Generational Changes For Women

If you were to ask my grandmother if she was full filled she would shrug her shoulders and tell you that of course she was full filled.

 My grandmother was not like most of the women of her generation she was a working woman with four children.

However she did have some advantages she only worked while her children were in school and her husband helped with the kids home work and after school activities. He also enjoyed cooking.

My grandparents worked as a team and shared the household chores and the demands that came with raising four children. Wow! they were way a head of their generation.Weren’t they?  Other than grandma’s co-workers, her friends were stay at home moms and homemakers. When I asked her if she felt that her friends resented her or looked down on her for working. She said, Oh Know! Why would they? However they did think that your grandpa was a bit odd for taking care of the kids too but that was it. She said that she resented working and getting paid less than the male school teachers. Sound familiar?

We who are the granddaughters of that generation were taught to believe that kitchen is a confining word. To our contemporaries the words “occupation Housewife” are verboten and we are not permitted to be full or filled with the sounds and smells of the household. This is a generation that came of age during the women’s movement and has had to cope with the greatest sociological changes since man began recording history.

We are the generation that carved a new definition of woman a definition that gave us some excellent middle-management jobs and a strong taste of prejudice, discrimination, and anger. Executives found that women were very good in our jobs, and what made us even better was the fact that women were all willing to do more for less. It was those very virtues that made us the enemy of the working man.

Women helped this low-cost employment force (women began to look like the Far East American help) gain credibility because through our magazines and speeches and leaders, we condoned society that frowned on women who didn’t work and assumed that any dummy (like our mothers) could raise a terrific kid. We looked of equality, and what we got was a new definition of equality: it said that woman was equal to doing man’s work– and her own — and at the same time. We created a beautiful myth about the woman who have it all. She could be thin and rich and powerful. We encouraged our daughters to enroll in women’s study courses, and we talked about their futures and the way they would run their homes in th future.

And then lo and behold our daughters got married and they wondered what we were talking about. They were so tiered they couldn’t even call us to complain. They were so busy running from work to the house that they were each willing—-personally–to march across Helen Gurley Brown‘s desk and tell her that she was full of beans.  

During those years we found ourselves saying that all women who were now thirty-five would want to switch 180 degrees in ten years. That is, we reported to anyone who would listen , all women who are 35 and in the work force on an upwardly mobile path would like to be home with children in ten years, and all women now at home with children in ten years, like to be on an upwardly mobile career path.

The other day my friend Elizabeth made a mistake of saying in front of her daughter you’re wrong she said quickly. All children I have learned are quick to say, you’re wrong, slower to say, you’re right.

She went on to explain,”My friends–except for me — don’t expect to go back to work. They like staying home. They like playing with their children, and some even like cooking and entertaining. They never want to work again.” Her sister agreed (she’s a mother of three boys). “The women in the park where she takes her children don’t want to go back to work. You know, she confided,”it’s not great working when our children are young.  

I would like to think that this generation of women appreciate what the earlier generations women accomplished. It’s possible for women today to be Betty Crocker‘s or Rosie the riveters if you want to work or not. The women of earlier generations helped pioneer the way I wonder what this generation of mothers will be pioneering for their daughters? 

14 thoughts on “Generational Changes For Women

  1. A terrific article on the emotional, psychological and physical struggle of cross generations and the battles that are still left to fight. Trish White

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