Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Good Old Days
The other day I read a random fact somewhere that made me stop & wonder. It basically stated, in statistical form, that women where happier back in the 'good old days,' when they stayed home than they are now when most work outside the home. It was concluded that there was less stress then, than there is now & so, women where happier. This made me think for several reasons. There are many stressors in our lives, some may have to do with work, but there are others. There's the stress of wondering how we can provide for our families, in a world where two incomes (sometimes more than two) are, more often than not, needed to keep our homes & to keep our families fed & clothed. There's the stress of being able to find a job, regardless of the amount of experience (& sometimes, in spite of our work experience) we may have, when few are hiring & even fewer are hiring beyond entry level positions. There may be the stress of not earning what we once did & our partners may not be earning what they once did. Stress may include...the list could go on & on, lack of insurance, health or dental issues. So, it seems that to say that simply being in the workplace is the difference between now & yesteryear, in terms of stress, may be a bit of a stretch.
The second reason that this statistic made me stop & think is that neither my mother, nor my grandmother where entirely "stay at home moms" & they weren't necessarily mavericks in this regard. During World War 2 many women went to work, to keep our factories going & to support the troops, in essence really, they kept our businesses alive. My grandmother, at one point in time had her own hair salon. She also helped my great grandfather with a motel that he owned. Later she worked, as a hairdresser in a number of other salons. My mother worked most of her life. Was she happy? Not necessarily, but was she less happy than other mothers who stayed at home? Also, not necessarily. Where we, as children less happy or well adjusted than other children? No, we fell among the norm. Where my mother & her mother before her, exceptions to the rule? No, they really weren't. Many women worked, even in their day. Many, if not most, of my friends had mother's who worked, at some point in their childhood.
There was no statistic, in what I was reading, as to whether or not men where happier in the 'good old days.' Maybe there should be. Maybe there is one. Job satisfaction would play a role, for men or women. I believe that my grandmother was happy, but she was doing something she loved. At any rate, I think this type of statistic has more than one interpretation & is less conclusive than it seems to be, on it's surface. What do you think? Are women less happy now? Is this simply an issue of stay at home vs. work outside the home? Would men be happier if they stayed at home? Is this even gender related? Is the statistic too broadly interpreted to be of any real use? There are many other stressors now, that may not have existed in the past, do these play a larger role than might be indicated in this one statistic? It definitely makes you think, which is a good thing. So, as they used to say on, I think it was "Saturday Night Live": "I'll give you a topic, Discuss" SAM