Monday, August 27, 2012

To Work And...

Millions of women in my generation work and have families. These days we hail this as emancipation, equal rights, better quality (cos more money) life, and so on. But I wonder too whether we're saddled with more than we can chew. I mean, men and women, increasingly, their roles have merged and have become quite similar.

Working outside the home has its perks. You get to go out and socialize. You get more meaning. It's hard to feel meaning when your teenage kid is making you hit the walls with his crazy antics. A career puts you on the fast lane. You feel a sense of achievement whenever goals are met and at work place, and that definitely happens more often and quicker. You get gratification, and they're quite instant. You get to put on a suit, some make-up, dress up and feel important. A housewife is often harried; the maid of the home. She cooks, clears and is a fixed presence at home. Never mind that some economists have calculated that if all this unpaid housework is counted into the economy it should make up about a third of the economy! Unpaid work... no glam. LOL!

In the home, you don't see the results of your labour until many years on. And the work you do feels mundane. These days even more so, with the availability of maids. It's hard to imagine something like laundry giving you that feeling that you get out of a career. Nor folding the same laundry for that matter. Plus kids can be hard to predict too. They sap you dry and test your patience to the limit. Nah... It's definitely not like a career.

And so the working woman shoulders on more because it's a chance for them to wear the pants too.... conquer the world. These days little girls are told that they are as good as boys. And indeed they are. Girls everywhere are doing better than boys.

But is there real equality? Women go out and work and guess what? They go home and more work awaits them. I wonder whether they've ended up with the raw end of the bargain. Work outside and home. And so, many become super women. For those who become less than super women, they employ maids to make up for the less... but that comes at a cost too. And it's not just in the monetary sense. They lose out on the quality for their downtime too.

Working women have more stress. They plan and run two sets of lives. And that's multitasking, probably another reason why women can do that well while not men. I belong to this new generation where such a gender equality is practiced. I run a harried life, living these 2 sets of lives. Prioritizing one over the other has reduced some of the stress but I find myself looking more for my quality time, which is a rare commodity these days...

It's harder to be a woman today than before. If in days of old, a girl grows up and gets married and stay at home to care for the family, today, choices mean they have to dig deeper to cope. The social reengineering while succeeding in transforming women's life hasn't been quite as successful with the men. Men are trying to help out more now but the bulk of the work at home still rests squarely on the women's shoulders... Double income is supposed to enable us to have more disposable income. But I wonder that too now... I see more troubled kids these days. And the state some are in worries me... We used to label kids with 2 working parents latch-key kids. The latch-key kids have evolved somehow too, more disjointed from reality and disenchanted because their world is getting even more fleeting these days. Mom's lack of presence might have something to do with it...

To work and be emancipated to stand equal with the men.....I am all for equality but I often wonder too whether equality in this sense is all that good for society. Life is this big picture made up of many interlocking pieces. We're changing those pieces. And I wonder whether these changed pieces will affect the big picture.

So to work and earn one's keep might be liberating but I wonder too whether that feeling of liberation is just another facade...

1 comment:

SM Ting said...

if we don't need d extra income i will opt out....then again money is just so attractive.

so i've decided that teaching is just part time job. my full time job is to have fun lol......

but d problem is boss doesn't treat me like part time worker.