Two categories of parents emerged in the 1970’s: those who wanted to rear children and those who merely wanted to have them. I first became aware of the distinction in 1972, about the time the feminist revolution was beginning its blitzkrieg through university campuses. I had been married about four years, and the stark differences in outlook between the two factions had a profound effect not only on the way I viewed starting a family but on my approach to teaching—my chosen career before escaping the profession for more satisfying pursuits.
My husband and I were among the first wave of baby boomers, born in 1946, at the end of World War II. Thus, we wound up oscillating, intellectually and emotionally, between the pre-war belief system and the advancing era of antiauthoritarianism. For me, the former attitude was summed up in the popular lyrics to the theme song of a 1963 film, Wives and Lovers:
Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your makeup;
Soon he will open the door.
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger,
You needn’t try anymore.
For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you.
Day after day, there are girls at the office