The Two Profession Family (Or: Where to find the time?)

Over the past few generations we have moved from a ‘breadwinner – homemaker’ family system to one where both adults and parents assume full time vocations. So, instead of two jobs in a family, we now have three. If we add children to the mix, there is a fourth job – child rearing. Precious time and energy is divided between child care, housekeeping, jobs, social events, family activities, adult time with a spouse, friendships, and personal self-care time. Sounds like a lot? It is, and something has to give.

Often we sacrifice time with our spouse and self-care time, thinking that we can make up for this later. The result can be emotionally disastrous. When we hollow out the marital bond and neglect to take good care of our physical and emotional needs, we set up a parallel marital system and lose the very things that enhanced our marriage to begin with. We used to talk, now we cope. We used to feel tender toward our precious mate, now we expect him or her to fend to him/her self. We used to touch each other, now we touch in passing rather than in passion. When was the last time we hugged until we felt totally relaxed?

So, what shall we do? Maybe it is time to sit down with our mate and make sacrifices that will lead to increased intimacy and care for each other and ourselves. If funds are available (after all, we are both bringing income into our system), consider hiring someone to carry out some of the housekeeping and child care. Nannies have become a growing business, and sharing a nanny with family friends can provide valuable time for adult intimacy. Is every outing with other friends or with the children? If so plan and keep a date night at least once each week where we can talk about our feelings for each other, our hopes and dreams, and how important we are for each other. No business talk, only focus on the precious things we talked about before we married. Perhaps we need to reduce the friendship and activities time to make quality time for each other.

A patient of mine was working 70 hour weeks and her husband was working over 60 hours, planning to have time for each other some day. Now each of them is experiencing health problems and ‘some day’ may never come. As doctors tell us, no one confesses on their death bed that they wish they had worked harder. Now is the time for quality in life, including an open and intimate relationship with our partner.

The Most Common Problem: Low Self Esteem

  • You don’t speak up when you know you should.
  • You often feel guilty about disappointing someone else.
  • You aren’t sure you can do something new, so you decide not to try it.
  • You let others take advantage of you.
  • You are sometimes shy about letting people get to know you.
  • You often don’t let others know what you want or how you feel.


  • You have a deep feeling that you might be superior to other people.
  • You pride yourself on doing everything just right.
  • You are ashamed when you make a mistake or don’t succeed.
  • You are good at what you do but you sometimes feel like a fraud.
  • You are quite impatient when you have to wait your turn.
  • You are careful not to reveal too much about yourself.

Do any of the above statements describe what you feel and do? While everyone may feel some of those feelings now and then, all together the statements are representative of two distinct patterns of low self esteem. In simple low self esteem, the person feels inferior to others. The second group describes the pattern called narcissism. In narcissism, the person feels superior to others, but this is a coverup for insecurity about his or her own self-worth. Not feeling valuable, precious, and lovable is probably the most common problem which therapists eventually encounter after they ask a new patient, “What brings you in?”

People may say, “I’ve been feeling stressed out lately,” or “I think I might be depressed,” or even “My wife is leaving me,” or many other initial complaints, but often the root issue is the person’s innermost feeling about himself. It is also frequently a profound cause of relationship difficulties. Fixing self esteem problems does not happen overnight, but collaborating with a skilled therapist individually or in a group can work wonders and make a tremendous improvement in a person’s overall happiness and quality of life.