I have this theory. Okay, so I have lots of theories, but this particular one involves you, me, and the women of Jane Austen’s novels. Have you ever felt as though you were raised to be a society wife in Edwardian England and then dropped off in World War II era America? Stay with me…I promise this is going somewhere sane.
I began taking piano lessons when I was three years old. My older brother had just begun playing and apparently I insisted on joining him. Add to that the flute in fourth grade, my short stint as a vocal student, a rarely completed cross-stitching hobby, late nights sketching portraits, the occasional poetry writing contest…you get the idea. Then there were the summers water skiing, the winters snow skiing, the tennis racket, the baseball glove. While I certainly didn’t grow up playing croquet on the lawn in my long dress and sun bonnet, in many ways I was raised to be an interesting young lady, prepared to capture the heart of a gentleman and live a life of leisure.
The reality, of course, is that I grew up to go to college, find employment, and cook, clean, and fend for myself…in an apartment with no piano or tennis courts. I got married, worked for a few years, then saved enough money to be able to stay home with my children. What I discovered as a stay-at-home mom was that playing the piano and cross-stitching pictures of cats is not incredibly useful if you don’t also have a nanny and a maid. I also discovered that the passions which had previously come together to create the whole me were now cast aside as the mundane tasks of real life took their place. Perhaps cooking lessons and instruction in how to press dress shirts would have been more useful?
The truth is that happy moms are often better moms.
What if finding the woman we used to be is the key to better parenting? What if becoming a whole person again creates a happier family? I’m going to be writing a blog series with this exact thought in mind. And my first question is this…