Women of my generation decided that the supermom thing was bogus. We decided to stay home and raise our children. We innocently thought that we would do our best, spend our years with our children and then go back to work. But many have found that after even just a few years, they cannot resume the careers they left.
I have observed that many women are beginning to get the feeling that their decisions to be housewives or stay at home moms for a time may turn out to be irreversible. It's true that some of it is possibly our "fault." At this point in our lives, we are loathe to take shitty jobs that we might have settled for right out of college. It's simply not worth it for us to make less to work more than the part-time and freelance gigs we have now, or go completely back to the beginning. It is simply not worth it to drive an hour each way to work. Women feel that their education and experience, including life experience, is valuable. Employers, apparently, do not.
When I make a comment that, as soon as my knee is healed, I will go back to waitressing, my friends are aghast. "Surely," they say, "you should be doing something else. You have skills, you have talent." That may be, but either there is not a place I fit, or there is not a need for my skills, or I am not effectively conveying those skills in my resume, my letters or my interviews. The truth is that I really couldn't even get hired as a waitress without relying on personal connections. Thankfully, I have a job, and one that I like. But I am underemployed and underearning.
This whole thing makes me wonder: What untapped talent must be quietly folding laundry and cooking dinners all across our great country? What great minds and strong backs must be keeping schedules and running fundraisers? I am not sad that this talent is going to the benefit of our children and our society. But I am disappointed that when women want to go back to work, they kindof can't. And I am concerned that the realization of this phenomenon will place women in a position where they must make a life choice at a young age: be a mother OR have a career.
All material on this site (c) Sunshine Gladish-Cowgill except where otherwise noted.
The Cinderella (also known as Maid with Movie Magazine) in my title is by Norman Rockwell from The Saturday Evening Post. I think it particularly captures a moment in domestic life, especially for a young woman.