How Work Affects Family Life

Essay by coly111University, Bachelor's March 2004

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Today, the term "family" is difficult to define. All families are unique, and they can range anywhere from single parent families to extended families. Most importantly though, it is in the family where the next generation is being built. Parents must provide security and support for their children, and they need to be prepared for the challenges of balancing work and family in today's society. In traditional families, there was a mother, a father and their resulting children. The father would most often be the earner of the family, and the mother would stay at home and take care of the children. Things have changed considerably in the twenty-first century. Now there are more dual-income families, single-parent families, and there are many more women in the labour force. This poses a great change to family life, and many parents are working a "double day". They have their regular full time jobs where they earn an income, and then they have to come home to more work such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.

Like all systems and interactions, conflict arises between work and family issues. This issue causes conflict for every member of the family, and they need to discover ways to resolve this conflict. According to the feminist theory, "gender is basic to all social structures and organizations". (Eshleman & Wilson, 2001:23). Obviously, it is also basic to the conflicts of work and family life. Today, both men and women must go to work to support their families, but it is usually the woman who has to come home and do the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping, while her husband plays with the kids or watches television in the living room. This is definitely a concern that needs to be addressed, and although there have been some improvements...