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Old Yesterday, 02:56 PM
Location: Florida Baby!
5,503 posts, read 711,835 times
Reputation: 3459


I was a "late bloomer" in many ways. I married 1 month before my 35th birthday (hubs was 25!) I had kid#1 at 38 and kid#2 at 42.

I went to college but was never really career oriented (I graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies--how generic can you get?) I really had no life experiences to draw from as I grew up in a small town with very strict parents. I had no idea what I was interested in and no idea what I was capable of doing. I finally settled in a "career" in academic library support. I had no real desire to get my MLA as my "dream"--as it were--was just to work in a library and I was already there.

When it came time to having kids, hubs said I "had" to work--this would not have been my first choice. After kid #2 came along I reduced my work week from 5 days to 4 (35 hrs/wk to 30 hrs/wk) Kid #2 was a handful, and I just couldn't cope with the stress of working, maintaining a household and "pleasing" my husband. I finally called it quits after 26 years of marriage, and literally left the family and moved out on my own.

The ability to juggle marriage, children and work depends in part on 1) your personality 2) your childhood experiences 3) the support and understanding of your spouse [ 4) Money helps!] My mother was a daughter of poor immigrants and finished 8th grade. She was one of 12 kids so her prospects were severely limited. My dad was the oldest of 7 so he wound up being responsible for his parents while his younger brothers all got educations. My folks pinned all these wild expectations on me and my brother while constantly criticizing and cutting us down. By the time I graduated high school and college all I wanted was OUT, and I didn't care what I did as long as I could put physical distance between me and my parents. I never fully cultivated the confidence to "do it all" and have been riddled with self doubt most of my adult life.

In the grand scheme of things it all worked out in the end. I try not to dwell on missed opportunities or the "what ifs."

Personally speaking, my advice to anyone who plans on starting a family is to seriously consider being a stay-at-home-mom or work it out with your spouse to fully co-parent. When we moved to CT back in the 1990s our next door neighbor wound up being our child care provider. One day after work, I went to the grocery store before I picked up my kid, thinking it would be less of a hassle without her. At the store I bumped into my neighbor--who had MY toddler in tow. It was really awkward. My neighbor basically brought up my kids, and fortunately instilled some pretty good personal and study habits. Some of that fell apart when they became teens and no longer needed a sitter. Looking back, I chalk it up to hormones and teen angst, but by that time I had no patience or energy to deal with it.

Yes, the 1970s were a time of feminist transition. We were told we could "do it all." Battle lines were drawn. Some more militant feminists INSISTED we "do it all" lest we turn our backs on the cause. Some SAHMs looked at us working gals with pity and/or contempt.

And being true to form, Madison Avenue capitalized on our collective angst.....


Last edited by Daisy Grey; Yesterday at 03:16 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 03:08 PM
3,232 posts, read 874,350 times
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Originally Posted by Jessie Mitchell View Post
I had a gloriously irresponsible youth, traveled, hung out with interesting people, lived in NYC in the 1970s, slept with handsome men, took some drugs ...just enough, not too much Worked odd jobs. Fun times.

Got married in my mid-thirties, had two kids in late-thirties. Had been working in arts organizations, left that to raise (and homeschool) the kids. This is what I would describe as the deepest, most meaningful time in my life.

Kids grew up, I went back to work in non-profit administration. It was okay. Had to help get the kids through college. Mission accomplished. After that we could live on my husband's earnings, and the work was pretty meaningless for me so I stopped working.

Now husband is about to retire. We're selling the house. We're going to be nomadic for awhile until we figure out where we want to settle.

It's been just about a perfect life. A little bit of everything and lots more to come... with any luck.
Your life sounds like the one I would have wished up - down to the homeschooling. While I've travelled more than my share, backpacking didn't start until the 1980s then stopped post-kid with more formal trips in the last decade. But the world has changed so much with those early trips no longer repeatable. Never made it to Afghanistan or Iran or ... or.

That you handled NYC in the 1970s is impressive. An early dream had been to work there as an editor. But the crime rate was high with the streets so tough. I tested it out. Plunked myself down in various neighborhoods to see what would happen.

Went to graduate school instead. Later, didn't go on for that doctorate but instead planned to drive out West to stay with a friend and learn to ski. I was literally in the kitchen packing the last box when the phone rang with an unsolicited but great job offer. Took it to be "sensible." And was "sensible" again by not marrying a foreign national to live overseas. Kids today seem to plan their lives better. The culture of the 1970s was to let life "happen."

