I grew up in the Seventies, and the push for women’s rights was in the water we drank and the air we breathed. And believe me, I am so thankful for all the strong, brave women who worked hard to make sure that we who came after knew we could be ANYTHING we wanted even the president of the United States! Can I get a Halleluiah? We have, indeed, come a long way, baby.
However, I have to confess that, though this is extremely good news, I also remember being super relieved when I realized that while I can be POTUSA, I don’t have to! Whew! That just seemed like too much for me. Yeah, Im thinking that while I am super glad that I can absolutely have it all well, having it all means doing it all and that can be a bit tiring!
I have a friend who once witnessed her mother (who had raised five children and looked after a farm) stare bleakly at the floor and say she wished a helicopter would drop her in the ocean. And I know exactly what she was talking about
I am not complaining, just observing that being a woman can be exhausting!
Proverbs 31 in the Bible outlines the qualities of a good woman. Look it up. If you’re a woman, it’ll make you exhausted just reading it. The woman it describes, well, she’s trusting, generous, kind, an early riser, a shrewd shopper, a smart businesswoman, a hard worker, helpful, charitable and keeps her man’s reputation in the town spotless. She runs a tight ship, working from dawn til dusk, but still manages to be a good conversationalist and make her own clothing. And she has strength, dignity and fear of the Lord.
So out of those qualities, I have maybe ... a couple on a good day! Despite the fact that my husband is right there with me pulling his own load, most days that I feel lucky to go from dawn to dusk without slapping somebody!
I guess the modern-day equivalent to the Proverbs 31 woman would be that woman who has it all is one who can, as they say, bring home the bacon and proceed to fry it up in a pan, never letting her dude forget hes a man... ( ENJOLI!) It’s a little depressing reading this ... not a bit unlike looking at a leggy, airbrushed fashion model in a magazine who, in the interview says, “I NEVER diet or exercise.”
This famous chapter of the Bible is described as “the sayings of King Lemuelan – inspired utterance his mother taught him.” Well, I dont know who King Lemuel was, but his mother sure gave him some impossible expectations for whatever poor woman he married. (And since he was a king, surely his better half could have just lounged around being fanned and fed grapes, right?) We can only hope Lemmy’s mom was merely recommending a wise, industrious wife over a silly, idle wife.
My takeaway from this bit of ancient literature is this: 1. the chapter begins with: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” So women matching the description that follows must be few and far between more of a Platonic ideal than an actuality. And, 2. the chapter ends with: “a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
I like this because I think that the work of women often goes unnoticed. I know women who barely sit down all day, women who keep the world of their home and/or office spinning like Meadowlark Lemon spun a basketball. Some make it look easy (not me, but some women!), but Iknow how hard they are working...
I don’t really know where I am going with this, only to say ... If you are one of these women who is busting her hump trying to keep it all together ... well, I feel for you. Way to go! Well done you! And if you know a woman like this, appreciate her. Out loud. And maybe with flowers, a nice dinner out or a massage. Maybe all three!
(Addendum: In the early hours of the morning, it occurred to me that it’s not just hard to be a woman. That is man or woman, it’s hard to be a grown-up in general! At 52 Im still trying to work out the responsibilities of adulthood! I mean, the Bible has high expectations not just for women but for all of humankind. Thank God for the grace it lays out too, right?)
Julie Moore is a graphic designer living in Chapel Hill. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.