We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us.
But when I look at my practical mom, coming from her practical mother and my practical sisters and I, I have to acknowledge there is a pattern. Right after my mother died, I stayed with her sister Ruth for a month or so.
And that was my first glimpse of the girly girl world of makeup and dresses and shoes with heels.
Luckily a little of that rubbed off on me and I brought those things into my definition of being a woman.
When we grow up and become women and then mothers, what we learned shapes how we parent. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not so good. I wrote yesterday that my mom made me sit at the table and finish all of the food that she put on my plate.
I knew even as a young girl sitting at that table that I wouldn’t be that kind of mom to my kids. Though, I was strict about what they were exposed to when they were little and never served them soda pop or junk food or even sugar cereals.
But as they got old enough to make some decisions of their own, I let them.
One thing from my childhood I did want to pass down to my children was the chance to grow up on a farm. I loved it, and so did they. And when I placed a fresh ham on the table one Sunday, my oldest son asked if it was Samuel Sawdust, one of the pigs they raised.
I explained that it was, and if he didn’t want to eat meat, that was okay. But also to know that meat didn’t really come from the supermarket, but from an animal. I let him decide if he wanted to eat it or not.
They both grew up learning to make decisions for themselves, which also helped them understand the consequences of their choices.
My youngest son has children now and I watch how he is parenting and can see a little of me and a lot of him. I look forward to watching his girls grow into women.
I never had a daughter and wonder what kind of mother I would have been to a girl. Would I have been a good role model for a girl? I like to think I would have been a little practical but a little girly too.