Retired, I would happily be nomadic but by becoming an elderly mother at then-age 44 I'm restricted by a school schedule. Plus, we have a cat.
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Old Yesterday, 03:24 PM
7,524 posts, read 1,674,245 times
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I was born in 1953 and grew up believing very strongly in the SAHM ideal for when children are young -- and I still do!. Although I very much wanted to be a mother, having my own biological children was not my fate, so I went the career route until my husband and I were financially comfortable enough for me to be a SAHM, thanks to an inheritance. However, as I was then 43, instead of adopting an infant, we willingly adopted two older siblings, ages four and six, who had been severely neglected. (And, btw, raising them was harder than any paid job I ever had!) Then, after both my kids were in school, I was a part-time educational assistant so that my working hours would match theirs. After both kids left our home, I was in the second half of my 50's and too outdated (both in age and skills) for the kind of full-time work I had had before the kids came into our home, so I took a part-time job that involved my interests (first as a bookseller and now as a wine consultant).
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Old Yesterday, 03:32 PM
2,472 posts, read 1,253,689 times
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Originally Posted by soulsurv View Post
What I meant by "In-Between" was a generation in which the expectation for how women led their lives was not as "defined" as it was for the generations before & after us. It interested me because I think our expectations were more..."blurred" if you will. Therefore, I was curious as to the paths Boomer women took.
I see what you mean now, thanks.

The role of women was quite defined at my time, though. When I was a kid, I was told I could choose to become a teacher, a secretary, or a homemaker. Or, if I was truly ambitious, I could become a nurse, not the kind of nurses we have today, but the kind of nurse who made beds, emptied bed pans, and followed doctors around getting them coffee and such. But, if I wanted to go to college to "find a husband", that would be acceptable too.
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Old Yesterday, 04:32 PM
13,453 posts, read 25,867,107 times
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Born in 1953, never wanted children or marriage and am now 66 and no regrets. However, I think it's a false dichotomy to say "stay home mother or career." I mean, most adults work, if they're not home taking care of old or young dependents. Most people, men and women, have jobs, not Careers.

I left college after two years, waitressed, etc., and lucked into a job in public TV, but saw it as a job, like a really cool factory, not a Career. Some more wandering and waitressing ensued after some five years and tired of having jobs that were not socially useful or reliable, went to RN school and got an RN at age 28. Still not a Career (for me) but I worked as an RN from 1981-2018, different places (although always kept my foot in the door where there was a good pension). Also got a master's in public health, joined and quit the Peace Corps in Haiti (violence against the PC, 1986), got a certificate in tech writing and spent two miserable years doing that, joined the Army Reserve Medical Corps (officer, young men calling me ma'am).

I hear it's unusual for someone of my age to have chosen so early not to have children. Never wanted to be a parent or a wife or dependent.

Remember, adults work who aren't taking care of dependents. Jobs. Not Careers.
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Old Yesterday, 04:34 PM
Location: San Francisco
16,639 posts, read 5,477,804 times
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Originally Posted by soulsurv View Post
TO MY FELLOW FEMALE BOOMERS: We came up during an "In-between" time in history: after the "Greatest Generation' & before the Xers. My question is: How many of you were Stay-At-Home Moms & how many were Career Women? OR were you Moms who had active careers & what were they? Would LOVE to know your story!! Thanks
I dropped out of college at 18 because of a boy who said he wanted to marry me. He was going to finish his degree, and then we'd get married and he would support me while I finished school. Well, that never happened. Instead we broke up, and I worked as a secretary making subsistence wages and living in womens' residences, studio apartments or with roommates.

Eventually I found a good job at a TV station and worked my way into a technical job, which was unionized and paid decent wages. After a brief, unhappy marriage to an older man with a drinking problem, I married one of my fellow techies. Neither of us had ever wanted children, so it was a good match and has lasted for 35 years. I went back to school in my 40s, received an Associate's Degree with honors and did some upper division work but never did earn my Bachelor's.

During my 42 years in the workplace, I saw a lot of changes in attitude toward women. When I first started working, moms in the workplace were not supported by their employers or by society at large. Talking about your kids at work too much or taking time off to tend to their needs was a no-no in the eyes of (mostly male) employers and co-workers. They would look down on you and see you as someone not to be taken seriously. It was a career-killer.

Ironically, by the time I aged out of motherhood, attitudes had done a 360. All of a sudden it was trendy for guys to embrace fatherhood. I sat by bemused as the new age sensitive guys I worked with shared baby pictures and had spirited discussions among themselves about diaper genies and onesies. I sensed that they looked down on me for NOT being a mother. If I had behaved like that at work in the 60s and 70s, I would have been considered less than professional.

