The way it wasMy mom tells my sister and me, "Motherhood never felt like a sacrifice to me because I loved you so much." I don't question my mom's big-heartedness but moms of her generation also expected to deny themselves. They anticipated sacrificing work for full-time child care, with plans to eventually return to paid employment.
Men and women today are not conditioned for the degree of sacrifice that parenthood, and above all motherhood, requires. This is, I believe, the reason the transition to parenthood is so volatile for us, and why so many of us have a personality conflict with the baby stage.
Most of us develop more respect and empathy for our mothers and the sacrifices they made for us after we join the ranks of motherhood ourselves. Nevertheless, approximately 82 percent of us believe we are doing as good a job, or a better job with our children than our mothers did with us, according to Parenting magazine.
Any way you look at it, parenthood is much harder today than when we were small. Despite having options to work at home or outside the home, to have babies or not we feel we have few real choices. The new world that was supposed to accommodate smart, career-oriented moms and equal partnerships in marriage never materialized en masse.
Postpartum Support Meant Neighbors and Casseroles
Neighbors, coffee klatches, and church call-chains rallied around new parents of my mother's generation, making possible time off from Baby and iceboxes stocked with casseroles. Although we have mandated maternity and paternity leaves, support today is not comparable to that which many of our moms received, when a great number of women were still at home and readily chipped in to help one another's families.