Today, some women are more subject to certain forms of misogyny than they have ever been. The flourishing of home-economics courses, with their whiff of pre-professionalization, suggested that being a homemaker was a practice and an identity that mattered, something to learn and to be, proudly.
But a quarter of the mothers who stay at home have college degrees (and then some).
The shift in language—from housewife to SAHM—suggests that where running a household was once a vocation, now motherhood is.
This is made easier by the fact that, unlike Johnson’s peers, many have delegated much of the domestic work—household management, organizing, cleaning, and cooking—to hired help.
The one thing the privileged mommies I studied were not willing to delegate completely was childcare.
Fifty-four years later, I read Johnson’s sentence on my i Phone, in the midst of the blaring chaos that I have come to think of as the psychopathology of everyday working motherhood—one kid on his i Pad, another rattling around the house, my mind working over dinner and a deadline, my husband in the house somewhere, all the other details.