We Wanted to Hunt Too

A friend of mine went back to work on Monday after having her first baby.  It was quite the day for her.  She dropped off her baby at day care, worked until about 3:30, then picked her up, went home, made dinner, washed bottles, re-filled bottles, and cried all night.  Her husband was not quite as supportive as he should have been on this first day back, partly because he had gotten used to her being home all day for the past 4 months.

I was talking with a mutual friend about the situation and she asked me “whatever happened to the days where women took care of the kids and home base and the men went hunting?  It seems like that would be such a simpler,  lower stressed lifestyle.

My response?  “Women decided they wanted to go hunt to”.

I imagined one day the men came back with less meat than expected.   Or maybe a few women got bored with their care taking and decided they wanted to  go out and explore the land.  So those women strapped babies to their chests and went out with the men.  The first career women.

Ok, so maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that.  I think throughout history small groups have women have run with the men.  Only in the last 40 years has it truly become main stream.

In the seventies and eighties it was all about being like the men- playing their game.  Women wore suits and ties.  They were true “career” women who typically put climbing the ladder a priority over other family obligations.  The younger generation followed these role models, but decided they had deviated from traditional family & mother roles too much.

In the eighties and nineties the mood changed a little.  Most women were attempting to achieve super woman status- trying to balance career and family.  I go to numerous conferences and talks and panels each year and “work life balance” is always a big topic.  I think the concept generated from these super women.  They tried to do it all.  The younger generation following these women saw the super women burning out.  The constant strive to do everything left little time for sleep and self-rejuvination.

So now in the first decade of the 2000 I see career women making trade offs.  They start off on a career track.  Then when it’s time to have a family they’ll step off the ladder a little, focus on building their families.  They build up an infrastructure of support, and when ready, step back on the ladder for a bit.  I see them climb on and off the career progression depending on how their family is doing.  I also believe this generation may be the one where we see more men coming on and off to and taking on the lead for family responsibilities.

Hopefully we’ll learn to take turns hunting, rather than trying to drag the homestead with us.


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