We thought we could have both thriving careers and rich home lives and make more and achieve more than our parents, but most of us have gained little if any advantage.
Gen Xers entered life with “having it all” not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition.
Put simply: having more options has not necessarily led to greater happiness or satisfaction. “By many objective measures, the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years,” the authors of an analysis of Census-style data wrote a decade ago as Generation X entered middle age. “Yet we show that measures of subjective wellbeing indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men.”
In 2017, another major study found that the two biggest stressors for women were work and children, with a compounding effect on those contending with both. We bear financial responsibilities that men had in the old days, but are also saddled with traditional caregiving duties.