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


Kraxpelax said...

Dark nights washed by distant rippling trees
and alien winds covering your eyelids, purifying
like everything, move on with splendid ease
leaving us a message: life will never cease
its sleepy course in vain
in order to attain
rebirth, since Death is not and Life is dying.

The heat around Time's corner waves a scent
for creedence revival of some virtual vampire
as deep inside. A force considered spent
returns from utter non-existence that was meant
to keep us out of breath -
Is Life both Life and Death?
Riddle of the Night! The Day be hot and dire.

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Adiós, mis vacas! Que pasa en esta temporada de tristeza?
La soledad se cultiva en las ciudades;
viva la muerte.
Uno no debe imaginar que el hombre es bueno.
El paisaje se despierta en un fiel espejo, pregunte.

La noche ha porches de la siesta en ruinas con pistacho.
Débiles enemigos se disipa amigos sin
valor. La calle es corta.
Hay falta de coherencia, la esperanza y la fe.
Todas las puertas evitadas saludan: No pasarán.

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jodi of the creative JAR said...

It is interesting my mom was a stay at home until i was around 10 or so, but my grandmother was the sole bread winner. I was the sole breadwinner of my family of 5 and my husband was a stay at home dad until a couple of years ago - which he works PT for UPS and gets home before I goto work each morning. So one of use is always home with our 3 daughters. Family dynamics have changed so much. I have done what I needed to do to take care of my family. I also don't have your typical 40 hr a week job. I work in the land of magazines, so I really don't know when I will get home each night (5,6,7,8,9,10,11 pm). For the last 14 years I have worked my booty off. Back then was happier being the one in control (working) but, right now I would be happier at home. But you do what you need to do! And I am thankful for the job I have and will provide as long as I need to. But the stress is the factor in my book.
Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said...

"Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest"
I liked the spin about the statistic too broadly interpreted to be of any real use? You are right, there are many other stressors now, that may not have existed in the past, and I think that this stat seemed biased in my opinion. I also fell that happiness can be found in doing what you love, just as you mentioned. It can be in the form as a working woman, mom, or both!!
"Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest"

Lora said...

Interesting thought...
I don't know as that necessarily holds true to me, as I'm happier when working.
However, I'm not married with children yet, so...

Visiting you from SITS--have a great day!

The Royal Family said...

thanks for visiting me on my special SITS day. I hope you had time to enter my giveaways.

Going to check out your etsy now

The buzz,

Kristin said...

I am SAHM and life is most def not stress free! Saying hi from SITS. : )

Anonymous said...

In my line of work (nanny) I see the stress that these mothers have every day when they have to leave their children with me for 10 hours a day. It breaks their heart. They had to choose career over staying at home. That was their choice, as hard as it is.

When we have kids I'll stay at home. No doubt about it. My mother was a workaholic when I was a kid and I have so many memories of her doing work late into the night. I never want my kids to have that.