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The Two Career Family


Juggle a career and kids and watch time fly. The demands of both can make for a very complicated life. Is such a family typical? In some ways yes, in other ways no. Just like anything involving humans, every situation is unique.

In a two career households, most kids do not enjoy the stereotypical mom casually cooking breakfast in her bathrobe as she helps her family prepare for their day and head out the door. More often than not, kids see mom and dad dressed for work and everyone pitches in to prepare breakfast and pack lunches.

Pitching in together is what it takes to manage a household when both parents have careers. However, the income from those careers usually provides a comfortable lifestyle. These families can often also afford helpful services that one income families usually don’t use. Many two career households may have a housecleaning service or a laundry service. That is the reward for the extra effort and sacrifices. That is what allows working parents the opportunity to carve out extra time to devote to their children or one another.

What else does one see in a typical two career family? Of course, there has got be the family dog and maybe even a cat or two. What do these families typically do in the evening when the couple returns from work and the kids are home from school? Well, there’s homework to help with, dinner to cook, as well as all the daily household tasks like taking out the trash. Again, it usually becomes a group effort.

For a typical family living in a nice neighborhood with a comfortable home, there are usually a couple of kids growing up in that home that more than likely have dreams of going to college. Because two career families are generally career-focused, that is the approach they usually take in child-rearing. They expect that their children will go to college. Rather than have the kids come home and do chores after school, these parents focus on getting homework done and having their kids extra time spent in extracurricular activities.

Such parents see more importance in learning team values in sports or the discipline gained in ballet rather than mopping floors and dusting. They see value in organizing their children’s schedules. These parents want to see results. That’s how they were conditioned through the higher education system which led to their careers. That is how they continue to be conditioned while they work at their careers.

If academic or sports scholarships are not likely, how, then, to fund these college dreams? Most children of career families will not qualify for financial aid. Most career families understand the debt trap of college loans. These career families must then plan to fund the college plans of their children from their own means. That is just one reason why two career households are usually solid financial planners.

Not only do two career families create a financial plan for their children’s future college years, but they most likely have gone to great pains to plan for their own empty nest years. That phase in life is when couples readjust to making themselves the priority.

Because most two career families earn more than an average household, these families usually enjoy a bit of luxury. Neighbors may look with envy at a shiny, new luxury car in the driveway. When the kids begin to drive, the number of cars parked in front of the house could grow to three or four, well above the average of two cars for an American family.

How do these families handle a crisis? Do they fare any better than working class families? The critical difference is that usually the background of advanced education coupled with stronger financial means translates into recognizing the need for help coping with a crisis and being able to afford that help. So, the answer is, yes, they usually do come out of a crisis better than the average family.

Researchers realize that many of these double career families recognize the vulnerability of wealth. They often exhibit hoarder type habits, stockpiling things like toilet paper. Per household, they possess more material products than ever before in society’s history.

In these families, the kitchen seems to be family headquarters. This is the one location everyone eventually passes through and utilizes, often together. Family headquarters is also the base for communications. That is where the calendars and memo boards are posted. Because everyone is usually so busy in these families, at a glance someone can know where someone else is or where they will be tomorrow.

Such busy-ness results in little time together. Although the family may live under the same roof, studies indicate that even when everyone is home at the same time, only about fourteen percent of their time will be spent together in the same room. This room is usually the kitchen. The time that is spent together is usually at the table conversing over dinner and breakfast.

Research indicates that this lifestyle will, on average, b the guidelines for the future lifestyle of the children of a two career household. This is the legacy they pass to their children that they love just as much as any other parent. And, just like any other parent, they are doing it their way. It’s the only way they know how.