It was bound to happen sooner or later. The cultural counter-revolution in which young mothers who left their homes for a career are back home again. They call it the ‘new domesticity.’ Years ago Lewis Mumford explained it this way: “Every generation revolts against its mothers, and makes friends with its grandmothers.”
The rush of young wives to their farmers markets, to their backyard spice gardens and to their new devotion to making-it-from-scratch can be reassuring. It suggests that the eternal cycles-of-life remain on schedule, as the pendulum of the human race inevitably swings from one extreme back to the other. I mean, it’s like the surety of a tender green spring after every harsh white winter.
True, not all young women want to or can afford to go-home-again. However, a few brutal years in the career game is often more than enough to light fires of domestic desire. “Why the hell did I ever leave the safety, security, and satisfaction of my own home and call it a prison?”
Not to put too fine a point on this counter-revolution, but the evidence continues to mount: Home birthing…DIY parenting…home schooling…rejecting day care, bottled baby food and plastic diapers. Something is afoot here, and to this octogenarian it looks a little like Mom in our kitchen a couple generations ago whose friendly confines I still suspect she preferred to the daily confines of a downtown cubicle.
But what do I know…? I am a male from another time, advised he is hopelessly insensitive to and unaware of the deep psychic needs of modern mothers. Which is probably massively true. But here’s my closing question to the modern mother: How is that I-can-have-it-all career in your downtown cubicle going these days?
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