Should mothers work?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am

Gigi Lam, 18 STFA Cheng Yu Tung Secondary School

The world social order has changed. Previously, it was assumed that the man was the family provider, and the woman the homemaker. But things are different now. Today's women also go to work and enjoy maintaining a career.

However, while some people accept the idea of career women, they also expect working women to be active in their role as mothers. The attitude towards working women seems to be this: that while no one objects to women putting their talents and abilities to use outside the home, women should not compromise their home life.

There is also the problem of being a working mother. You have to be clear about your priorities. Which comes first: family and children or career and financial security? Working mothers must also decide whether they would be happy to have domestic helpers and other family members looking after the children.

Mothers should remember that a full-time job can be very demanding in terms of both energy and time.

You have to be careful not to spread yourself too thin when juggling the working life and home life.

Jeffrey Lu, 16 Phillips Academy, Andover

Yes. There is no reason a mother should not work.

First of all, this is a decision the mother should make herself. If a mother thinks she can handle her responsibilities both at home and at work, then she should take up a job.

In Hong Kong, this is not a big problem, because much of the burden of taking care of children is shifted on to the domestic helpers.

Some may argue that children should grow up under a mother's care. However, in this day and age, most children spend a good part of their time outside the house. They get involved in after-school activities, and may return home at the same time as their working parents.

Furthermore, a mother's income is necessary in an age when raising children has become very expensive.

With both parents working, the children benefit from the combined incomes. They can enjoy a good education, and even attend private schools. They can be sure of going to a good university.

Lastly, mothers who are only housewives may spoil and over-pamper their children.

Children who grow up in their mother's shadow are less likely to be independent-minded.

In such cases, ironically, a mother's love could have a negative effect.