When Everything Changed…but did it?

Images I am in the middle of reading Gail Collins, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present.  I usually wait to comment on a book when I finish it but after the last few days, I can't help but think/write out loud half way in.

First of all, the book is a great read.  Collins has done a really good job on this book by being more of a journalist than a Op-ed writer.  She is giving a full account on the history of women over the past 50 or so years.  This is a book that should be read by all women but particularly all young women.  We have come so far, and everything has changed but I can't help but think it just shifted.

Granted, we aren't home churning butter and scrubbing the clothes but we are still, for lack of a better word, women.  What do I mean by that?  Let me start by taking a few steps back.  Women work, women can start their own businesses, women are lawyers and judges and senators and governors and heads of state, women, at least presently and hopefully for ever, have control over their own bodies, women go to the finest universities in the world…etc., but you get the point. 

So now, let's go to the flip side of where we are today.  There is no doubt that many many families have 2 incomes, both people/parents work.  But, just taking a guess here, that when it comes to the majority of family issues, the woman takes responsibility for it.  There are many men today who stay at home, take full and equal responsibility for the role in the house hold but I believe the majority don't.  Maybe my generation more than people who are now just having families. 

I will be the first to admit, I love life and live it to the fullest and have certainly achieved plenty with Fred over the past 28 years but there is a small part of me, particularly this past week, I have been thinking "when did I sign up for this".  Combined with the fact that there is a part of me that put my life into cruise control for sometime to be home for the kids and for the family ( which is fine ) but I am still responsible for the majority of our life and probably will always be no matter what else I have professionally going on .  Could Fred have had the success he has had without me if he had to raise 3 kids and be responsible for everything else that goes around a family?  Who dealt with buying the cars, building the homes, planning our vacations, dealing with the kids and everything they need ( Ok that could take 12 pages ), managing the home, filling the fridge, making dinner, making plans, tracking personal investments, dealing with the dog etc., while still hoping to carve out some type of career for myself. 

I do not believe that these problems are socioeconomic related but they just come in different forms.  I also believe that it will be easier for my girls and their generation.  There will be more acceptance and allowances in the work place for them.  Who knows, maybe women will just have to struggle for ever.  Maybe women are just more layered, have a bigger bandwidth and have care taking in their bones.  No offense guys.  But at the end of day, I sorta of feel that there is part of my generation that just got hosed because you can't have it all.  Having it all is a total myth.  BTW, what does having it all actually mean?  You can bring home the bacon, be there for the kids, your husband and have time for yourself.  Not unless you don't sleep because something gets screwed and it generally is you. 

We certainly shouldn't take how far we have come for granted, because everything has changed but at the end of the day did it or more to the point….how much?

Comments (Archived):

  1. chefbikram

    Having it all is a trap. I agree who is to say what “all” means? And if I had it all, I’d be bored. There is no such thing as having it all for any intelligent man or woman. Striving is part of the human condition. Happiness comes in many forms. A nice glass of wine at dinner with my husband while my child is soundly sleeping brings me immense happiness. Simplicity is underrated. Money often complicates things. For some, the more they have the more they need/want.GG, did U read Beautiful Boy?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Read Beautiful Boy and Tweak back to back. Wow.Agreed….simplicity is certainly underrated.

  2. BarbDLdn

    You have definitely hit the nail on the head for our generation. We were told – work hard, get a great education, take advantage of the doors that are opening and…. and… what? We all sorely know what ‘having it all’ means – trying hard, but never pleasing everyone. No complaints here, though. I take full responsibility for my good and bad decisions! I just think it’s a phase that the evolution of women’s mindset had to go through. On a positive note, did you catch Lucy Kelloway’s ‘Longer Work Life’ article a couple weeks ago (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7… She writes about the changes that might come about if society begins to accept that we will all work until we are 70 or more. The brightest light from her discussion is that people will accept that taking a ‘break’ for 5-10 years to raise kids is natural and merely fits in between the two or three ‘careers’ that everyone will have in their longer work life. What a wonderful future for our daughters – no more of this inane and ultimately fruitless anxiety over ‘to work or not to work’ when the kids are small.I also agree with chefbikram – simplicity is majorly underrated!

    1. Gotham Gal

      I agree that the next generation of people will be more understanding of theneed to take a break for 5-10 years to raise kids. At the end of the day,women still have the kids and that will never change…I am pretty positiveabout that.