I've been having flashbacks lately.
I don't think it is the result of drugs in the Sixties. But maybe this is what the adults back then meant when they tried to scare us straight.
My flashback occurred at a women's leadership conference -- designed to inspire toward success 800 women who paid a bundle for the insights. Flashback to the early Seventies, consciousness raising groups were reprogramming women to think of themselves as, well, women. Up to that point we had all been girls, regardless of our age. Back then the very word "woman" had sexual overtones.
Here I want to say, "We've come a long way, baby," but last month I discovered the joke was on me.
At the 2011 conference the bottom line turns out to be the same, huge success is the purview of those who are child-free.
I think Marlo Thomas coined that word, 'child-free' to lift the stigma that still existed in the Sixties and Seventies and still today upon woman without children. Child-free not merely softened the childless label but added a slight nobility to her sacrifice upon an overpopulated planet.
The term has evolved.
The only one of the highly successful half-dozen speakers who had children also had the wealth to hire a personal nurse for her seven-week-old infant while presumably other employees attended her two-year-old twins as she left town for a week. This style of mothering has become so commonplace, according to one of her inspirational anecdotes, that an intern under her charge didn't bat an eye when asked to ship pumped breast milk across country to an infant.
I don't know. Call me a fuddy-duddy old earth-mother if you must, but it just doesn't seem all that realistic to me -- given biology and economics are still stacked against us -- that these are the only steps to successful leadership.
Not unless, yet again, we are trying to trick ourselves into believing that wealth is the same as success.