"Downton Abbey" has captured the attention of millions of Americans. While set back in the early 20th century, there are many lessons that modern working women can learn from this popular series.
Men, marriage and money- On the show, The Earl of Grantham married a very wealthy American woman, and it is suggested it was initially for her money. She married him for his title and possibly love, and trusted him to manage her money well. However, Lord Grantham does not manage the money very well and the estate is in trouble. While times have changed, some women hold onto antiquated assumptions about men, marriage and money.
Lessons for single and married working women:
- Pick your partner well. Understand the positives and negatives about your future partner. Do you really know each other?
Hired help- "Downtown Abbey" is a very large estate that requires many servants to run it. The point the show vividly illustrates is that wealthy women and poor women, single and married, have to look out for their own interests.
Lessons for working women:
- Give yourself permission to have help and services. Most women were raised to clean, cook and run a family home at a time when women were not expected to work at an outside job. Most women today work outside the home. They often try to do it all by themselves.
- Set up a chores schedule for each member of the family. Women say that one of the highest stressors in marriage is the division of chores between partners and children.
Lessons for working women:
- Many women agree that the personal encouragement of mothers and grandmothers was often the key for them in building self confidence. (Women Lead, 2013, Lang Publishing)
Pursue your career passion- "Downton Abbey" has shown us that women should pursue their work passion despite the pressure from society or family to do otherwise. The Grantham sisters are examples of women who have a diversity of passions and skills. Mary is destined to be the lady of the estate and a non-working spouse. Sybil became a nurse, and Edith is finding her way as a women's advocate and journalist. Even Matthew Crawley's mother, a doctor's widow, is exploring an encore career.
Lesson for working women:
You will be working for a long time, so take time to think about what you like to do and what you are good at. Can this be a career path?
- Explore various career and work options to help determine what you like and don't like. Societal messaging about what you should do may not align with your inner desires. Society and people will come and go; you need to be true to yourself for the long haul.
Breakfast in bed- March is Women's History Month, and "Downton Abbey" is a celebration of women past and present. Married or not, have breakfast in bed.