This is an accolade to older ladies, or the wise women of our age. Baby boomer women — the ‘no rest’ generation. We were raised in different times, in a different century. We had far fewer choices, compared to the options for younger women today. If we survived secondary school without having a shotgun wedding, or ending up an unmarried mother’s home, we could ‘choose’ to be a teacher, a nurse, or work in an office.
Some young women of that age were university educated, but most wound up teaching in one form or another. All power to the millennial babes, whereas women of our age ended up being teachers, home nurses and housewives along the way. Having availed ourselves of these great and noble lifestyle choices, we had to wait at home, behind the picket fence, until a handsome prince swept us off our feet. These males were expected to request our father’s permission to marry us. If women studied nursing, they were ‘allowed’ to leave home before wedlock.
Yes, we were brought up by tough mothers. They taught us to respect our elders, especially our fathers. If the handsome prince did arrive, for suburban dates, drive-ins were a popular venue, as the cinemas were mostly located in the city.
Along with the white wedding, came the approved gifts of orange appliances, such as crock pots or electric fry pans, or silver chrome toasters, all made in Australia. Built to last. These appliances often outlived the marriages, the divorce, the ex-husband, the kids leaving home, the pets, the homes being downsized, and even the second marriage. If we wander into the home of a baby boomer woman, we are likely to notice some electric wonder they received, way back when. All put to good use, because we were are women.
How did this ‘no rest’ generation get on the treadmill? We were shaped by our mothers, who appeared to have married housework. That was their life. Then along came more effective choices for contraception. The Swinging 60s, whether we participated or not. Women’s liberation, so called. Married women were welcomed into the workforce, and double income households became more commonplace and acceptable. Thinking women, such as Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer influenced us in one context or another.
The baby boomer women have probably married, and may have had a no-fault divorce. I know of several women who were forced to work at cleaning houses, showers and loos, because of financial necessity. They were a ‘no rest’ generation then, juggling any job option, or not, as well as raising their children, and managing their households. A lot of them did it as single women, and did a terrific job. They guided and counselled their children, and are still on call now their offspring are adults. Our generations hoped the adult children would not repeat the same mistakes, but many of them grew up with expectations, and experienced their own amicable divorces, with consequences for the baby boomers’ grandchildren.
Baby boomer brides are over-60, a ‘no rest’ generation of wise women. Many women our age are still employed, either in paid employment, or as volunteers. These wise women, older ladies, shaped a generation by raising their children, or by teaching others’. Currently, they may be either single again, or perhaps caring for a significant other. In addition, many wise women have geriatric parents to consider. They are always caring for someone else’s welfare, part of being in a family in the 21st century.
Moreover, the wise women are these days often accountable for their grandchildren. The kids’ parents work long hours, so the grandkids need lifts to school and sporting activities, as well as dinners. Then there is holiday babysitting and childminding. The grandparents perform these tasks with love and devotion for their families. Would they feel guilty if they didn’t? The wise women pitch in, and do a great, unsung job.
Maybe it is time for the ‘no rest’ generation to have some ‘me’ time. The wise women must take some steps to take care of themselves.
This is my accolade to the wise women, the ‘no rest’ generation. Labels for women, or millennial fables. Chick power!