I love that we’re hearing more about the stories of everyday women these days. Not only the women who have accomplished something remarkable in the historic world of men, so to speak, but the strong women who run the world from behind the scenes. Check out The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, and The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict, for examples of what I’m talking about. Both fabulous.
These works are fiction, of course, but based on historical accounts. When you think about how things must have been for women – and still are to varying degrees – I’m glad that these stories are being told. And that we’re in a time now that is more accepting of all types of contribution and diversity, though there’s lots of room for growth. When we only celebrate the big accomplishments, we by default discount the small supports and sacrifices that allowed for those bigs wins. When you think about why most of the historical advances were made and written about by men, lack of opportunity and education come to mind first, but also the fact that women had so much to do.
Women create the backbone of a society.
Raising the children, creating community, and even regulating men so they don’t do as much crazy stuff. (Seriously, it’s well-documented.) In the cases where women made significant advances, they were usually either wealthy or uncommonly encouraged by their spouse. Likely both. There are exceptions, of course, but think about how things would have been different, or could still be much different, if our social structure shifted.
What if ‘women’s work’ was as highly valued as traditionally ‘men’s work’? What if our social structure supported families and communities so everyone could work and provide care equally without sacrificing time to raise their children in those fragile first years? What if women (especially moms) prioritized their own mental and intellectual well-being without feeling guilty? That’s why fiction can be so interesting. It gives us a window into the way things could be, or could have been.
How different could the world look?
Everyone has a drive to be creative and contribute. When women value themselves and their time on equal measure with their spouse, kids, and coworkers their creative contribution can come forth. If we give it all up old-school sacrifice style, then we continue to support the story from behind the scenes. Still important and valid, but heart-breaking if there is something you want to do beyond being a support for others.
Everyone benefits when you make yourself a priority.
There will be emotional and physical effort needed to make sure your family can thrive, especially as a mom of differently wired kids. But there needs to be a thread of you that survives and grows. If you lose the thread, it’s hard to get it back. Even baby steps and small wins make a difference. You bring value to this world in whatever you choose to do. It all matters.
Stay connected to what lights you up.
And if staying connected means some amazing summer reading, even better! What books have you read lately that make you think? I’d love to hear in the comments!