The balance between taking care of the family, and earning enough money to have a “successful” life, has become a dilemma that most families have to face. In order to raise the children with the values that people want them to have, sometimes it is necessary to invest a lot of time, and companies do not allow their workers to have this free time.
According to the data that the National Health Interview Survey Occupational Health Supplement released in 2010,16% of United States workers reported difficulty balancing work and family, and almost 50% of workers were likely to take the stress that they get in their jobs, and bring it into their homes.
At this point is important to ask, what does balance really mean? And also, how do people get proper balance in their lives?
In the past, the mother of the family stayed home to raise the children, and the father went to work every day to earn enough money to survive, but nowadays the consumerism system and advertisement make people buy a lot more goods than they used to buy, which leads to the fact that there is not enough money in a family with just one salary.
The system makes families want to get always a higher economic level, and also look like they are part of that socioeconomic status, therefore nowadays is has become more important to have the latest television and cell phone, the most extravagant car, and to wear always the most unique and new clothes.
Here it’s when the problem comes: the economic system itself makes people choose between having a lot of money to buy all these expensive goods, knowing that probably they will have to spend a lot of hours at work and accumulate stress, or live a little bit more modestly, but also enjoy the family and free time from work.
Couples have gotten to the point in which they have to decide if they really want to have children, knowing that maybe they won’t have enough time to raise them, or enough money to have a “successful” life.
According to the Statistical Center of the European Union, the last year there were more deaths than births in 43% of the 211 regions in the EU territory, that implies that families are actually considering the possibility to live without children and improve their development in work instead of raising children.
Families that do decide to have children also have to decide how they want to raise them, according to the values of the families and their countries, but also how they are going manage to give them the time that they need without being less productive in their jobs.
Also some parents decide to hire babysitters that end up raising the children, and in some cases that may lead to the problem that parents believe that babysitters are making all the work for them, so they forget about their children and decide to pay more attention to their jobs and to making money, than playing with their children and giving them quality of time together.
When the children feel that they don’t have enough attention from their parents, they start looking for it in other places, for example failing a test in school or getting involved in fights just for their parents to pay attention in them, but it could get worst when they decide to look for some attention by getting into drugs, alcohol and coupling with the wrong peers.
The reason because I chose this subject is because as a woman I know that if I want to have children, someday I’ll have to make the decision of how to raise them, and decide what steps I would have to follow if I want to have a good balance between work and family.
Also I’m concerned about this subject because the values that a kid gets in the family are the ones that will shape his or her personality and therefore be reflected in the society, and if the parents don’t pay attention at that, kids may suffer for lack of attention, and the values of the family would be lost.
In summary, I think that there could be a balance, but everything depends on the determination of the parents to take the time to raise their children correctly and use the tools that are available, like a babysitters and baby day care, but without depositing all the responsibility in those institutions.
Also I think that the balance would be achieved in a better way if the companies allowed their workers to have some extra free time once in a while, so that they spend that time with their children.
Dilemma Situationen, erarbeitet von InterMedia Studierenden an der FH Vorarlberg in der Lehrveranstaltung Medienethik.