For Linda’s Just Jot it January today, we have been given ‘sacrifice’ for our prompt word. This to me, is quite a weighty word, especially when you consider the original meaning of offering up the life of an animal or person to a God. However, we now tend to use it to mean giving something up that we value for the sake of helping someone else, or doing something else.
In the society that we live in, we are often told that it is possible to ‘have it all.’ Successful careers, well-adjusted children, a good education, happy marriages, and domestic bliss. Really? I am not sure that we can truly achieve all of those things without some kind of sacrifice.
Looking back at the 1950’s for example, in the era when many women stayed home to look after the children, and men were the main breadwinners working long hours to support their families, it is clear that neither sex had it all. Yes, the children may grow up being lovingly nurtured by their mother, but many hardly saw their fathers who went out to work before they were awake and came home when they were in bed.
The good education that a woman may have received would not be fully utilised, as many gave up work as soon as they married, and did not pursue any of their own interests, some were actually discouraged from doing so! A happy marriage may well be enjoyed by both, but I would not be surprised if there may have been a bit of resentment from the wife, striving to achieve domestic bliss with homecooked meals and a spotless house, plus always looking her best for when her husband came home.
Fast forward to the present day, and a whole range of changes. Men and women are no longer expected to conform to stereotypes. We have moved on considerably, and now women are no longer expected to stay at home keeping house, they can go out to work, get whatever education they like, and still manage to raise a family. This is the same as men have always been able to do (well except for keeping house of course, but now many men choose to do this for various reasons). We also have same-sex couples, some of whom are bringing up children, but the problems remain the same, we all want to be able to ‘have it all.’
Something surely has got to give. Some people employ nannies and housekeepers so that they can work and not have to worry about the house and kids. Some have one partner staying at home whilst the other goes out to work. Some put off having children to establish their career first, others do it the other way around, having children young, then try to forge a career. It sounds to me like quite a few sacrifices are being made in order to ‘have it all.’
Do you agree, have you managed to find a way to have it all?