“If you are raising a daughter, you are raising someone’s wife and mother”….
I can’t tell you how much I really hate this quote.
I see it floating around on Pinterest, crafted in a beautiful picture to stand out.
I see numerous re-pins and likes on what is certainly a pretty photo, but however a lousy sentiment.
I am raising 4 daughters and in no way am I raising them to be just wives and mothers.
I am raising my daughters to be the future leaders in our society.
I am raising my daughters to aim for the stars and understand that nothing is out of their reach.
I am raising them to achieve and go after what they want in life and if that is to be a doctor or a lawyer then fantastic. If that is to be a teacher, business person, nurse or horticulturist, then go for it.
I am raising them to smash that glass ceiling and never to undervalue yourself, just because of your gender.
So why am I going to raise my daughters to become something they may never want?
This quote reminded me about an article I read a while ago about the role of the 1950’s housewife.
Back then choices for women and girls were extremely limited. Yes there were some career women, but the career options open to them were pretty much restricted to teaching and nursing.
A 1950’s Housewife
A 1950’s housewife (per the 1955’s Good Housewives Guide) was expected to do the following:-
Here are a few examples……
- Have dinner ready. Plan ahead to have a delicious dinner ready upon his return.
- Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
- Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you will refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup and put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people.
- Be a little gay and a little more interesting, his boring day may need a life and it is your duty to provide it.
- Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel like he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
- Children are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all the noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all the noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum.
- 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 that yours.
- Don’t complain if he is late home for dinner or even 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 of his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
- Don’t ask him questions about his actions, or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the household and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
- A good wife always knows her place.
I like to think we have come a long way since then….
I think also some of these points explain how domestic violence came to be such an acceptable part of life in some households.
What went on behind closed doors stayed behind closed doors. Wives were just expected to toe the line.
I believe girls in this day and age should be raised no differently than boys. They should be able to have the same aspirations as boys.
Maybe they won’t be the ones staying home with the children, maybe it will be their partner. Maybe it will be a grandparent, or maybe they will rely on childcare.
We have the flexibility to actually combine a career and motherhood, (even though putting this into practice can sometimes be very difficult). My point is though, our girls now have the choice to follow their dreams and pursue a career outside the home.
They Have A Choice
Maybe they won’t have children or maybe they will want to be a stay at home parent and that’s perfectly fine, as long as it their choice.
There is more to life than being a mother and a wife. Any partner your girls have in the future should always support her in her future endeavours, no matter what they are.
By the time my girls are old enough to leave the nest and embark on their own lives, I hope that I have taught them to find a partner that is supportive of their dreams. Just as I expect them to be supportive of their partners in return.
I hope that I have taught them that equality, respect and love is the most important thing in a relationship.
To me that is the essence of raising a model member of society, male or female.
Which after all as parents is our ultimate goal is it not?