Honouring the Nurturist
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In this study, I look at factors that impact women’s choices about career and child rearing where mothers find themselves making compromising choices. Specifically, I explore how aspects of media, magazine and newspaper articles influence lifestyle choices of mothers. I present a number of perspectives advocating the role of nurturing and introduce a term to reflect this position, the nurturist. The nurturist approach supports a mother and child’s instinctive urge for connection and supports women in developing their career and economic security. To date, much of the research literature has focused on the consequences of maternal employment for woman, children and families (Zimmerman, Haddock, Current, & Ziemba, 2003). Following maternal employment, came attitudinal shifts of more egalitarian marital relationships. However, the realties of marital egalitarianism are far from ideal in that women continue to manage the majority of childrearing and household duties (Hochschild, 1997). In this study, I interrogate this role of the nurturist as increasingly pressured to negotiate the demanding life cycle stage of developing a career while raising young children asking what factors, through written media, are influencing women to make choices that presumably compromise her instinctive urge to mother her children. The term the nurturist relates to the pull that many woman feel towards their children, while being pulled in other directions by society’s demands, inner voice of women, as opposed to society’s expectations of her, and seeks to find a healthy balance that supports a women’s choice to mother her children and to develop her self-expression and financial security through her mothering, talents and career. To explore this question I have reviewed articles published in popular media that relate to issues of working mothers. Using a content analyses approach, I compile evidence of decision-making factors that influence a mother’s decision whether to pursue her career while mothering preschool children. Content analysis is a qualitative research tool used to determine the presence of certain words or concepts within texts or sets of texts making inferences about the messages within the texts. Having reviewed articles published in popular media related to working mothers, I compiled conceptual text into manageable categories on a variety of levels-- phrases, sentences, or themes. My research findings show that the nurturist’s primary decision making factors to work while raising preschool children are centred on financial concerns and a need for creating a balanced lifestyle. As a practical application, I propose the results be used to develop a model/intervention tool for conscious decision-making around life choices to be used by counsellors for new, or soon to be, mothers negotiating dual-career families and child-rearing tasks. I also make recommendations for social and political changes that support community awareness about the increasing pressures on families juggling careers and raising pre-school children, advocating for a variety of government policies that support the nurturist role (this role increasingly shared by fathers) inside the home and not in day-care environments alone. Recognizing that political policies have direct impacts on society, I propose that government policies support the unpaid but socially important work of the nurturist as a shared pubic concern and not solely a private family responsibility. I propose a post-feminist redefinition of choice, which values a mother’s instinctive urge to nurture her child(ren), giving voice to the importance and value of the nurturist in the family.