Kristi Hruska: Reflection on Family Dynamics

Each student on the team had a particular area, or areas, of interest that was reflected in the interview questions. As a psychology student, I was particularly interested in the women’s family dynamics. I was curious to see how these women handled their roles within their families while also handling their successful businesses. More importantly, I wanted to see how these women personally felt about their involvement with their families. Our research team has not finished interpreting the data we collected during the interviews; however, I have been able to draw my own conclusions based on the interviews I conducted and witnessed.

I noticed three main themes in the family circumstances of the women we interviewed. The first circumstance involves a single woman who has never been married and does not have any children. Approximately half of the women we interviewed fell into this category. The women in this circumstance often expressed that they feel free to focus all of their attention on their business. Some of these women have elderly parents or other family members that they take care of, but they noted that this responsibility is not as strenuous as taking care of children. Many of these women still felt very connected to their family, despite being so business-oriented.

The other half of our interviewees fell into the second circumstance: women who are married with children. However, the women in this circumstance could be divided into even more descriptive categories: those who own a business with their husband, and those who independently own their business without their husband. The women who co-own the business with their husbands felt that they both had equal power and responsibility in both the business and their family. A majority of the women who own their businesses independently did remark that their husbands are widely supportive of their business endeavors. Often, the husbands will also help out with smaller facets of the business, such as the maintenance of the facility or supply runs. Most of the women in this circumstance, regardless of their husband’s participation in the business, believed that family responsibilities must come before business responsibilities. They took pride in their businesses, but they took even more pride in what they do for their families.

The third and final circumstance involved a woman who was divorced with children and used the business to support her family. There was only one woman who fell into this circumstance, which I found interesting. This woman told us that she tries to do everything she can for her two teenage daughters. In order to provide for the girls financially, she works long hours at her restaurant, but that means she must sacrifice spending time with them. She regrets losing that time with them, she explained, but she knows that her children appreciate what she does. This woman was exhibiting a “family-first” attitude, much like the married women, but she showed it through her involvement in her business.

After interviewing all of these women, I am even more fascinated by the family dynamics of a female entrepreneur. I was not expecting to hear about such a wide array of familial situations, which makes this topic much more intricate than I originally anticipated. As previously stated, these observations are from my own recollection of the interviews; more conclusions will be drawn after each interview’s transcription is looked at in further detail. I am very interested to see how the concept of family dynamics intertwines with the other themes my peers found when examining their areas of interest.

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