Family over Politics
Posted by butalidnl on 17 March 2010
Last week, two prominent Dutch politicians suddenly retired saying that the reason for doing so was to have more time for their family. The “time for their family” reason is a common excuse used when someone is eased out of a position. However, this time it seems that the family as reason for retirement is the real reason. Why? In the first place, the two occupied key positions in their respective parties, and their stars was on the way up. And secondly, they were way too young to retire. Camile Eurlings is just in his mid-30s; he was known as the “crown prince” of the ruling CDA (Christian Democratic Party), since he was held as most likely to become its next leader. He retired because he wants to have a family. Wouter Bos is the leader of the Labour Party (PvdA), and he was on his way to becoming the country’s next Prime Minister. He is in his late 40s. He says that he wants to be able to see his 3 small children grow up, and the political work would not allow it.
Both politicians have been struggling to balance between work and family, and have decided that they would choose their families. It is a sign of the times that, in this age where more and more women are working, that the men also want to work less, and attend to their nurturing tasks also. It is a good trend, in general, and makes for a more equal division of tasks within the family.
Dutch society is not a workaholic society. People have long vacations, and usually people work the required 36 (or 32) hours, and little else. Although of late, couples thrive on “1 1/2 incomes” – the husband works fulltime, and the wife takes on a parttime job. Now, with the trend of more and more women opting for fulltime jobs, the men are now clamouring to have the right to reduce their hours of work. Even with a well-developed daycare system, most parents opt to raise their children themselves till they go to school.
Most Dutch accept the reasons given by Bos and Eurlings. I’m sure Americans or even Filipinos wouldn’t. Americans are workaholic, and Filipinos have fulltime domestic help; so, it is more natural for Americans or Filipinos to have both husband and wife working fulltime.