Family Trumps Work

The balancing of work and family for my parents is quite basic: family comes first. Due to the nature of my parent’s jobs, they both described it as a means to end, the end being family. As my father puts it,

dylan24“It makes a living. I do it because it allows you guys to do what you need to do, and allows me to do what I want to do. It is a means to an end. It’s a job, and by no means a career.”

This doesn’t however mean that my parents didn’t have to make immense sacrifices to ensure that we were financially stable.

During the first few years of my life my Dad had to undergo an arduous work schedule due to an approaching job shift. The company that my Dad worked for was closing within two years, so my father was forced to begin searching for jobs while he continued to work 12 hours shifts at the plant. He landed a job as a custodian at a school and worked from 12am-3am to get on permanent part-time. This allowed him to eventually get on full time, but took a great toll on him physically and emotionally with the lack of interaction with his family

My mother, a manager of a drug store turned down multiple promotions that would have resulted in a much higher income, but would have required a lot of travel and thus time away from the family. She doesn’t view her job as a career and thus was not motivated to advance it, and didn’t see the increased pay worth it for the family as a whole.dylan15

As we learned in the Edin and Kefalas reading, individuals of lower economic status view parenthood as their biggest accomplishment in life and thus do not want to delay having kids. In addition, many of these individuals are very confident in their parenting ability due to their experience helping to raise siblings and other kin. My parents align with this theory, but luckily for me, they were forced to delay parenting me due to infertility. This put me in the unique and beneficial situation where my parents still viewed parenting as their most significant and important accomplishment, but were mature, knowledgeable, and financially stable enough to provide me with everything I needed to be successful

This view of the work-family relationship resulted in a lot of parental attention and support. My parents literally were at every sporting event, school activity, or any other significant moment during my life. This amount of support was unparalleled by the majority of my peer’s parents. This helped to make me feel special, comfortable and entitled—not in a bad way, but in a way that allowed me to succeed, which is a recurring theme during my childhood.