When we were young ladies, let’s say 17, our parents used to tell us to be sensible, to avoid going out with whomever and to wait for the right person to come along. This educational message changes with time, until it becomes absolutely contradictory.
At 37, your mother (who has spent the last 7 years showing increasing anxiety about your relationship status) will set very different standards for you regarding what constitutes a suitable mate. At this point, your fertility is not starting to decline, it’s dropping quickly, and she is well aware of the fact that unless you make a move, you will not become a mother easily and therefore, she won’t become a grandmother either.
Do not be surprised if your mother, your great aunt or your favorite aunt, feel that it is ok to ask you out loud at a family gathering (in front of all of your cousins, their spouses and numerous loud children) if you are ever going to have a baby because “they are so looking forward to see you become a mom, have grandchildren, etc, besides “all of their friends already have grandsons and granddaughters” they say while “they have got nothing to brag about”. At that point, the already embarrassing conversation can become even more so when they go ahead saying things like “You can have it with whomever, nowadays you don’t even need to be serious with the guy, tell him that we will raise the baby if need be, right? [laughter at the table]”.
These sort of awkward moments do happen more often than not. Is it or is it not a contradictory message to a woman who was previously told to have standards? Does she need to forget about them altogether now simply because she is aging?
We must be careful about the messages that we pass to our children because their standards for normality will be based on what we say or do.
Crocodile used to say in front of my six year old “Go help mommy set the table” “Help mommy tidy up your room” “Let’s help mommy with this or that” as if anything that had to do with the house was naturally on my to do list of responsibilities. He would also use a scornful tone of voice whenever he disapproved of something that I would say or do and his tone and manners would only become more derogatory within our own house walls. Very concerning indeed and very bad example for a young boy setting his own standards on how women should be treated. But again, what can you expect from a crocodile raised in Crocodilopolis?
The way that we are educated is the way that we educate our children, unless we make a conscious effort to educate ourselves, set what we have learned to be wrong apart, and make new standards of what constitutes healthy.
Respect, discretion and gender equality would be a good starting point. Parenting and motherhood are a personal choice for men and women alike and setting the table or doing the dishes is no longer mommy’s thing because sharing spaces means sharing responsibilities. How simple is that?
Let bygones be bygones.