In the 1950s, sitcoms reflected families such as the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver or the Kramdens in the Honeymooners. Both June Cleaver and Alice Kramden were strong wives that supported their husbands. While Alice had a considerably sharper approach than her Cleaver counterpart, both women found their roles primarily based in the home.
Successful Women in Business
Fast forward to the 1980’s and sitcom,s with a significantly different take on spousal roles were at the forefront. The Cosby Show, Family Ties and Growing Pains all showed very different takes on the roles of married couples. Bill and Claire Huxtable as a married couple and parents were both high achieving, working parents; Bill as a doctor and Claire as a lawyer. Family Ties also portrayed two working parents, with Elyse working as an architect and Steven as a station manager. Growing Pains was another very popular 80’s sitcom that followed the Seaver family. Dr. Jason Seaver was a working psychiatrist that is forced to work from home when his wife, a great example of women in business, decided to go back into the workforce as a reporter. All three of these shows reflect a distinct and powerful shift in real life gender roles from the 50s. Moms and wives were no longer relegated to the home and became important contributors in the workforce.
Most Successful Women in Business
In fact, women have come a long way and are making names for themselves in the workplace as women in business. Sandra Day O’Connor made history as the first female Supreme Court Justice appointed in 1981 by President Reagan. We currently have three female justices serving: Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. We recently had a female candidate run for President and there are currently 24 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. While there is still work to be done in achieving total equality, it cannot be denied that there has been a substantial role reversal from the era of the 1950s, with women in business occupying more and more of the positions in the workforce and books for women in business, like Lean In, lining the shelves of bookstores.
Not only are women taking on what were once traditionally men’s roles, sometimes they are forced to do it all. Where marriage was once the norm, single parent households are quickly catching up. There are approximately 12 million single parent households in the United States and around 84% of those households are run by women. Single parents face a heavy burden, raising and providing for their families.
Beyond the role reversals between husband and wife or single parenting, there are also shifts in the workplace. More parents are opting to start their own businesses or create income around something that allows them to work in the home. Books for women in business emphasize flexibility and new ways of working to get it all done.
Some moms choose to be women in business by starting a daycare or childcare center to allow them to stay home with their children while still generating an income. Some parents opt to seek out jobs that allow them to work from home, such as telemarketing, customer service or data entry. With the wave of technological advances, we have recently experienced it is also easier to telecommute from home. More employers are open to giving their employees this opportunity as it becomes a more widespread practice, so women in business are even better positioned to succeed.
Women Successful in Business
These role reversals opened a lot of doors for women and also present some challenges. When it comes to the distribution of work there are basic challenges facing every family: earn income sufficient to support needs, find enough hours for quality time together and everything in between that it takes to run a household. Some parents have difficulty finding balance in their lives, with work dominating or becoming so child centric that everything else falls to the wayside. There are several strategies you can use to help.
- Identify your priorities. Priorities will change and shift over time. As your children grow older you may feel more comfortable working more often. Or perhaps as you become more established in your job you may want to telecommute part-time. The how and why of prioritizing is determined once you identify your priorities. It’s not a bad idea to list them, in order, and post them somewhere you will see them frequently
- Don’t be scared to ask for help. Help can come in many forms. The unfortunate reality is that there simply are not enough hours in the day to cook, clean, dress, bathe, educate, work, etc. If you have family and friends available, lean on them. Check out the best books for women in business to get ideas on how other successful women juggle it all. Don’t be afraid to outsource. Would you rather be at the park with your kids on your day off or cleaning the bathroom? We will happily clean your bathrooms and the rest of your home while you spend time on something on your priorities list.
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It is easy to feel overwhelmed or have feelings of inadequacy when so much falls on your shoulders. Remember to take a deep breath and know you are doing the best you can. Feelings of guilt or shame don’t help you or your loved ones. If you find yourself in a negative emotional space, see items 1 and 2 and always practice self-care. If you aren’t remembering to take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy or perspective to care for anyone else.
Whether your family looks like the Cleavers of the 1950s, the Seavers of the 1980s or anything in-between, it is important to embrace your role and distribute your time to the people and things that matter most. If you are having trouble juggling all those roles, call us; we’d love to help.