Sunday, April 19, 2009
Trends of the Times
Mothers back to work earlier than they had planned.
My neighbor has two wonderful children, toddler twins, a boy and a girl. When they were born she was able to stay at home and take care of them in their infancy, and she did not plan to go back to work until they were in grade school. But the economic downslide has changed that. Her husband was laid off, and my friend trudged back to work in disappointment, although not resentment. In this she seemed to be part of the trend I had read about in the Wall Street Journal, which reported that women are being forced to cut short their maternity leaves or go back to work before they had planned, leaving their pre-schoolers, because the economic downturn had forced their husbands into unemployment. I was saddened by the trend and also for my friend, who loved being with her children. Now her major time with her sweet youngsters is on the weekends. I hope that when the economy is on the mend again and their husbands hopefully are able to re-enter the employed labor force, these women will be able to come back home. However, it is likely that many will opt to work longer to make up for lost income.
My neighbor also told me that her husband was using unemployment as an opportunity to go back to school, "so that when the economy is better, he can get a better job than the one he had." This plan also is in keeping with a trend across the country among newly unemployed, as I had also read in the Wall Street Journal. I think this is a smart move, and I hope it works out for my friend and her husband.
Another trend of the economic downturn, is that families in our neighborhood with young children are unable to carry out their plans to move to larger homes with more private yard space, because of the slump in the housing market. This is disappointing for them, but not for me, because I love having these young families around. Yesterday I woke up to the voices of little ones playing in the toddler lot--a sound delightful to my ears.