Saturday, February 23, 2008

Motherhood...

Can you imagine how a mother in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and 80's even coped with being a woman without the assistance of the Internet?

Seriously, how did they do it?

How did they handle the ups and downs of motherhood and being a woman without the ability to read others experiences and blogging about their own issues in life?

I just can't imagine they lived and dealt with the everyday trials and tribulations. Just don't want to picture it...OMG!!

From the perspective of being a mother from 2003-present, I struggle with desires to go back to the workforce and feeling that being home with my children is best. We all know that women felt the same all the way back in history. I remember when I was pregnant with my son, I was hearing several people asking me... are you going to stay home with him, don't you want to?? All along I felt like they were TELLING me to be a certain kind of woman. When at that point in my life, I didn't want to be home. I liked my independence as a woman, making my own money, opening my mind to new experiences, and growing as an individual. So, the debate of whether a woman should stay home (as my grandmother's generation and some of my mother's generation often did) or remaining in the workforce is a very touchy discussion between many women.

So for my own curiosity and educational purposes, I began my research to compare the roles of a woman in the 50's and our role today.

The Internet has made it possible for me to vent and cope with all the good, bad, and the ugly of being a mother. And also to learn to appreciate my own mother as well as my grandmothers and their mothers.

First....

A Woman's Role in the 1950s (taken from the Associated Content)
The role of women in the 1950 was repressive and constrictive in many ways.
Society placed high importance and many expectations on behavior at home as well as in public. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife.
The perfect mother was supposed to stay home and nurture so society would accept them.
A diligent housewife had dinner on the table precisely at the moment her husband arrived from work.
A wife was a "good" wife only if she carried out her man's every order and agreed with him on everything. In fact, even if she wanted to voice an opinion, he education, or rather lack of thereof would not allow it.
Another reference is the 1950's American High School Home Economics textbook.
An essay found in the book is entitled "How to be a Good Wife." The television shows aired at this time reflect the publics need for stability and conformity.
The main character of the most watched show at the time, I Love Lucy, portrayed a woman as the stereotypical woman-in-distress, who always needed her husband, the man, to bail her out. She also was symbolic of the inept woman: the "woman driver," the "over-spender" who cannot budget, and the basic downfall of man.
Pleasantville's Betty was an appropriate example of a 50's mother. Following is an excerpt that applies to motherhood.
Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes.
They are God's creatures and he would like to see them playing the part.
Minimize all noise…eliminate the noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum.
Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
Every morning she woke them up for school, cooked breakfast for them, and sent them off to school.
The breakfast however was far from the cereal and milk often enjoyed today. This was feast that consisted of towers of pancakes, piles of eggs, and platefuls of bacon and patties, all topped with a pound of syrup.
Another example of women who longed to be good mothers was the contestants on Queen for a Day.
They competed for pity points, but some of them genuinely wanted to make life better for their kids.
Such over exaggerated behavior was typical of women at this time.
They wanted to appeal to men and society and therefore felt they had to be perfect and overworking.
They only felt secure when they were praised for their house keeping or kids.

The article continues for several more pages...very interesting to read....and all I gotta say is WOW!! HOW DID THEY FREAKING DO IT??

Women today...the debate between whether woman should stay home or go to work

This is a huge debate discussed on many talk shows (like Oprah), message boards, blogs, etc...It is amazing how you compare the woman's role from the 50s to now and how much life has sped up. How we no longer have the "time" to talk to our kids, help them with homework, or even go to their activities. But finding that time and dedicating yourself to it is what counts, whether you are working fulltime, parttime or staying home. I know for myself that it is a decision that is to be made between the husband and wife on what works best for EVERYONE! However, I feel for those mothers who are single mothers who crave nothing but to be with their kids as much as possible but are working fulltime or 2 jobs to just make ends meat.

For me, staying home when my son was a baby was not an option financially or emotionally. I was not ready to deal with being a "stay at home mom". But when my daughter was born, I was very ready. I had my time to grow as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. Do I wish I would have been ready when my son was born, yes...but do I think a mistake was made?? No. We loved him and cared for me even more than we may have if I was home. We tried to make up for missed time, spent our sleeping and waking moments with him, shared memories with him, loved him, and most importantly we CHERISH our time with him. I enjoy staying home with the 2 of them now, but I still have feelings of guilt that I am not working and helping enough with the bills. I try my best with babysitting and working an online job, but to a point, that is quite overwhelming. I think working might be less stress for me at times. However, I would not give this time up with my kids for the world!

For an understanding of this debate check out this link to one of Oprah's past shows titled My Baby or My Job. There are some interesting facts and stats on the subject!

Then, I would love to hear about your opinion of how you feel regarding this debate. What side are you on?? Do you feel strongly about one side or the other?? Spill it...either as a comment or on your blog. I will be waiting!

PS...I just gave my kids a bowl of cereal for breakfast and I stay home! LOL...I gotta have my time to blog (*giggle*) Also, you must visit this website...I am having way too much fun! Check it out! http://inthemotherhood.msn.com/ I will keep you posted regarding topics on this site and stories I and my friends have posted!

3 comments:

tracy said...

First off....how do you even have the time to blog something that long...Alicia, my feelings are you have the rest of your life to be a career woman with independence....you will only get this opportunity once to stay at home and raise your children....i always thought i wanted to be a working woman untill i had dom. Even when i was pregnant...i wanted to work...when he was born...i could'nt leave him and lou and i decided that we wanted to be the ones raising our son. It was the best decision i ever made. I wish that i was still able to be home for him. Lets face it when kids are put into day care how much time do you really get to spend with your child. That is really whats wrong with this world. It was a much better era when our moms stayed home and were able to know what is going on....today there are too many latch key kids looking for love in all the wrong places. I heard on the radio that a stay at home mom is worth something like 130,000...so remind shane of that daily. Its the hardest job but also the most rewarding job and i think that it is something that you will never regret. Have fun with it and embrace your daily struggles.

tracy said...

Also this is my dilema, john and i toss around the idea of having a child....i always wanted another and john said he would too...we go back and forth....the one major thing that is stopping me from saying that i definitely want to is that if we have a child, he or she will definitely have to be put into daycare. I dont want some other person raising my child. The sacrifices made in regards to scrimping with money to stay home are well worth it. One of my solutions when dom was young was that i worked on Saturday's at a salon. I really didn't consider it work because i needed that day to get out, get dressed up ....that may be something you might find to help you...having some me time...it makes you a better mommy : }

~~~~~d~~~~ said...

I'll blog it. :)