Women who make deathbed declarations of their failure to reach their potential have been in the news lately. Is this a last-ditch effort to vent, cast guilt on a spouse, or a warning to their daughters? Suppressing their goals/ambitions for those of their husband seems to be a common thread.
As mother’s birthday of January 15th neared, I reflected on her legacy and the parallel of these women and their stories. There was none. I am grateful.
No one could ever accuse mother of being subservient to anyone.
She was opinionated, over the top and quite vocal about not being “any man’s slave.” A study in illogicality; a housewife who elevated the domestic arts to an impossibly high standard and later a working mom.
Political correctness was never a problem for her, but her failure to adhere to it was a burden for me. Drama and chaos followed her like her Estee Lauder Youth Dew perfume.
Confronting her male supervisors at work about inequality came easily to her. Most of the time she won her issue, possibly in part because they wanted to escape.
This was during the fifties and I was in high school struggling through home economics, a required subject for girls. (Boys got to take woodwork which I would have preferred.) I hated the class; my home’s role model did not reflect the values of that time, i.e. making sure hubby was happy, blah, blah, blah. And, when it came to cooking, mother was a far superior cook to the textbook sawdust recipes we were supposed to re-create in class.
Much later, as life events unfolded, it became evident that home economics class propaganda missed the mark, but mother was spot on. Her opposition to submission instilled in me a resilience when I would need it most.
If Mother had deathbed declarations, she kept them to herself.
Some of her escapades, we laugh about, and others; we give her a “Bless her heart” pass.
Life for a woman during an era and in a region where feminism did not yet have a name had to be frustrating for someone like my mother. For those who believe the pink pussy hats are too much; well, you didn’t know my mother.