Chrystia Freeland wrote a great column about first and second-generation working moms and how each views challenges and opportunities that come with having a successful career while also taking care of a family. First-generation women are those who joined the workforce and began their ascent in their careers in the 1970s or thereabouts - they fought hard to create opportunities to succeed as professionals and rise above the stereotypes that a woman's job is to stay at home with the kids. Their daughters (most of us here on Work It, Mom!) are what Ms. Freeland describes as second-generation working women - our battles for career success might not be as difficult, but the difficulty of juggling work and family is as persistent.
From the article:
"Professional women nowadays don’t have to fight quite so hard: we are like second-generation immigrants, the native-born citizens of a country our mothers had to struggle to enter. That is a fortunate position, but I sometimes wonder whether, as in immigrant families, the first generation doesn’t worry that we’ve gone soft."
Have we gone soft? When we complain about the exhaustion and stress of juggling work and family on a daily basis are we taking for granted our ability to have a career as women and forgetting how hard the previous generation had to fight for it?
"Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett agrees that whereas her own generation “struggled to grasp the opportunities”, her 29-year-old-daughter and her peers “tend to see us pioneers as having perhaps struggled too much for work”. But the “more leisured life” that Dr Hewlett sees her daughter’s generation seeking can come at a professional price."
Read this great column and share your reactions by posting a comment. Do you talk to your mom about the challenges she encountered when she worked? Are some of your perspectives about finding work-family balance influenced by the challenges she or other women of her generation encountered?