I obviously didn't coin the term "powermom" but the word has a specific meaning to me: I see this powermom lifestyle as a way of life for all women of the 21st century. We're stuck in between the physical and societal demands of moms to bear children, raise them and care for them and their spouses AND the pressure for that woman to be educated and have a career that they can sustain through their childbearing years. In a way, I feel like the Rosie the Riveter type from WWII is sort of our predecessor, someone who made ends meet and rose to the occasion when responsibilities were left to her. I feel like the woman of the 21st century has a similar dilemma as roles for women have completely changed and yet we still become moms and often bear the brunt of the responsibility for raising children and keeping the house in order.
It was when I saw how busy I was versus how simple my husband's life was that I wondered "where did chivalry go?" Where did bringing in the groceries or checking the tire pressure or unclogging the sink go? Where did the simple life of a stay at home mom go? (HA, does that exist and did it ever?) It seems more and more that women are singlehandedly keeping family life going. I know this is not the case for every family but sometimes I stop and observe my husband and his daily tasks and responsibilities and he just doesn't have that instinct within himself to find a better way to organize the garage, to cook a turkey, to save energy, to shop more efficiently, to get his kids into extracurricular classes. He doesn't have the same burdens on himself that I place upon myself. We both equally support our family and finances so he doesn't have undue pressure on him to be the sole provider for the family as some men do and yet I often place the pressure upon myself to keep the family clock ticking - grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, oil changes, defrosting the freezer, having the gutters cleared, scheduling the termite inspection, all these tasks I have taken on voluntarily. I suspect I'm not the only one: judging by the disproportionate amount of mombloggers out there vs men and the amazing things they do all day along with having kids, raising them, and holding a fulltime job - there is definitely a trend towards women taking on more and more responsibility. Of course I think more and more, men are also doing more of the tasks that were once considered womens' work.
I've always been a fan of Mad men and I recently watched the show Good Girls Revolt which was set in a similar time and documents women in the workplace at a news room. It's interesting to contrast it to the show Newsroom which is also an amazing show, similar concept but placed in the modern day. But what is so interesting about that time moving from the early 60's to late 70's is that there were career girls and there were...girls. Most women, even if they went to a womens college or if they went to college and got a degree, many of them were still destined to marry and lay aside their career for family. And those who chose to continue working often had no way to continue to work and have a family - they had to choose whereas men never had to make that choice because it was just not the way it was. Even today, even though things have changed a lot in society, still women continue to struggle with the same issues. On fb groups that I'm in, it's a constant question by moms: 'help, how can I go back to work after 6 weeks of having a baby?! I don't want to leave the baby with a stranger!'. Some moms have to work and they just do it all because they want to or have to or both. Some moms choose to stay home with the baby but life is still not necessarily easier for them. So many stay at home moms are doing A LOT and taking on A LOT of responsibilities - they often blog, they sell books or skin care, they work as virtual assistants, they volunteer on a daily basis, they do whatever they can to continue on a career path all while still raising kids and taking care of the family.
Do you all think this is just a trend across roles and genders or do you agree that it seems more heavily weighted towards women and where do you think this strong sense of need to do so much came from? Is it from an outward or inward pressure?
I feel this is a very long conversation with a lot of nuance - but what do you all think? I do think that chivalry doesn't really exist anymore and I don't really long for it (maybe the two are completely unrelated), but as roles between men and women change and skew so much, less and less is off the table for women to do and more and more is also on the table. Though sometimes I would like a simpler life from a simpler time, I know that this comes with a lot of other freedoms I would lose. Sound off in the comments with your take on it all!
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Always A Parent is my blog about parenting, business, entrepreneurship, pregnancy, and motherhood. MULTIWEAR® is my product design business selling products for busy moms, nursing and breastfeeding moms as well as diaper bags and gym bags.
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