must inovate in this domain.
    I have educated my daughters without a doubt. Found a family is a big responsability. The best thing is to share this responsability with your partnair. You never know who you will in several years. You never know exacly how he will. You spoke about metamorphose, wasn’t it? The only solution: be free and independant. I can love only if I’m free. and protect our children the best we can!

    Yes, we need more women in government…and more men helping at home (even french men LOL). Change is slow and in a way that is okay. Rapid change has problems we haven’t even considered yet I am sure. We have to take care of our elderly and our children. With the aging population – people living longer – think the elderly will soon be a larger problem then the children. We need to find a way to respect people of all ages and if women choose to be home to help take care of their families they must not be punished when it is time for them to recieve pension! Renny says hello too…but now I want to get him in to bed.. (ohh la la!)

  9. I missed your blog opening because I was sick and only start now to get better. This subject (working women) has always interested me because looking back now, I think it is a pity that minds haven’t changed more. This old believe that a woman has to stay home to take care of the children is a pure invention of men. They need a servant at home and not an independant woman (at least a lot of them). In good situated families the woman had a nanny and a cook at least and didn’t take care of her children either and as far as I know they didn’t become all criminals.
    I have always worked and loved it. I would have been a bad mother if I had only stayed home. I started working in 1963 and in Belgium most of the women worked. Not so much because they needed it but because most of them had university study and worked as lawyer, architect, professor, doctor, etc. By no means they didn’t want to drown their profession in dishwater. Belgium had already children daycare in the 60th and 3.5 months payed materinity. You could also take unpayed vacation for education purposes. I became mother at 30 because I wasn’t ready before. At that time I was an “old” mother ! All my friends and women I know have always worked and raised 2 – 5 children at the same time, yes even 5 ! and all kids came out fine. Staying at home mothers were and are not well seen, they are said to be lazy and depend on their husbands. Of course I know that a SAHM sometimes has more work than a working one. Belgium, compared to other countries has also quite a lot of women in the government. One of them is President of the CDH party (Human Democratic Center) and has 4 children just as an example. I think every woman should have the choice to work or not and man of course too. There are certainly a lot of man who would prefer to stay home and raise children instead of working outside the whole day.
    I can’t say very much about taking care of the elderly, because here again they are very good taken care of. Of course sometimes incidents happens. Nothing is perfect.

    DianeCA: Such good benifits for women Belgium had, at e very early time in history! I didn’t know that. I am glad to hear that there are good benefits for both the youngest and the oldest in Society. Norway also has excellent benefits, but everything can be improved 🙂 However many other places don’t have as good social regulations, and that is something women collectively must speak up about. I am originally from USA and I was always a working mother, I had very little choice – we couldn’t live on one salary. However in many places the ideal of the SAHM is a myth. Okay not exactly a myth, but is not the dominant practice in reality. My mother worked, my grandmother worked, all my aunts worked, and my great aunts worked. We were Irish immigrants and most of my moms family worked in the same factory (produced clothes). The women were in the work force but the benefits weren’t there for the familes…as you say…we all turned out fine however!

  10. I wish I could find such a family-friendly career site like the careermums that aka R’acquel mentions above from around here. I’d love to have some kind of part time work from home, so I can be with Soma when he is young. And it would keep my resume fresh. 🙂

    DianeCA: Sometimes we are forced to make a choice and I believe family is usually the right one. Your resume will take care of itself in due time!

  11. Very interesting and helpful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now 😉

  12. Nice! Appreciate it! =)

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