I never realized that my own daughters would struggle with many of the decisions in raising children as my generation did.
Back in the eighties all the young moms in my neighborhood couldn’t wait to step into the work force and be respected as much as a man. I remember the many conversations all of us shared. Half of the moms told me when they were home full time, but were frustrated because they knew they were meant to do more than just be there to raise their kids, while the other half talked about how their husbands wanted them to work to help pay bills, but part time was okay because child care costs were so high. I didn’t quite fit into either group, but I was okay with that, I chose to be home full time, and fully understood there would be sacrifices, (financially) along the way. I would have gladly given up anything to be home with my kids, because that worked for me, and our family.
Now all the young mothers in our family, from daughters to daughter’s in laws, are struggling with the challenges of what fits best within their own families too. One wants to be home and loves the role of full time mother, even though it’s the toughest job there is. One wants to find balance between her talents and skills while making her family her top priority. Another one feels it’s her duty to help fend the burdens and costs of raising a family and wants to share those responsibilities too, all the while juggling motherhood and learning that it never ends at 5. The last one wants to work around a musicians’ lifestyle, which hours fluctuate and are often erratic and unpredictable. However, that abstract crazy schedule probably offers the best of all sides to a working, full time, mother, no matter who you are.
Things might be changing all the time, but understanding Motherhood, the variety of parenting dilemmas, and finding balance in the family, is the same discussion today, that we had back in my early-mom days.
Though women have evolved and has found their footprint in every walk of life, our worries, our concerns about being our best self, the best mother, the most present parent, will never change. In my book, that’s a good thing. It means we showed our daughters, and sons, how to make choices, how to live in a bigger world and still count on family dinners a few nights a week. It means we are not perfect, and yet we constantly strive to be our best. Every generation will have to do their own math…it’s not easy finding that happy balance, but it’s always worth the effort. I am proud to know what choice I made was best for me, as I am proud of every woman who says, “this works best for me and my family too.” So yes, we are not so different from our daughters after all, and yes, today, it takes a village…but it all starts with one mother’s brave decision. God Bless.