When I was a kid, maybe half of my friends' mothers worked outside the home. And I bet the majority of them started working only after the kids were old enough to go to school. I've been thinking a lot and writing a lot about work life lately and how crazy it is that you have to spend such a big friggin' chunk of your day doing stuff you really don't want to do but you have to do it because you need the money. But what are we working for?
Let's go back and look at how life was when I was a kid in the mid 60s and early 70s. Cable TV was not yet available, so there were no monthly cable bills with everything associated--no HBO, no upgrades to digital cable, no DVR. There were no DVD players or Blu-Ray discs to buy, no X-Boxes, PlayStations, no Call of Duty or other games to buy. There were no monthly Hulu Plus or Netflix subscriptions.
Nobody had to buy computers, modems, or printers and there was no monthly bill for high-speed Internet. There was no such thing as cellphones--much less cellphones for the entire family--and the monthly bills that go along with them.
Because mothers didn't work, most families had one car. That meant there was only one car to pay for, put gas in, maintain, and insure. Some families did have a second car--almost a junker--that was the mother's car and the car that kids used when they learned to drive. It was probably a car that no 16-year-old today would want to be seen in.
Mothers who didn't work didn't need to buy work clothes. And speaking of clothes, this was an era before designer jeans and WAY before kids thought they were entitled to a pair of $100 sneakers that they'd grow out of in no time.
Because mothers didn't work, there were no weekly daycare or afterschool care expenses. Mothers didn't have to spend money for lunch in restaurants with their co-workers; lunch consisted of a sandwich and potato chips at home. And speaking of homes, they were a lot smaller back then (kids had to share bedrooms!) and were therefore less costly to heat, cool, and maintain.
Mothers who didn't work also didn't have to deal with the stresses related to the workplace--keeping a boss happy, dealing with all kinds of co-workers, sitting through stupid-ass performance evaluations, juggling coverage to be home with a sick child... just having to be somewhere every goddamn day at a certain time looking halfway presentable is stressful in itself!
This was an era before TV remotes, so you actually had to walk to the other side of the living room if you wanted to watch a different program. Maybe that's why nobody had a gym membership back then; that was another monthly expense that didn't exist. In fact, I don't ever remember my parents exercising, or any of my friends' parents, for that matter. The thought of my grandmothers exercising cracks me up! But wait a minute. My grandparents died their 70s and 80s, which is pretty typical. Several of my friends' parents have died in recent months--again, in their 70s and 80s. And almost everyone back then SMOKED FOR MOST OF THEIR LIVES! What are we exercising for?
And what the hell are we working for? Are we a slave to the technology that's supposed to be enhancing our lives? What would you be willing to give up if you didn't have to work?