The 18th and early 19th century consistent of an agricultural society wherein the family worked as a unit, each contributing to the growth and prosperity of the unit. Education and healthcare was provided within the home. Every member of the household was engaged in a skill that would enhance their economic viability. These values were an integral part of their life and their success was measured by how industrious they could be.
Along with industrialization, the 19th century bought with it a change in the family as a cohesive unit. Outside influences directed the course they would take. The home was no longer the core of economic production, but was now the catalyst wheree all labor was forced out.
Education and healthcare institutions became the guardians of the children. Classes began to form and independent families were no longer the norm but, rather, the exception. The age of the independent family has been replaced with an emergence of families in poverty, despair, loneliness, and frustration.
Latch-key kids, a high divorce rate, two-paycheck households, single family households, and a decline in the respect given to the elderly is a common practice.
Moreover, the role of women in today's society has dramatically changed. In researching the question as to whether there is a burden on the women of today, the overwhelming majority of women I spoke to said yes.
One key issue is that of respectability. A "stay-at-home mom" is not considered to have a meaningful role in today's society. Add to this the pressure of having to work in order to make ends meet. Moreover, she is not valued for the many contributions she makes to her family and to the household.
In this patriarchal society, motherhood is a low priority. If a woman is forced out into the workplace, she is still viewed as less than equal to men. Unfortunately, women have to compete every day to gain the respect they so deserve.
Recently, Congress passed the Lily Ledbetter Act which allows equal pay for equal work. While this is a great step forward in the compensation area, there is still the matter of respect. It was the focus of the Presidential campaign, and still needs to be addressed today.
An example of this is evidenced by a short conversation between a man and a woman that went something like this: "Man: What do you do?" Woman: I am a stay-at-home mom. Do? "