The modern day woman has become more than just a counterpart in a male dominated workplace. She has become the epitome of a successful person. The modern day career woman often wears 2 hats or more. Her personality has become more flexible as the needs in her life have grown more complex and time consuming.
Yes, a woman today is more than just a woman is. She is now a daughter, wife, mother, friend, economist, and anything and everything else that she has to be in between. Seeing a modern day wife and mother makes me wonder what it was like for the children and husbands of yesteryears. Before the hectic life of today, when most families are forced to live on 2 incomes from the husband and wife, a woman seemed to lead a stress free life.
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Her only worry then was how to cook the chicken defrosting on the kitchen counter. When exactly did this change happen? How has it affected the way a family functions these days? Believe it or not, there was actually a time in history when women stayed at home and took care of the family. This was all before World War 2 changed the landscape of the workplace as the people of then new it to be.
Before the war broke out in 1948, women were content to stay at home. Wives took care of the household while the men worked and provided the finances needed to sustain his family. Women were content to stay home and take care of the children.
The children were happy because they came home from school or play time and had somebody at home with a glass of thirst quenching lemonade for them or freshly baked cookies for a snack. The women were more supportive of their brood.
As a mother, the women made sure that the children were well taken care of, more secure in the thought that their mother loved them because they could see her and feel it more and often. A mother's role then is just as important as a mother's role now. Mother's then were not as stressed out as they are today. Yes, women then were also tired and stressed out.
They were very busy and already had 24 hour work days. They were happier though. This is because they dealt with only one situation at a time and the routine did not vary that often so that dealing with any problems posed before them seemed so trivial and common sensical.
Then unexpectedly, the United States got involved in World War 2 on June 6, 1944. This is the date that changed the family and working man's landscape forever. Women were at this time already slowly entering various workplaces.
The war accelerated their entry even more. As most men shipped off to fight the war, women were left at home and were forced into the unexpected situation of having to be both mother and father, care giver and provider for their brood. Women began working where men used to work as a show of support for the soldiers overseas who were giving their lives in order to make sure that the families of the world would continue to live free from tyranny.
This was the start of the subtle changes in the family dynamics into what we now know it to be. Slowly, the mother and wife figure, the woman kids could always trust and talk to, their mom, the woman who made sure that a hot meal waited for her husband when he got home tired from work started to disappear from the world.
After the war, women chose to continue down the new path that had opened up for them. Women felt that it gave them equal footing with men and working gave them a new sense of fulfillment that they used to augment what was now to them a boring life of a housewife.
This movement continued to evolve until women finally became the dual careered women of today. She is both a mother and an employee. A wife and an executive, you name it, she can do it. Women of the 21st century have seemingly perfected the art of multitasking.
All of this progress in the woman's empowerment movement came at a high cost to their families though. As women discovered that they are more than just pretty faces who could do other things aside from care for the men and the family, the very foundation that had the woman as its supportive backbone suffered a huge blow. The families of today have become very vulnerable to disintegration.
Now, because both parents are already working due to the high cost of living, nobody is around to supervise the upbringing of the children anymore. Latchkey kids are now the norm and the lack of parental supervision have allowed kids the freedom to experiment with crime and drugs.
Divorce has become more common these days. As the husband and wife lose time for their family, lose the time to talk to each other and find out how they are faring in their lives as individuals, a couple and parents, the end up following the misguided belief that more money means a stronger family. Money does not make for a happy family.
Togetherness and understanding does. This is what the families of yesteryears had that we no longer have today.
These days, a woman, as a mother and wife does want to give her family their due respect, love and understanding. But she is just so burned out from work all the time that she unintentionally vents on her family by taking what little time she can offer to them in terms of quality time away from them.
This usually happens because the woman already loses her sense of self worth and who she really is. Once again, this is something that did not exist for women before 1942.
The war did not affect just the psyche of men; In fact, the effects of that war have reached farther than ever thought possible. It took away the innocence of women and replaced it with females who have a need to constantly prove that they can equal the man in any field or work place.
I guess it will take more time before the women can complete their evolution into the perfect being. In my mind, this is the woman who can be career driven in the work place, but still be the caring housewife and mother who existed back in the years before World War 2.
Cristina Giampoli's Homepage. History 175 Project. November 25, 2006. <http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/st/~cg3/0%7Eindex.html>
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