The Balance Between Career, Marriage and Family Life

If there is one lesson that the year 2020 has taught us, it is the value of family and relationships. The number of “she said yesses” that we have seen on social media in the past month, points to the fact that people were very busy cultivating relationships, during the lockdown. Interestingly, at the beginning of the lockdown, there were a number of anecdotes about couples who could not stand each other because of close proximity. I guess starry-eyed romantics win again!

So, after the yes, what next?

For many ladies who have either tied the knot or are in the process of doing so, one major decision they will be facing is making the choice of whether to continue pursuing their career or to give this up in favour of pursuing family life. I have presented this as an either/or situation because, in reality, there is no middle ground. No, I am not saying it is not possible to work and care for one’s family. What I have said is that it is not possible to pursue a career while at the same time giving all the attention one needs to one’s family. One has got to give. So, which will?

Work vs Career

The decision is really in the hands of the couple. There have been instances where the couple decide that the man should give up his career so that his wife can pursue hers. In this case, the man takes up the responsibility of being the primary caregiver in the household. (No, I am not talking about cooking and cleaning, which can be easily outsourced if one has the means). I am talking about being the primary parent. The one who is going to be home does the school runs and is there to give psychological, emotional and of course spiritual support to the family.

Conversely, the woman should be ready to truncate her own career. She might switch jobs to do something that will give her some income (I certainly am not an advocate for a woman sitting home and doing nothing) while she still is emotionally and psychologically available for her children. Or she can continue on the same job with little or no prospects for growth.

Where is the Balance?

Let’s not deceive ourselves, the emotional and psychological investment that a woman puts into pursuing a career leaves less room for her to be available for her husband and children when they come. For some weird reason, men are better able to handle the rigours of work while caring for their primary responsibility of being the spiritual head of the home. Maybe it is something in their “masculinity” that makes this possible. But, it is clear they are better able to navigate this terrain. When a woman tries to do the same thing, she ends being burnt and stressed out.

So if you are thinking of going into a relationship that will lead to marriage, the question you should be asking yourself…and which you most certainly must be discussing with your partner is: What will take precedence, work or family? Will I need to give up my career or will he? An honest and sincere answer to this question will prevent you from entering a relationship which you will later regret. Plus, you will save yourself from being the source of pain to other humans.