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Sisters Doing it for Themselves. And for Everyone Else.

October 2, 2017

It’s too easy to get sucked into the selfless behavior that comes with being a mom, regardless how much or how little you cared and shared before the magic event.

My generation was raised with teevee sitcoms featuring June Cleaver, Ruth Martin, Carol Brady, and others who sacrificed big chunks of themselves through the 60s and 70s on behalf of their families. Spinster Aunt Bee was the prototype mother/grandmother set up as the ideal.  Even through the 90s moms who, despite working outside their homes, still bore the brunt of sitcom mom-hood with husbands that were too tired or too boorish, or were written by men who just decided they didn’t need to pitch in as partners.

Even at a pretty tender age, I remember watching these women and thinking, “well, this is bullshit.”

Some women of my generation bought into that. No one I hung out with, but some. Feminism was on the rise. Sitcom moms were doin’ it for themselves but still doin’ it for the family, too. They worked outside their homes, convinced that they could have it all. Of course, most didn’t think that to have it all they’d have to DO it all.   Twenty-four hours in a day?  No problem.

And that became the norm. Once the kids come along, Mom’s needs not only took a back seat, they were relegated to that third-row tailgunner seat in the family’s Country Squire wagon of life.

(One of the most annoying teevee spots I can remember from that era was for a godawful women’s fragrance called Enjoli. If you had a teevee in 1978, you know the one I’m talking about. If not, check youtube.)

Truthfully, I never bought it. Never aspired to be June Cleaver, nor Elyse Keaton, Angela Bower, Claire Huxtable or any of them who showed us an unbelievably fictional look at what we should aspire to.

I just wanted to be Peg Bundy, but with a 401(k).

 

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