Raised listening to “Free to Be You and Me,” my generation was taught to expect it all. We’d achieve career success and come home to husbands who were equal partners, sharing fully in the childrearing and household chores.
Somewhere along the way, though, we realized that “equalness” was perhaps as great a myth as the feminine mystique. Instead of seamlessly balancing the high pressure career with children, there is now a new myth of motherhood. Beginning with Diane Keaton in “Baby Boom” and up through Allison Pearson’s protagonist in I Don’t Know How She Does It, ideal motherhood means staying home and stumbling upon a nurturing/artistic/inspiring profession we can do from home with a baby on one hip. So much for the corner office.
But perhaps the greatest change is that William and his doll are all grown up; now mothers and fathers (at least under my roof) are struggling with the same elusive work/life balance.
Talia Cohen is a literary agent in New York.