Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Baby Boomers Got It Wrong, #1

Today on Townhall.com I found an excellent editorial titled "Baby Boomers Owe America's Young People an Apology".

I loved the whole piece, but especially this excerpt:
And, young women, we apologize especially to you. Many of us baby boomers bought into the feminist idea that getting married and making a family with a man were far less fulfilling than career success and that marriage itself is "sexist" and "patriarchal." So, to those of you women who have career success and didn't get married, we sincerely apologize. Turns out that most careers aren't as fulfilling as we promised.

I've been struggling with this particular lessons from the Boomers lately myself.

I swallowed the drivel. My mom could be considered an early feminist; she's always made it clear to me that whatever I wanted to do was within my grasp. Mix that with the various teachers, authority figures, and media who constantly insisted that working women were smarter, happier, more fulfilled, and outright BETTER than stay-at-home moms.

So did I want to be a frumpy, ill-educated, miserable stay-at-home mom? Of course not!

Once staying at home became a necessity, I somehow managed to stay convinced of the narrative, that working is more fulfilling and better overall.

It's taken me a few years to get over it.

This past month alone I've gone through many realizations as to the superior nature of my situation. Chris is happier, the kids are happier, and I have more free time and less stress than I did while working. Life is easier because I'm more flexible, we don't have to cram family time into a few waking hours, I'm more available for the kids and any emergencies that pop up... overall things are better.

Just this weekend, I admitted to myself that I might never go back to work. And I'm happy with that.

The myth that women need to work outside of the home to be fulfilled is just that: a myth. Just like most of the Boomer "ideals".

Unfortunately Generation X (Chris's generation) and Generation Y (my generation) are left cleaning up the mess the Boomers caused. We're living with the failed social agendas the Boomers put into place.

The good news, however, is that we're returning to more traditional lifestyles in droves. We may have been messed up, but a growing percentage of us are changing our lives and outlooks to do better for our own kids. We've learned from our parents' mistakes, and we won't be following in their footsteps.

Yes, I am a stay-at-home mom, and there's nothing wrong and everything good about being in my situation. I wouldn't change our life for any reason other than absolutely necessary. I've accepted that my education is wrong, and more of my peers join me every day.

So what exactly is the legacy of the generation who taught us to "never trust anyone over thirty"? We've learned not to trust anyone over 40 , much the same as they wouldn't trust their own parents.

And that is the definition of irony.


Some interesting reading that I've found helpful:
Death of the Grown-Up by Diana West - a well-researched, very inclusive book detailing how American culture went from being guided by adults to being guided by perpetual adolescents.
Happy Housewives by Darla Shine - the anti-Desperate Housewives book which picks on Boomer ideals concerning motherhood and femininity. Absolutely hilarious.
7 Myths of Working Mothers by Suzanne Venker - tears apart the Boomer ideals concerning motherhood. To be fair I'm only halfway through but it is awesome so far.