Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thoughts on Mother's Day

Or the more things change, the more they remain the same.

It's a quiet morning here. I've just had my breakfast of eggs with asparagus, avocado, smoked salmon, and strawberries (from the farm stand) with homemade plain yogurt made from raw milk. Yummie. I'll post the instructions for the yogurt later. I played a concert last night and was up rather late and so I indulged myself by sleeping in this morning.

When I was at my local Whole Foods last Friday, I picked up the latest issue of Ms. Magazine. I was one of the original subscribers to that mag and have even saved a copy of the earliest issues somewhere. But I stopped subscribing for some reason when my children were all grown up. Now I wanted to catch up on the latest feminist news. Reading the Spring issue this morning brought back a lot of memories.

Even when I was a little girl, a girl in between two boys, I leaned towards feminist issues. But I became an ardent feminist soon after the birth of my first child and was a women's rights advocate all through the 70s. For my generation, you had to choose between a career and having children (or even in some cases marriage). And the only career choices were to become a teacher, nurse, or secretary. I purposely refused to learn to type because I did not want to go through all the work involved in earning a college degree (I could only dream about a Ph.D.) only to end up being someone's (make that some man's) secretary. In those days, a typing test was part of every job interview if you were a woman. Later, I taught myself when computers came out. But the question I kept asking myself and anyone who would listen then was, who is going to take care of the children?

Judging by the recent entries on Grace's blog at Bad Mom, Good Mom, that problem still has not been solved. I'm afraid that my generation has let down the current generation. We've allowed our daughters to think they could "have it all" when the reality is that things haven't changed all that much. Raising children has never been easy (but I don't like the comment that I have "paid my dues" either.) Yes, you may be lucky enough to have an "egalitarian" marriage but when it comes to raising children, even two dedicated parents are not enough. I see my role as Grandma as one of helping the next generation out as much as possible but both of my children have moved too far away from the nest for me to be of any real help on a day-to-day basis.

We have changed women's lives, but we have not changed society. But even if society were to change to make it easier for the working mother, I think that in the end any woman is going to wish she could be in two places at once. On the job where she can use her skills and at home to watch and guide her precious growing children's lives.

Happy Mother's Day to J. and M., two working Moms!

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