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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Are we any different from women a generation ago?

An email from my mother-in-law got me thinking again about how my life might be different (or not so different) from women and mothers who were trying to raise their families decades and generations before me.

She emailed me in response to last Wednesday's post that criticized the NY Times for not filling out their story about college women who want to be at-home moms. My issue was that the story neglected to include the fact that moving from career to motherhood and back to career isn't all that easy. I also felt that it should have included elements that address how corporate America must evolve to retain women who have kids.

She wrote:
...As far as these Yale women are concerned, it sounds more like they grew up in the 60s...."When I grow up I will have 6 children and a handsome, perfect husband." The only difference being that these women were expected to go to college...but one wonders if progress has ever been made in women's expectations and the outcomes aye?...

Is the only difference between me and women a generation ago is that we were expected to get a bachelor's degree? I know at times I have feared that other people might judge me because I've become one of those women who worked just long enough to get married and have a baby.

I never intended to become that woman; it's what happened, but it's not what I set out to do. So now my job is to make sure that's not how my story ends.


  1. Ah, yes, but I think we all expected for support to be there when we had kids. Our husbands would do 50% of the childcare and housework. There would be wonderful, affordable daycare. We'd have flexible hours. All that was supposed to happen by now. It just hasn't. Many of us get lucky in the husband department, but many still don't. And though some can afford wonderful daycare, many can't. And, as you know all too well, those parttime jobs or jobs with flexible hours just aren't there. And we didn't expect to *want* to stay at home.

  2. Concur, concur, concur, concur....

    I too am (now) a stay at home mom, glad I managed to become a mom, went to school in the era when we really weren't allowed to think about marriage or kids...

    I too wish the article had been more explicit about how hard it is to move back and forth. And that really nothing is being done about it. So I applaud you for trying to make a difference. Maybe we can start something here...

    I also agree it's good these women are even thinking about things. They *are* ahead of where we were.

    And Laura too - I never expected to want to stay home. I remember my law friends apologizing to me when they quit...although i supported them.

    Wow, glad I found your site. I'll be back regularly.

  3. I guess what i don't understand is what is wrong with being a woman who works just long enough and then has a child? What, do they expect us to never work? or to never have children? Whoever "they" are. I am that woman. And if someone judges me, then i suppose it's their problem.

    Really, i think a big difference between us and a generation before... is that now the standard of living is so damned expensive that for most families both parents MUST work.

  4. I agree, the cost of living has become so high that 2 parents often must work.

    Also, I think this generation is proving that staying at home isn't a bad thing either. Homeschooling is on the rise, dads are starting to stay home too.

    What our generation is (when finances are not the issue) is one about choice.