Monday, February 27, 2006

What is a modern woman?

I like to consider myself a modern, independent woman. The kind of gal who can "bring home the bacon & fry it up in a pan." Yes, I was of an impressionable age when that Charlie perfume commercial was airing every night of the week.

My mother (and maternal grandparents) raised me for 11 years without having a father figure around. I had responsibility at an early age and learned how to take care of myself.

My mom worked hard, played hard, made a lot of mistakes (what parent doesn't)...but she was fiercely independent with a spirit that seemed unbreakable. And then she married my step-father (J). This guy was 19 and my mom was 29 - - quite the small town scandal. Despite these challenges, it seemed that they had a near-perfect marriage. But history now reveals the repressed truth that they were actually a co-dependent nightmare: blame, resentment, mistrust, maturity, lack of Christian fellowship, etc. My mother had become emotionally needy, unmotivated, and physically fragile.

After 20 years, the marriage ended in a bitter divorce. In the wake of this tragedy, I am left to sort out a lot of feelings that I can't quite understand. J has moved on and moved in with another woman and her 3 year old daughter and has left a mountain of debt and bitter relationships behind. Some of J's family still want to maintain a relationship with me, DD, and DH while other members of his family do not (including J himself - - in our last phone conversation he said I was just too much like my mother). Trying to balance this kind of relationship is unbearable, and I try not to let on. But lately, it is getting the better of me and is creating a wall that separates me from living my life as God intended.

It's affecting my relationship with my DH. Even in the smallest matters, I refuse to be dependent upon DH, and he can't figure me out (as if...). But if I'm really honest with myself (and DH), I truly do need him. I need him in the way that God intended when He put DH and me together: as each other's helpmate, to minister to each other, to defend our marriage and family and Christian values. I need DH to be the head of the household and to make the decisions (upon prayerful consideration, of course). I want to give DH that gift as his wife, but how does a "modern woman" balance this dichotomy? Can I be independent and still be a Godly woman?

These thoughts consume me.

Thankfully, my mother has regained some independence, but I fear that she will never trust again. We cannot re-write the past, but we can ask God to be part of our future.


Nancy Dancehall said...

It's hard to be a modern woman, isn't it? It seems there's more pressure put on women these days than there is on men (could be my somewhat biased womanly opinion ;-) ) If we go out into the world, we're neglecting the children, demasculating our husbands, etc. If we stay at home, we're selling out to the old patriarchal oppression, degrading ourselves, etc. You can't win if you listen to what others say. Des Moines Girl struggles sometimes with the same thing (don't we all?) and she has a good post on it, (Feb 11) quoting Proverbs 31: 10-31.

Farm Wife said...

I feel similarly. How can I be strong and independant as the world says I must, yet be submissive as scripture says I must. Being in the world but not of it is tough.

Gracious Acres said...

So glad I'm not the only one... thanks for your input.