When you're a woman, sometimes it feels like you can't win no matter what you do.

Last edited by Bayarea4; Yesterday at 04:51 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM
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I'm 65 and was a SAHM. I have two children that I was happy to be at home with and though people say raising kids is the hardest job, I couldn't imagine also having a career while being a mom of small children. To me that seems really hard and exhausting.

I understand that others do perfectly well doing both but I was always so tired just being with the kids all day when they were little. I just couldn't imagine getting everyone ready for the day, getting myself nicely dressed, getting to work on time then working for at least 8 hours and coming home to make dinner. Most men back then that I knew of anyway really didn't make dinner or do much housework. I found a lot of other women like me and I joined various moms' & playgroups. I helped to have support from other women.

Looking back I wish that I had more energy and had some sort of career. Today my husband is retired and I have an online Etsy business....it keeps me busy and I enjoy it very much. I guess I have a late in life career selling online.
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Old Yesterday, 04:57 PM
Location: Coastal Georgia
37,568 posts, read 46,358,967 times
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I always say that I was born about 10 years too early to make something of myself.

My mother worked before she got married, during the war, but not after. None of the married women in my family worked.

I was not raised to do anything more than snag a man and be a housewife. My parents did not care about my education very much. I got married out of high school to a college graduate, and had two kids. After 12 years, he left the marriage. He was probably bored as hell. I was 29, with no job skills. Fortunately, he always paid his child support, and was a good father. I was able to get a job in a bank, where I did well. I met and married my present husband a year later and we worked in his business, while raising the son we had together, along with our other 3 kids. Before I retired for good, I went back into banking for awhile.

I’ve had a lovely life, but I regret that I’ve never had the satisfaction of being truly self supporting, and responsible for myself.
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Old Yesterday, 05:41 PM
6,643 posts, read 5,290,781 times
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Originally Posted by Chaofan View Post
Never married, no children, no regrets. I am another beneficiary of the Air Force experience.

After graduating from college, I discovered that without "connections" (of which I had none), even educated women were mostly relegated to traditional "female" (i.e., dead-end) jobs. When the military services started opening career fields to women that had previously been closed to them (in anticipation of a recruiting deficit when the all-volunteer force replaced the draft), I decided to see what the Air Force could do for me. Best decision I ever made. While it was not easy (and there was resistance from the "traditionalists") and I was often the first woman to serve in a particular role and sometimes the only woman in the unit, it was a wonderful experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. It led to a decades-long career in the intelligence community, experiences that I would never have had otherwise, and lifelong friendships with some of the best and smartest people in the world.
Our stories are almost the same!

Except i did get hitched a couple of times.

I was also sometimes the only female in my field of work.

I'm glad i didn't stay married and had kids. I never really had that urge that women talk about. We were more friends and liked doing things together. I'm glad that my first hubby met someone else, got married, had kids and is now also a grandpa.
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Old Yesterday, 05:57 PM
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,260 posts, read 8,801,775 times
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Default I have loved reading everyone's stories...

My parents themselves were both college graduates. My dad did the after WWII thing and went back to college. It was there he met my mom who was already working at the university. She was 7 years older.

She had already graduated from college during WWII and then went into the Canadian Army (she was Canadian). Then, after the war, she wanted to get her MBA, moved to Chicago and went to the University of Chicago - all by her lonesome! She was rare for her day.

However, when she met my dad and then they got married, it was just assumed she would stop working.
She did and during the 1950's and 1960's had her children.

My mother would mention when we were growing up that my dad had special accounts for our college education so all of us knew that was the future (3 girls, 1 boy), however, after my dad lost everything, there went those college funds also.

I think it was really hard for them because they had to keep up the image (that's where I came in) and very few of their friends knew how the financial situation had changed. I think it was their goal for all to go to college but when I spoke about getting student loans, my dad told me I couldn't get them which was weird.

I think now he just wanted my (financial) support.

My sisters were with my mom a lot more and became great cooks and homemakers themselves.
I never learned those skills like they did.

The funny thing was (prior to the financial loss), I had to take a modeling course (John Robert Powers) and then I went to cottillion. It was assumed I would make a debut and obviously never did but there's the example of two things (one being presented to society and then going to college). I regret that not happening in a way.

The other ironic thing was I hated the modeling course. The other girls were so into it and it was hard for me. My dad lost everything during this time and I ended having to endure the rest of the course and paying for it as well. Of course, I could not tell anyone that part.
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