In many of my blog posts I’ve talked about the need for family support when you return to work after a long hiatus. As much as you may want to restart your career, it’s very difficult to blend both work and life if your spouse is not on board.
When it is not driven by financial necessity, a return to work is most successful when a spouse believes fully: “My Wife’s Career is As Important As Mine”. That’s actually the title of a wonderful blog post written by Scott Behson, a husband and father (and author of the Fathers, Work and Family blog) who knows the value of showing his son that his wife’s work matters, too.
In the blog post Scott says that he wants his son to understand that work is not just a chore and not just about money. (That reminds me of the quote “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.) Scott also wants his son to understand the importance of balancing his career with that of his future life partner.
This father is a freelance writer and a professor of business management at Fairleigh Dickinson University. His wife’s work as a theatre actress makes for tricky work and life scheduling. She works nights (often out of town), he works days—and they both share parenting and household chores.
Though a freelance writer and professor has a bit more flexibility than, say, an investment banker, the really important point is that two careers can work when two careers are valued. Two careers can also work when children are raised to have knowledge of and interest in each parent’s work—and to know that work that you love can be an adult form of play.
In my many years of coaching women who can’t decide whether to return to work, I’m often told, initially, that their indecision relates to their children. Women will give me lists of reasons why their toddlers or teenagers need them at home—until, with a little further prodding they reveal that a husband holds them back most of all.
Still, many women forge ahead, returning to work with halfhearted support. Far too often, this makes a new job short-lived, because exhilaration about a new career path quickly turns to stress when husbands do not support the move.
This is all to say, simply, that the time needs to be right for a return to work. The timing is not necessarily attached to the age of your children, it will most likely be the time when you reach agreement in your partnership about the value of your own work pursuits and how your work will fit your family’s life. —KAS
Like this post? Please click “like” below and take one minute–literally–to sign up to be an official 9 Lives subscriber here!