The key for a woman to successfully balance a career and family depends upon her spouse. Although our fight for women’s lib has granted us the potential to access the C suite, it still hasn’t exonerated us from the responsibility of running the household; even if you happen to be a woman that has been granted a pass, you are still victim to society’s judgment that lays blame on the woman, when domestic responsibilities aren’t properly executed.
The pressure that career women face can be insurmountable, unless your partner at home is understanding, supportive and willing to pitch in. Today I read an interview with Sallie Krawcheck, who is the former head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Wealth Management business. Sallie’s advice to women, “choose your husband carefully.”
As soon as I read Sallie’s comment, I understood exactly what she meant. Many years ago, I had been working on a project with my manager, who was also female. We were putting in a lot of late nights and were burning the midnight oil, consistently, for several months. I remember asking her how her husband felt about her hours and wondered if he was upset with her frequent absence from home. I will never forget her response “No man that I would ever marry would have issue with me working late.”
I heeded those very words of caution and so I carefully selected my husband. I made sure that he was not only supportive of my career, but could also effectively run the house, while I was at the office. AND, I was proud of that, especially when I gave the same response to many other junior women, who asked me the same question.
A few months ago, I went to see the movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” Although the movie is fairly awful, the themes are still prevalent in the lives of many career women today. The film develops as the main character played by Sarah Jessica Parker tries to balance a successful Wall Street career with home and family. She succeeds at work, but almost at the expense of her marriage.
The husband, played by Greg Kinnear is the main problem in this entire equation. Throughout the movie, he puts constant pressure on his wife, delivered through a series of passive aggressive comments and actions. The main character runs herself ragged in attempt to tackle every task on her to do list; while her husband only joins the party three quarters of the way into the movie, when he realizes that he should have a list of his own.
Infuriating, I know. But what I found to be most upsetting about this movie, was that in this modern age of equality, I still know a fair amount of women whose reality, is this film – choose your husband carefully.