The world of work has changed drastically over the decades and over the years. It used to that only men went to work and women stayed home to take care of all the domestic issues such as cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and taking care of the kids. However, today both men and women go to work.
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A woman joining the workforce was great for her financial and professional life; however it might not have been so good for her personal life. This is due to the fact that a woman that works outside of the house is expected to hold down two jobs and do them exceptionally well. These two jobs involve her profession such as doctor, baker, professor, or writer and taking care of the household which includes caring for at least one child. It is very clear that taking care of a household, children, and marriage takes much work that requires balance, patience, and teamwork.
The book called The Second Shift examines how working parents try to balance both their professional and personal lives. This book illustrates some of the difficulties that can and do come up in marriages. The purpose of this paper is to summarize some of the more important chapters in The Second Shift.
The modern woman is seen as a woman who can and does balance everything with a smile. She seems to juggle childcare and her profession, frills and business suits, and male and female culture without complaining. Therefore, modern women often get labeled as “superwomen.” However, the label of modern women as “superwomen” is often very misleading. According to Hochschild, many of the women that she interviewed for this book claimed that they could do and that they did do many things on a daily basis; however, they seemed to shy away from being labeled “superwomen” (1989:1).
Many people who are single or are happily married might wonder why modern marriages often suffer setbacks and tension. It seems as if modern marriages experience trouble due to unrealistic expectations. According to Hochschild, problems within most marriages usually occur due to the friction caused by faster changing women and slower changing men (1989:11). She goes on to state that the struggles that come out of marriage don’t simply stem from who does what in the marriage. The struggles in most marriages come from the giving and the receiving of gratitude (Hochschild, 1989, 18).
Marriage is about cooperation and teamwork. Therefore, it seems as if both halves of a married couple need to appreciate what each partner brings to the marriage and thank each other for their contributions to it every now and then. In addition, the reason that there are many problems in marriages today is because there is too much criticism and not enough communication in modern marriages.
Many of the chapters in The Second Shift focus on actual stories of couples that are dealing balancing the second shift. Balancing home life with a professional life isn’t very easy. In fact, as a few of the couples illustrate trying to balance both their professional lives and their personal lives can be a rather daunting task. Moreover, it seems as if trying to do this causes tension in their relationships.
Evan and Nancy Holt are married and have a four year old child named Joey. They view the major problem in their marriage involves Joey’s displeasure going to bed at night. Evan and Nancy think that complete exhaustion dealing with Joey’s sleep anxiety is the reason that they have stopped relating to each other as a couple. However, the main issue in the Holt’s marriage has very little to do with Joey and more to do with their inability to balance the second shift effectively.
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