Why We Are Sadder than our Mothers (were)
An Op-Ed written by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times generated a lot of controversy recently. Ms. Dowd quoted a General Social Survey which has tracked American's moods since the 1970's and the results were that basically women are getting less happy through the years. The study goes on further to state that women with kids are the least happy of all kinds of women.
What? My first reaction was shock and disbelief. Could it really be possible that moms in 2009 are truly less happy than our own mothers were in the 1970's? Moms of that generation enjoyed fewer choices for careers and didn't generally have partners who shared in house work or the day-to-day child rearing, By that measuring stick, moms should be happier today with the plethora of opportunities that come with being a modern day mom. I thought more about the Dowd piece though, and something my own mother said came to mind.
She and her friends believe that parenting today is much harder than it was when we were kids in the 60's and 70's. Parents in those days worried about us a lot less and left us alone a lot more. Our afternoons were spent riding bikes to our friends houses and coming home when it started to get dark--nobody had travel soccer practice, tutors, chess lessons etc. We had tons of free time, and that meant our mothers did too. My mom was a teacher and arrived home the same time we did from school. She did "whatever" in the house from 4 to 6 while my brother and I remained completely independent from a young age. She didn't worry about where we were or if we would come home. She knew that as soon as the first kid was called in for dinner we would be pulling into the driveway on our bikes.Continued on the next page