Common Ground: Women’s history gains perspective

Both of my grandmothers were homemakers and deeply spiritual women who raised large families during segregated times in north Louisiana.

They were women with fewer choices, who lived simpler lives. They weren’t employed or well-educated, but they worked with their husbands to care for their homes and educate their children.

My grandmothers are long gone, but I often wonder what they might think about how women’s lives have changed. We work jobs alongside men and use smartphones and computers to help run their lives.

March is National Women’s History Month and that offers a platform to think about the contributions of our mothers, grandmothers and other women who have demonstrated courage, commitment and character.

My grandmothers were largely dependent on their husbands for their economic needs. Still, they were the backbones for the overall success of their families. My grandmothers sacrificed a lot to help their children grow up to become educated women and men.

These days, women are about half of America’s workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor stats. Women also outnumber men in college.

That means more responsibility for women today. About 40 percent of working moms, according to the Pew Research Center, say they feel rushed and stressed about balancing work and family.

Women surveyed also said they are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions, such as caring for a child.

I worked in the newspaper business for 17 years before quitting to become a stay-at-home mom. I was stressed out at the time. I wanted to be supermom, super wife and super worker. During my career years, the dynamics changed in my household. My husband did more housework and more babysitting when I worked late. We also sent our children to childcare.

However, there came a time when I wanted to live the way my grandmothers once lived and focus solely on raising my kids and taking care of our home.

It often reminds me that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have since returned to work part-time (bills never go away.) According to the Pew research, 62 percent of working mothers say part-time work would be ideal.

Working part-time has given me more time to focus on managing my home and helping my children with homework. I also have time to volunteer in their classrooms, attend field trips and tend to other family matters that were often neglected.

Women’s History Month helps us put a greater perspective on women’s gains and accomplishments.

However, it also teaches us that family responsibilities and raising children never change, regardless of our work life and educational gains.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at chantewriter@hotmail.com.