Mostly the article's about how Steinke moved from a smaller, Southern community to NYC, but finds the Facebook connections to her old high school friends at once alienating and thought-provoking.
But as she's talking about growing up in the 70s, she has this to say about their mothers:
All our mothers were discombobulated. They’d been raised to be housewives, but the new culture insisted they get jobs and personal checking accounts. Seventies culture glorified working women like Mary Tyler Moore and Hill Street Blues’ Joyce Davenport. Our moms had become outmoded, female versions of Willy Loman, with a skill set no longer valued.
I read that, and my brain went, "yes, exactly." I'm often frustrated by my Mother, but I've never quite put the frustrations together like this. I'm thinking now about how difficult it was to grow up, and have all these expectations about how the world was supposed to work, and then have your kid (me) adore Mary Tyler Moore (I fantasized about being able to have my own studio apartment someday because that seemed to me the greatest heights a woman could aspire to), and have that same kid pretty much reject the life you were leading. Now, my Mom sometimes seemed pretty unhappy in that life, stifled, but still, she also seemed happy much of the time.
The article goes on to say
A few of our mothers went to work or back to school, but most of them, disoriented and threatened, put even more pressure on us, their daughters, to be traditional, to define ourselves through boyfriends and, later, husbands, to hold our looks as our most valuable asset and to uphold the sanctity of the traditional home.And that's where my Mother was different, because even though she was uncomfortable, and even though she would have preferred me to want to be traditional, to marry and be a stay at home mother, she completely supported my going to college, and joining the Peace Corps, and all the other crazy stuff I've done along the way. She's proud of me, even as she's hurt that I've rejected the sort of life she led, and even though she often seems to feel that my rejection is a condemnation of her.