Changing Times

I find it very difficult to get my head around the extent to which life has changed since I was a child.

This whole issue came into focus over the last few weeks when all the talk here in Ireland was about the fundamental need to get childcare services and schools open so that the economy could open up again.

It brought me back to my school days and the memory I have of one day, yes just one day, that I had to stay in school for lunch because Mother wasn’t going to be at home.

Imagine, she was there every day with lunch ready and full of interest in hearing about all the news from the mornings’ happenings at school.

She was of a generation who was legally barred from working after she got married. She resented that imposition but certainly didn’t take it out on us.

I was of a generation when women weren’t banned from working BUT I wanted to be here for young son, as much possible, during his school years so worked from home and at night. Clearly, this wasn’t ideal in terms of enhancing my career but something in me just couldn’t have a situation where I would hardly see our young son or have him spending hours in after school care settings, which I would have absolutely hated as a kid.

Life seems to have changed so much and economics demands that both parents work to try and cover costs. I just wonder if we, as a society, have done the right thing. Should schools be essentially childminding services?  Have we put material things ahead of caring, for both young and old?

Is there any chance that a bit of silver lining from this horrendous pandemic will be a reassessment of what we are doing, why we are doing it and whether there are better options for all involved in the complexity that is ‘family,’ ‘economy,’ ‘rights,’ equality’ and ‘loving care?’



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

9 thoughts on “Changing Times”

  1. We went home for lunch during our primary years; even the neighbours’ kids came to our house as their mother worked.
    And for a few years I was home for my boys. I enjoyed it and probably could have kept on for a few more years.

  2. Jean, I often reflect on the situation my mother found herself in having to give up a nursing and midwifery career to work in the home. Oftentimes I felt she could be unhappy. She was a wonderful mother and I never saw her as happy when in the late 70s she returned to work. I would literally meet her coming in the door returning for night duty as I traipsed off to school. I can see her crisp white uniform, navy cardigan and nursing badge. She was using her training; she was fulfilled again. I loved to see her at work, taking pride in it even though of course it had its stresses and strains. The marriage bar was an appalling policy dreamt up by halfwits, if you ask me.
    Good post, Jean.

    1. Hi John,
      You paint a very vivid picture of your mother.
      Yes, the marriage bar was a crazy policy.
      I think it made for a very resilient and socially conscious generation of women.

      We’re getting close to that meet-up!!

  3. My mum was at home for all of us though how I do not know. Dad was a body maker and see all the upholstery on the seats of the London Tubes and Buses for London Transport, he couldn’t of made much and there were eight mouths to feed plus any waifs and strays that turned up at the door. Home always ment Mum. As you know dad was Irish, I often wandered if it was the amount of children she had or so sort of pride dad had. …I shall never know.
    I was home mostly for the children, I managed to work part time and close to home …it’s a fine line.💜💜💜

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