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Panel Discusses Work and Family Life

By Sarah H. Dolan | March 31, 2010

Many mothers of children under 18 consider parenthood a full-time job. And when that role is combined with career, life can get complicated. U.S. Department of Labor statistics in 2007 showed about 70 percent of women with children under 18 are employed, with 75 percent of those women working full-time.

In honor of Women's History Month, the Regent School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) hosted "Balancing Work and Family Life: A Discussion with Women Who Are Mothers and Psychologists," a panel discussion as part of the SPC Cultural Diversity Series.

The panel featured four psychologists and one psychology doctoral student who are both professionals and mothers. Each woman represented a significantly different background, lifestyle and experience with balancing career and parenthood.

On the panel were Dr. April Cunion, Dr. Stacey Otey-Scott, Dr. Katherine Albach and Tabitha Sierra. SPC Professor Dr. Jennifer Ripley, mother of two children, served as moderator.

Each woman shared her unique experience as a working mother, factors that influence decision-making and conflicts that arise between the perceived demands of dual roles. Issues included handling kids' sickness, "mommy guilt" of not feeling good enough, housework and childcare responsibilities, and lack of other family members in the area.

The panel looked at solutions to these issues through the psychological framework of three strategies: family focused, balancing the value of family versus work; work focused, finding meaning and purpose in career; and general principles, such as live simply, value time and make proactive decisions.

The Cultural Diversity Series is an initiative designed to promote cultural awareness, student professional development and spiritual integration. SPC students enrolled in the psychology doctoral program and school faculty present topics that address the various dimensions of diversity, such as race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, physical ability, marital status, sexual orientation and spiritual/religious orientation.


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