Dual-career families

6 June 2016

Unlike in the past, when the institution of marriage was primarily based on the typical, patriarchal, traditional family, where the father was the breadwinner and the mother was the homemaker, many families have now transitioned into modern day dual-career households.

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These couples are both highly accomplished and have established their own personal professional identities. In 1998, dueal-earner couple actually outnumbered “traditional” families nearly three to one (U.S.BureauoftheCensus, 1998).

Despite these substantivechanges to the family unit, The traditional breadwinner (the father) and homemaker (mother) models continue to be the socially accepted, preferred family. Dating all the way back to the days of the industrial era, women slowly began to work outside of their homes as a way to provide supplemental income for their families. This was also a great way to obtain their resources and independence. Women Filtering into the Workplace

Although there appearsto be more and more woment hat have entered the workforce in the last few decades, the “role of women in the academic arena is still being negotiated, and the outcomes that exist for them may be worse if they are wives in a dual-career partnership” (Norell & Norell, 1996).

In fact, many institutions have already implemented policies that are designed to prohibit the hiring of both husband and wife working together. In some cases, they try not to hire women at all. It was not until the early 1970s that many institutions discouraged couples from working together.

The Norell (1996) studies revealed that “anti-nepotism policies subjected faculty to practices and decisions regarding employment men and women from the same family” ( ). Despite the effortsof anumber of schools that implement dual-career programs and benefits for working parents, they are so newthat verylittle systemic assessment has been reported. In the Bird & Schnurman (2005) expose, there was no mention of any of the participants being able to work in the same work environment.

Professional Identity: Time and Responsibility The article in discussion : “Professional Identity and Coping Behaviors” explores how dual career couples share a unique connection between their personal identity and behavior response while at work or in their home environment.

These authors argue their point well that there may be substantial evidence which shows that dual-career couples have both a professional and a family identity that must reflect their unique, individual competencies and responsibilities at both places. The article was very insightful and it contains a vast amount of relevant evidence-based material.

For example, the Brett & Meyer (1999) study concluded that “time (having enough to accomplish career tasks) and responsibility (whether to use tasks that are shared) are key factors in professional identity development and maintenance” (Bird & Schurman, 2005, P. 146). In addition, Papp (2000) pointed out that time and responsibility are also important to understanding how couples give meaningto the “fit” between work and family roles (cited in Bird & Schnurman, P. 146). Identiy Theory

Stryker (1998) determined that “identities are arranged in a hierarchy, with the most salient taking precedence across multiple situations.” Moreover, In Thoit’s (1991) study states that Identity Theory “proposes that individuals develop a sense of self constructed from hierarchically organized multiple identities.”…these identities are defined as self-conceptions gained from enacting socialroles such as parital partners, parent, employee, daughter and friend” (cited in Bird &Schnurman, 2005).

In essence the Identity Theory is about the “commitment to and investment in a professional identity“(Bird & Schnurman, 2005). Comments and Judgement

Because of limited critical analysis experience there is nothing in this study that needs to be added or substracted in terms of its validity. There appears to be sufficient empirical evidence to back up the authors main argument that the integrity of the marital commitment of dual-career couples can become compromised and may weaken when put under the pressures of everyday stressors at work or at home.

The authors took their studies to the next level by providing a variety of coping strategies along with customized quotes from many of the participants in the study, both male and female.

However, they failed to mention or include the responses and actions of the children involved, they gave no credence to diversity, culture, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation; leaving out the LBGT populations entirely. One of its weaknesses was that there was no definitve depiction of the participants diversity and from the readings, this study seemed like a story about members of theTea Party and their wives, in that they were all of a similar educational background and socioeconomic status.

Dual-earner couples are parents too and must be commended for their hard work, both at their worksite and at home. To coincide with this fact, a dual-career study completed by Okonwo (2013) proved that dual income families do not necessary influence their child’s self-esteem. In concordance with this study another qualitative study by Martinez, Carrasco, Aza, Blanco and Espinoza (2011) expounded that with “their more traditional rolde of high demands at the work setting …..resulted in guilt feelings if he (the provider) perceives himself as neglecting new goals he has assumed.”

In addition, another dual-career family study reported that “fathers are more stisfied with their work-family balance the more they participated in child-care and the more they felt supported by their workplace to access family-friendly work policies” (Craig & Sawrikai, 2013). The study also suggestd that men’s “incorporating of a less traditional paternal role ideology- more involvement with the familly life and responsibility for parents” can lead to conflict (P. 685). Conclusion

It really does appear that the institution of marriage has been turned upside down, inside out and has basically the so-called traditional family has lost its original identity.

The once stay-at-home moms no longer stay at home and the once breadwinners are stepping into roles that were once considered “just for mothers. ” As was stated earlier, dual-career couples now outnumber the patriarchal traditional family. These “third-career” families now have the option to balance their professional identities as well as their family identities (Bird & Schnurman, 2005).

However, if the lines of communication are closed and the relationship weakened due the the pressures and life stressors, it is important to give these dual-career partner the coping tools they will need to their connection to each other salient. In essence, dual-earner couples “must learn how to keep the delicate balance between familly and career responsibilities both at home and in the workplace” (Bird & Schnurman, 2005).

One of the outstanding features of this piece was illustrated in Table 1. Coping Strategies for Work and Family Stressors. The concept and the lay out of table was of textbook quality and the format was easy to read and was understandable. For example, a few of the coping strategies mentioned were Problem focused, Emotion focused, and Dyadic and Communal Coping Strategies.

In problem focused coping while at work the table suggests subdividing tasks. At Home Coping would involve compartmentalizing ideas. The other coping mechanisms outlined were Emotion focused. Using this approach at home entails accepting differences and the coping skills at work should include withdrawal and rest and relaxation.

The final coping strategies include the Dyadic (acting as a sounding board at work and making time to talk and forging a united front at home). In the Communal coping technique the dual-career partner can learn to foster good relationships with colleagues at the worksite and also learn to facilitate family interdependence and provide/accept support. In the overall scheme of things, learning how to balance the workplace and home stressors and keeping the lines of communication open is really what it’s all about.

This can make the difference between a good dual-career relationship and a great one. In keeping everything in context, dual-career couples should continue in their progressive paths, keeping their children’s emotional, psychological, social and spiirtual needs in the forefront of their daily agendas and everything in time will work out the way it was intended to work out.

Critiquing this amazing literary fine art have been a wonderful experience and it also has been an eye-opening adventure. Here is the critics final comments.

Working women can be expected to build their lives on less traditional ideologies about the ideal role of men and women in the family setting, conforming less to the model of intensive maternity that blames and criminalizes them by portraying them – from a misleading and mystifying exaltation – as being exclusively responsible for their children’s socio-emotional, physcial, mental and spiritul growth and well-being.

Martinez, Carraso, Aza, Blanco & Espinosa, 2013.

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