Why do parents, mostly women, have to CHOOSE between work and family? Why is juggling and spinning plates the only way to have it all? What new models can we come up with that perfectly integrate raising children well with being satisfied in work and public life AND having enough money to be at ease. In other words, models of rich, full lives?
Women have been forging these models for many years - setting up businesses of their own which can fit comfortably around children’s hours and still deliver creative satisfaction and a decent income. But for many that still feels like second best – where is the recognition and the status that men get from their career ladders?
Also, not all women are confident entrepreneurs, preferring to find work in organisations. While part time and flexible work go some way to address the complex lives of parents, it is usually at the cost of advancement and pay. Making it, again, a second best option.
Putting children first is a Soft option: it says that paying attention to core relationships is a key investment for the health of society. Many of the conversations around soft power will be interrogations of the choices parents make and - because women are still the principle carers - the choices that women make.
Perhaps if more men looked at the ‘softer’ option: going for holistic rounded lives rather than vertical, competitive lives, we might get a broader change of culture and different ways of describing success that more people would buy into. Why not more job sharing, better support for small businesses, more public recognition for the short and long term rewards of a differently motivated life?
What can you suggest?