The ex-housewife in question is Terry Hekker, a woman who made waves in the 70's by writing about the pleasures of just being a housewife in a world where Ms magazine had us burning our bras. Apparently life ended up not going smoothly for Terry down the road, and she recently gave us an update; a cautionary tale prompted by "The Times story that will not die: young women opting out."
Yes, the mommy wars just won't seem to die. I read about Terry in Ellen Goodman's syndicated column. I've always enjoyed Goodman's writing, but this time she managed to part through the muck being flung from both sides and hit the nail right on the head, echoing my very point on the whole matter with this quote:
"We still haven't made work bend to the arc of life and love. Nor have we made it easy to opt back into the workforce after you opt out. As long as this is cast as an individual choice, as long as it's left to the mommy warriors, the rest of society gets off the hook."
As long as we keep looking at it as a war, no one wins. And you know, of course most of the women at the center of this debate would not end up in Terry's financial predicament. But her admonishment to those who are pondering "opting out of the workforce" is not without merit. Nothing in life is certain, and the way we live these days---the creature comforts we enjoy tend to have us living beyond our means. Even a well educated woman with a business degree, staying home with her two or three kids, a mortgage and an SUV would find her life turned upside down if her husband left her for his secretary.
And don't get me wrong, those of you who have never heard my diatribe on this topic before, I am not taking sides. Women need to do what's best for them and their families. What I hate about the mommy wars are those who presume to think it's a simple choice for most women, when it isn't, those who have it all planned out or think they know what they want at 24 when in reality nothing is going to go as you plan, and the system in general that is still not friendly and flexible to the working woman. When all is said and done as long as the SAHM's and professional women of the nation sling "who's better than who?" and we debate what's right and what's unfair, we haven't come a long way baby after all.
Anyway I started this whole thing just to bring up that Terry Hekker is going to be on NPR's On Point today.
I'll have a more light hearted stuff later.