I (Julie) was reading the paper a couple of weeks ago (yes, I’m 80 years old) and came across an article regarding a large study on the happiness of women. Keep in mind that the data was taken from a cross-section of ethnic and socioeconomic groups in several industrialized countries. This study showed (among other things) that women’s happiness has declined steadily since the 1970’s. Huh. Interesting.
There are many theories presented as to the reason for this, including:
- Woman “prefer egalitarian, low-risk societies” that went out during the Reagan era”;
- Overscheduling and overparenting;
- A cultural obsession with physical appearance;
- The feeling of inadequacy for not “having it all.” “If the women’s movement raised women’s expectations faster than society was able to meet them, they would be more likely to be disappointed by their actual experienced lives.”;
- The demands of working mothers, particularly single mothers. Going on to say that the “de-stigmatization of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women.”
I might add a couple of my own theories, including:
- More widespread and greater sin;
- Along with “having it all”, DOING it all and BEING it all.
- Most of the previous theories come with the heavy burden of debt;
- Selfishness. The “ME” syndrome.
Now, I suffer from all of these theories on a regular basis, as I can only assume most of you do also. I think we tend to hide it pretty well, though…at least the breadth and depth of it.
Some of my problems or stresses are situational, a larger portion of it is my personality, but the greatest portion of it is my attitude. I don’t like it when Rob says “you just need to change your attitude” but it’s absolutely true. I’d rather change it myself than be compelled to do so from some catastrophic event or something (gee, that’s a good reason, huh?).
I guess the point is…well…I’m not sure I have a point. It’s not like I’m an expert or anything. But I am a woman and a mother at that. It’s hard. Most days are both mind-numbingly boring and overwhelmingly grueling all at once. But like I said, I probably just need an attitude adjustment. After all, my husband and kids are the best things that have ever happened to me. And there are bursts of ultra-shining moments I wouldn’t give up for the world. I love my family dearly and hope to get this whole thing figured out someday (I said “hopefully” but it’s not likely).
**Did I expose myself too much in this post??** I like to think of it as honest and although I’m pretty sure other women can totally relate, especially given the data, I’m sorry if you do (even if it does make me feel a little better ;).
One thought on “The Happiness of Women Declining?”
I don't think you exposed yourself too much at all. In fact, I like reading posts like this from other women so I know I'm not alone! (and unlike you, I'm not sorry if they relate– if they didn't I'd really be messed up! This way I know it's just how it is and can get over it. Am I horrid?!) 🙂