Happy To Have Grown Up in The Time I Did

I read 29 as a member of the From Left to Write book club.  I was given a free copy as part of the book club.  This post was inspired by this book.

In Adena Halpern’s 29, Ellie Jerome, on the occasion of her 75th birthday party, wonders where her life has gone. When she blows out her candles, she wishes she could be 29 again, and on the next day, she is.

Ellie grew up in a time where, if you even went to college it was to earn your “Mrs.” degree. She married for security, not for love, at the age of 19.  Getting a job was frowned upon, and why should she when her husband gave her everything she could ask for?  Clothes, jewelry, fabulous vacations?  Ellie was expected to have children, keep a nice house, and have dinner on the table, all while making sure her hair and make-up were perfectly done to go along with her high heels and pearls for when her husband came home from his hard day at work.

Ellie knew that her husband cheated through a lot of their marriage.  She fantasized about taking her daughter and leaving him.  But back then she was told by her mother, “He works hard and he provides for you, subject closed.” And for many wives back then, as was the case for Ellie, the subject was closed.

I enjoyed this book very much, but as a woman now living in the 21st century, growing up in the Gloria Steinem, I am Woman, Hear Me Roar era, this part of the book really pissed me off.

Born in 1969, all I can remember was my parents talking about my college fund and money going towards my college fund, there was never any doubt whether or not I was going to go to college, it was ingrained into me like breathing.  In my internship of the summer of my junior year, there was just as many woman as men in the working world.  I was educated, I had the pill, and I was going to have a career.

As many woman of my age, I was determined to be able to make it on my own.  Yes, I did want to get married, and yes, I did want to have children, but someday. Not until I could support myself and even my own children, should something happen with my future husband.

I did marry for love, I did earn more money than my husband, and that was okay for us both. I bought my own clothes, jewelry and fabulous vacations.  I could support my child if I was unhappy in my marriage, I could leave.  Oh, and that “affairs” stuff, yeah, that’s a deal-breaker, honey.

This post is not meant to judge the many women who did marry and have children when they were young, and who were and are Stay At Home Moms.

I am just grateful that, unlike Ellie, I had a CHOICE.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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8 Responses to Happy To Have Grown Up in The Time I Did

  1. Pingback: 29: A Novel by Adena Halpern – A From Left to Write Book Club |

  2. Amy H says:

    Choice is power and I think that women of our generation — whether they choose to work, stay at home or do something in between — feel empowered as women thanks to the opportunities we can embrace or turn down. It’s definitely not something we should take for granted!

  3. Melissa says:

    Yes, we are so fortunate to have grown up in a time–and a country–where so many options are open to us. I studied abroad in the former Soviet Union when I was in college. When I talked about feminism and women in the workplace with the women there they laughed at me and said that “liberation” would be having the option to stay at home and NOT have to work their whole lives!

  4. Darryle says:

    As someone who grew up caught between Ellie’s generation and yours, with pull from both sides—I really enjoyed reading your perspective on what it was like in that earlier time for women who didn’t have choices. I think that’s something many younger women don’t really appreciate, having not known anything different. Will be interesting to see how your generation feels when you reach Ellie’s age!

  5. Brandi says:

    Oh, this is great! Yes, it is such a blessing to have a choice! I can’t imagine how tough it must be to not have the option to leave or not to be able to stand on my own two feet.

  6. Adena Halpern says:

    Fantastic post. I assume it’s because we’re the same age. Unlike these women, we had a choice. I am so appreciative for what these women did for me. It was exactly what led me to write this book. I wondered about those women who didn’t get the choice. How much did they regret? Thank you so much for reading my book and for your wonderful post.
    -Adena Halpern

  7. Eunice says:

    Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a choice! There are days when I feel like I’m letting the women who worked so hard in the women’s lib movement down by being a SAHM. I just hope my kids appreciate it otherwise I might become a 75 year old woman with regrets!

  8. April says:

    I too am grateful for growing up in the time that I do. Unfortunately, there is a backlash, too. I hear too often that people give up on marriage too easily. As a divorced mom, I still feel the need to defend my choice. And sure, I shouldn’t let them get to me and all that, but it’s hard not to take it personally when people don’t think that my children were first and foremost among the reasons WHY I got divorced!

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