The Second Shift Essay

This essay has a total of 1112 words and 5 pages.

The Second Shift



Many women today are facing choices that their mothers never had to face. One of these
choices is whether or not to go back to work after having a child. This was practically
unheard of in the 1950's. In the 1990's it is not whether the mother will or will not go
back to work rather a question of when. When did the choice become set in stone? Why do
the mothers of today have to work outside the home versus working in the home, much like
their mothers did?

When one thinks of the subject of working mothers, many differing opinions come to mind.
What will happen to the child, will the mother have sufficient time to bond with the baby,
how will household chores be divided, and so on. When thinking of working women, two
models come to mind. One of which is paid employment that has a protective and beneficial
mediating effect. Employment protects women against certain negative aspects of being
full-time homemakers and mothers, such as monotonous housework, dependence on the male
partner for financial and emotional support, increases self-esteem because they are
contributing to the world they live in. These women receive a renewed interest in life
because they are in the thick of it. They are living life to the fullest. This model is
the one that is constantly referred to as "bad" because it paints the woman as someone who
does not really care about the effect of working will have on the baby. In fact, most of
these mothers have made this choice with painstaking care. They are constantly feeling
what everyone is thinking, and this in turn causes undue stress on these mothers.

The other model of the working mom is the one most people think of when discussing working
mothers. This model is one of a woman having too many demands of her --housewife, mother
and paid employee - which may lead to role strain due to fatigue and role overload. The
competing demands of such roles may also lead to conflict and psychological stress. Both
of these models can be seen in the working mother at any given time. They are simply a
fact of life, a by-product of the world in which we live. Mothers are constantly jumping
back and forth in these roles, striving to find a sense of balance.

But is there such a thing? Most of the time the scales are tipped one way or another,
there is never a true sense of balance. I believe this is how the mothers survive. If the
scales were balanced, it would seem that they would either be cruel heartless women,
simply concerned with their jobs, and caring less about their children. This is simply not
the case. It seems that the ideal situation is when the father helps around the house, as
to alleviate some of the stress the mother feels from working and the ability for the
mother to have a flexible schedule.

Role decisions within the family unit need to increase when the mother returns to work. In
order for both partners to be happy and feel fulfilled, there needs to be a clear
definition of roles with in the family unit. This is something that should be discussed
and decided well before the mother returns to work. In making role decisions, the parents
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