The English dictionary describes a wife as, “a woman married to a man”. However, being a wife means much more than being just married. The important role wives play is captured in this memorable quote, “Behind every successful man is a woman, and behind her is his wife” (Marx, 2). More often than not, the mention of a wife brings to mind the roles associated with the status of being a wife. The roles of a wife are more compounded when a wife becomes a mother. At this point, the woman is expected to fulfill the role of a cook, housekeeper, friend, nurse, sex partner, valet, counselor among others (Brady, 1). It is this scenario of one person fulfilling so many roles that prompted Judy Brady to write that famous satirical essay “Why I want a wife”.
I interviewed a female coworker who is a happily married wife and mother. She is unable to work full time because her company does not provide medical benefits for part-time employees. Her husband works in a company where the boss does not provide medical benefits for his employees even if they work as fulltime employees. She is also studying for her master’s degree. On top of these involvements, she has to fulfill her roles as a wife and mother. The interview prompted several questions all bearing on the conflicting challenges in which modern women find themselves.
It has become increasingly challenging for wives to juggle between family responsibilities, work and seeking opportunities for personal growth (Friedan, 3). One of the most pressing concerns for women in America is “can women survive working part-time jobs and risk not having medical benefits?” The most genuine reply to this question is no. As a mother, a woman is by extension a nurse. Involuntarily, she not only has her healthcare concerns to worry about but also those of her family. The increment in illnesses and more so terminal illnesses such as breast and cervical cancers should compel women to seek employment opportunities where they stand to obtain medical benefits. This will also give them some resort in case a medical eventuality hits a member of their family. It is also important that husbands support the healthcare of their wives by seeking comprehensive family insurance covers. Family insurance covers can give women opportunities to seek part-time employment with or without medical benefits and therefore enable them effect family responsibilities as well as seek career and education opportunities.
The social life of a career wife juggling between family, work and school is almost inexistent. This is because such women have their day’s schedule packed with “Must do activities” leaving no time for leisure and social interactions (Jalilvand, 26). As career women plan for other activities, they ought to allocate time to have fun. Career wives who spare time to engage in social activities are more effective in fulfilling the other responsibilities in their lives.
Being a mother is one of the most rewarding gifts of nature. Societies world over appreciate women who have children and look down upon those women who place careers ahead of childbirth. The choice of birth control to focus on a career over childbirth puts many women in dilemmas. To exacerbate the situation, women hit menopause earlier than men and as such they have to consider the “ticking of their biological clock”. Scientific studies have proved that women, who bear children beyond a certain age risk having medical complications themselves or the babies. Birth defects among children, such as Down’s syndrome, are a woman’s nightmare. Women ought to communicate with partners on the priorities in their lives as early as they can. This assures them of their husband’s support and leads to happier marriages where each of the partners can achieve their lifetime aspirations.
Husbands can play a critical role in helping their wives cope with family and career challenges. Males should take it upon themselves to learn some household chores such as cooking from their wives. They can thereafter help their wives in household chores such as cooking, ironing, helping children with their homework among others. Moreover, they can offer emotional support, love and encouragement to their wives. Couples to work on effective communication to help lessen the pressures each of them may be going through (Jalilvand, 27). Undoubtedly, supportive spouses are the cardinal pillars to successful and happy marriages.
The word wife brings to mind a person who fulfils a range of tasks and responsibilities such as household chores, counseling, and role model among others. In the contemporary society, millions of women find themselves at crossroads as they juggle between family roles, work and school. One major concern among modern women has been whether to take up part-time jobs without accrued medical benefits to savage some time for school and family chores. This option is not absolutely viable bearing in mind the increment in medical conditions and especially so the terminal illnesses such as breast and cervical cancers. Women ought also to allocate time for social activities to ensure that they remain healthy emotional and physical conditions. Undoubtedly, husbands can play a pivotal role in helping their wives achieve lifetime ambitions. They can learn and help in household chores as well as offer love and emotional support to help their partners achieve their goals while building happy and successful marriage.
Brady, Judy. “I Want a Wife.” 1971. Web 21 Feb. 2012
Friedan, Betty. “The Feminine Mystique” Chapter 1-The Problem that Has No Name. 2010.
Web. 21 Feb. 2012. http://www.h-net.org/~hst203/documents/friedan1.html.
Marx, Groucho “Groucho Marx quotes”
Web 23 Feb. 2012. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/groucho_marx/2.html
Jalilvand, Mahshid, “Married Women, Work and Values” Monthly Labor Review. August 2000.