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a must read: dallas morning news op ed on the guilt that grips gen x working moms

Tina Fey and her daughter in an American Express ad.

You have no idea how much this photographs depicts my days.

From the Dallas Morning News
November 5, 2009
Opinion Editorial by Deborah Mitchell

“Generation X girls grew up believing that we had the same opportunities as our brothers, and, for the most part, this was true. The college graduation rate for Gen X women is almost twice the rate for baby boomer women. And more than half of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees conferred in this country are now granted to women.

“Mothers, however, are a different story. No matter our level of education, we accept underemployment so that we can take the kids to the doctor or run them to soccer practice. We take jobs where we won’t have to travel so that we can be home to help our kids with homework and to watch their games. It’s not glamorous, but it needs to be done.”

Are you a working mom, be you Silent, Boomer, Gen X or Gen Y? Did or does guilt grip you?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. FLConfetti

    I don’t even have a child, and yet I feel guilty that I DON’T have a high-powered career! I get posed the “so what do you do with all your free time if you don’t have kids?” question. People find it absurd that I had the opportunity to work 60-hour weeks and pursue fortune and advanced degrees (without the ‘burden’ of a child at home) yet chose not to do so, and instead worked “just a job”…which paid enough to support myself for quite some time, and allowed for numerous vacations and free time. Only now in my late 30s am I working on an advanced degree, a career change, and having a child. It seems no matter what choice you make, there’s going to be somebody who doesn’t understand it and will try to make you feel like an imbicile for chosing it…but chances are, they envy something about the choice you made.

  2. jenX

    @LE – beautiful thoughts, Le. Motherhood has been and will always be my greatest adventure.

    @SEEKTHEQUESTION – I really think Gen X men are the first generation of men to pursue (without being completely shamed) work/life balance so they have more time with their kids. A lot has been written about Gen X dads in this regard. They really are very different – probably more different than Gen X moms are from Boomer and Silent moms.

    @TASHA – Yes, I did notice the options were limited. I think Mitchell is brave to write about these things. We need to bring the struggles women have out into the open. For me, I had to work. I had a high-powered career, but more than wanting that, my family needed my income. And, my struggle was less with guilt and more with grief. I missed my children terribly and I feared I would live with regrets beyond my control. I feel much more at peace these days, but eventually, I’ll return to work and know when I do that this is just another way I am caring for my children. Thank you for commenting. You’ve made such a good point. Not all choices involve these negative emotions – or consequences. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. I know from experience, working moms don’t need to feel half as guilty as they do, and honestly, they aren’t missing as much as they think they are. Likewise, working moms don’t all have high-powered careers. Many have crappy jobs and work to make ends meet.

  3. Tasha

    Not all stay- or work-at-home mothers, belonging to whatever generation, are guilt-gripped, and not all of us choose to stay with our children over high-powered careers because we’re “damaged” because our mommies had to work for a living.

    That’s the problem I have with op-eds like these. Just two options are presented: Either women work or, in a fit of guilt, they quit their jobs and tie on an apron. What about the women who very deliberately choose to stay home with their children, and not as a response to some negative emotion?

    What gets lost in all this is that we now have the choice. Before, it was mommyhood or life as a social outcast. Granted, men haven’t traditionally had to make the decision of whether to work or to stay home. More often than ever, though, they get to make the choice, too.

  4. seekthequestion

    My wife and I both work about 3/4 time. We share the load of housework, of raising kids, and of bringing home the bacon. I suspect that our arrangement represents something of a not-too-distant future as Gen X and Gen Y live first and work second.

    I have this observation to make: if some women have struggled with the tug-of-war between career and home, I think we can expect the same of men among those who truly attempt an egalitarian approach to life together as a family.

    Although my tug is the opposite–I feel a deep responsibility to provide for my family–it is no less of a tug-of-war.

  5. le @ whoopwhoop

    hello darling girl – am loving the new header !! too fab – you just look amazing ….

    as to mothering – the greatest undervalued career option ever … not acknowledged, not supported, not benefited up, no health or retirement plan.

    It truly is a labour of love. And what happens when the love leaves and it is just labour …

    Lets hope and make the love last, le xoxo


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