I was born during the late 1950s, graduated from high school in the late 1970s, and finished raising my own kids in the early 2000s (if one is ever really done.)
My mother's peers began to experience the new freedoms of being American women that feminism provided, and I was raised to trust in women's authority both inside the home and outside in the larger world. My dad did not insist on a patriarchal home, was a member of the National Organization for Women (go dad!) and my mom was an enthusiastic, goal-setting businesswoman and mother to seven kids.
In my own early motherhood, I began to question fulfillment and happiness based on this broader stage of possibilities, as I was among the first generation of women who could take for granted our ability to do, say, and seek pretty much whatever we wanted. I did not feel limited to the stereotypical wife/mother role. Yet, my personality is rather Susie Homemaker. I feel more comfortable as the queen of my domain vs. the new captain of industry. I never really liked entering a man's world; I wanted a woman's world space! In the 1980s, the business world really felt like a man's world to me.
I found the following quote by Naomi Wolf, who also wrote the Beauty of Myth. I present it here hoping it may mean something to you as well. I know not every woman seeks to be a mom. I know not every mom seeks to be career-oriented. I do know that without a strong circle of women friends, my ability to thrive in this world would be minimized. Here's a photo of my three kids; thanks for indulging me. Have a beautiful, fulfilled day--in the manner of your choosing. Thank you to all those women of the past who have paved our way! I also send my thanks to all those women who are part of my cheering section. You mean the world to me!
" The most fulfilled women I have ever met, in a career context, are those who produce their own work the way our evolutionary model suggests we are meant to: in flexible, family-friendly environments, in which work hours can wrap around the ebbs and flows of the dramas of parenting, and which a strong, respected community of other women understands these seemingly disparate forms of accomplishment and cheer each other on."