The Daily Times-News from Burlington, North Carolina on December 1, 1974 · Page 159
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The Daily Times-News from Burlington, North Carolina · Page 159

Burlington, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 1, 1974
Page 159
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Coin piled by Luoianne Goldberg How She Looks to Five Woman P&ycMatrist$ The Working Woman: As millions more American women join the labor market each year, they are subjected to new emotional stresses because they work. To learn more about these stresses, we asked five prominent woman psychiatrists to discuss them. Dr. Natalie Shainess: "Whether a married woman who works has problems about it depends on the kind of help she has at home, her attitude toward her job, whether or not her husband is supportive of her working and how she allocates her time. Many professional women with small children say ihey have a sense of bcirig pulled apart. One ol my patients calls if a case of the 'shoulds': Should she be at work, or should she be with her child? This conflict of feeling that she should be in two places at once leads to a sense of guilt. If she also has a husband who is a bit of a male chauvinist that adds mure guilt feelings plus a tinge Df anger, '"Younger, more militant women have decided to "get rid of the whole bag,' as they say. They refuse to feel guilt. I believe they simply bury it. They think you can dump your children anywhere yuu want lhat you don't have to see that your husband has dinner. i find that in many young marriages of this nature there is a tremendous amount of conflict. The partners are really two selfish, childlike adults, each in his own way. They lack a sense of interdependence and responsibility toward each other. "A husband's attitude and his willingness to take on some Df the responsibilities and to share the work load are very benign factors. I think it is Impossible lo have a 50 - 50 division of labor. The major portion of child responsibility lies with the mother, but in many cases she could use more help than she gets. During the years of childhood children need a consistent figure, and it is primarily the mother's task to provide this. But if is the tattler's willingness lo relieve here and there and his sympathetic attitude toward his wife that can make a great difference and lessen her guilt feelings enormously."' 1 ' Dr. Ruth V. Berney: "I think what the woman in the working world is feeling now is not so much guilt as resentment. She feeis she has a right to do something in the worid - that she is entitled to u bigger part of living than just children and home and husband. The younger women and this is a generational thing - are angling for a mutuality in the working world. "Women are now thinking more practically about marriage. They knnw it's one thing to get married in a cloud of romance, but Ihey are also talking about divorce insurance something to protect them if something goes wrong after Ihe clouds blow away. They uon'f feel so cowed anymore. I think men feel threatened by this." Dr. Alexandra Symonds: "Working mothers have special problems. However I feel that a woman who isn't a mother does. too. A man and wife who are childless arc more dependent on each other. Children are often a catalyst in a marriage, and some people can't function without the catalyst of a child. But the childless couple often falls into competition over earning capacity, getting ahead, fob importance. Usually, the man expects his wife to do the housework even though they both work the same hours outside the home, and most women defer to their husbands. A really good marriage requires that two people fulfill themselves, and sometimes friction can develop from this. Women who are on an equal professional footing with their husbands must be very careful not to give up something that is very precious: their right to equality within the home. Recause of the way our society is structured, there is a great tendency for a woman to slip into a routine of doing things just because she is the female partner. This can cause a great deal of resentment." Dr. Wanda Willig: A working woman has a definite conflict between her job and her family.. The more 'liber ated' woman has somewhat less guilt in general. But if the children are quite young, some feeling of guilt is not ab - normal - or irrational. It depends very much on the individual woman and her own ability to ignore the guilt. "As for a single woman, again it depends on her life situation. If a girl still lives with her mojher, she might feel she should give more time lo her mother than to her work or her social life. A girl who has not overcome her fear of her father might find the working world harder to cope with. It would be difficult for iier lo, say, supervise male employees and exert her authority over them. "As for help at home for the working mother, I feel that a warm, loving grandmother or aunt is a much belter choice than a poorly run daycare center. "There is definitely a changing altitude in women today they are feeling more and more Lhat they have a right to get out into the working world and to "get with it.' think, too. that men feel less threatened about their wives going back to work than they did a generation ago. S. know men today who still feel very threatened about their wives working, but I think this is true more in the case of older or middle - aged men." Dr. Sheila Klebanow: "Child - care problems cause the major emotional problem for the working mother. There is definitely a guilt factor that varies greatly from woman to woman. Many women can handle this some women make better mothers at least part time. However, I don't routinely recommend that women with small children return to work until the children are older. "I quarrel with Women's Lib because (hey have lost track Df the fact that children are not robots and because daycare centers are not automatically the proper parent surrogate. Another child - care solution is Margaret Mead's suggestion, the graodmother - and 1 think ir is sad that more mothers and mothers - in - iaw are not called upon when Ihey could be so valuable. "If a hushand feels threatened or angry when his wile works, this adds to her discomfort, too. A woman's emotional need to work fs as valid as an economic need, and a husband should not ignore this need or he is rym asking for an unhappy partner." U9 4 FAMILV WFFKI V IWnmlur I fU7J

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