The Generation Gap with our Mothers

By Val Boyko • October 6th, 2010

Q. We all expect some difference between generations – but how come it’s so hard for us Baby Boomer daughters?!?

A. We have less in common than the generations before us.

Let’s look at reality here! Tremendous changes took place in the latter part of the the twentieth century. If you grew up then, you would take it for granted. But for our mothers who grew up in a earlier time, the circumstances, and therefore expectations and beliefs about the world, relationships, sex, parenting – and so much more – were likely to be different

Most traditional mothers (who had their children between 1946 to 1964):

  • Grew up in a time of scarcity – during the depression and World War II.
  • Did not question their role in life. They were expected to be content with their role as spouse and mother.
  • Did not have access to or consider self help or self awareness.The psychology profession as we know it today started to grow after world war II.

Most baby boomer daughters:

  • Grew up in a time of economic optimism and growth,  and an expectation to have more than their mothers had.
  • Searched for self expression and what they wanted in life.
  • Had access to better education and opportunities in the work force.
  • Could control their reproduction and were not tied to motherhood (or the fear of getting pregnant.)
  • Had access to media and communications for advice, advertising products, seeing how others’ lived, connecting with people, entertainment etc.

As Victoria Secunda writes in When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: ” Consider the world of our mothers as they gaze aghast upon the unfamiliar terrain of their daughters’ lives … Quarantined by gender, their very femininity equated with a lifelong dependence, how could they understand their daughters, whose lives were so very different? How could they absorb the promise that their daughters “could have it all” when had so little?”

Makes me appreciate how far my Mum has come, rather than how lacking she has been!

When we see things from new perspectives, our attitude changes, along with the choices we make. Just in time for my mother’s visit next week!


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