I am reading a book called Goddess to the Core, by Sierra Bender, right now and I love it. It is feminine power at its greatest, a celebration of the Goddess within us all and the importance of paying homage to all areas of our life. You can find it in the Yoga Fitness section, but it goes far beyond poses. Weaving together our lives as women, our collective memory, our spirit and intuition, with some mental exercises and poses for your physical body and what they aim to relieve.
It has been a serious reminder to me of my inner essence that gets shuffled and muted and put to the bottom of the to-do list, rarely getting out to breathe. This book needs its own category at the bookstore…The Goddess. Yes, one day we must insist that they do have that section, and there needs to be a lot of books in it!
On page 30 of the book she shares this little diddy from Housekeeping Monthly, May 13, 1955:
“A good wife always knows her place. Don’t complain if he is late or dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing, and pleasant voice. Don’t ever ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember: he is the master of the house, and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first-remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.”
Hmm…is that so?
Women have come a long way since then, but I can’t help but wonder if there are still traces of this enlightening little paragraph in our lives today. After all, I clearly remember the moment that I found out that a man had actually made more an hour than I did in the exact same position, a job that I literally busted my ass at every single day.
But what about at home?
Last week I joined a Facebook group called ‘It Isn’t Babysitting if They are Your Own Children’ because I couldn’t stop laughing my little booty off at the reality of so many Mom’s I know expressing this same frustration! Obviously, there are still a few areas we have room to improve.
But honestly, I do wonder in what ways the above propaganda still has lingering effects for me. My Grandmother would have raised my Mom in the era that this magazine was published. That would have been the message of the day, just like we have the messages of today like ‘Mommy Balance’. (You know, that seemingly unattainable goal that we are all supposed to achieve.)
My Mom would have grown up and seen motherhood through this lens. Although the political and family climate might have been in the process of change, it is undeniable that she would have lived out some of those above quoted expectations. In fact I know she did. My mother learned them from her Mom, just as my eyes and ears and heart watched and learned from her.
Obviously, I am not that gal quoted above. ha. ha. ha. hA. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHA….ohhh…ha. Yeah, not so much. But in all reality, there are probably whispers of these old adages swirling around the cells of my body. Passed down from generation to generation, not deliberately and outright, but in so many subtle and unspoken ways.
I can see it. Not as blatantly as the description of the expectations in Housekeeping Monthly, circa 1955, but sadly enough I can see subtle behaviors in myself that would have a lifeline directly back to the worldview of that day. Scary for a proud feminist that would cringe at the thought of passing such things on to her own daughter.
It seems to me, like we just might be still carrying the collective scars of the women that have gone before us on this journey of motherhood, and in so many ways we might not ever fully understand. ..whether we like it or not.
Spill it: In what ways might there still be remnants of motherhood in the past that you actually see in yourself? Behaviors you might have missed without closer inspection?