The feminist movement represents, for the most part, the younger, well-educated woman who chooses to have a career, or decides to stay home for a few years to nurture her children. She feels in control of her life.
But there is a large group of women, mostly over forty, who stayed home all of their married years, caring for husbands and children, who feel powerless and out of control. Color them grey, because that is how they see themselves. They have been so conditioned to self-giving by our male-oriented culture, the exploitation of humanity by the advertising media, and the misinterpretation of Jesus’ teaching by church institutions, that they feel themselves to be zeros, nothings.
When Jesus said “love thy neighbour as thyself,” he meant that we should love and value ourselves as much as we value anyone else. Quite a contrast with many of the hidden and open messages aimed at women through the years. How can we give of ourselves if we haven’t time, energy, space and money and, most of all the belief that we are of value, to find out who we are and to develop our talents? When we insist on time for our self-growth, we aid in the growth of others, our daughters develop attitudes of self-respect, our sons and husbands realize that we are more than household caretakers.
In our culture, many wives are expected to take care of all the household tasks, the emotional well-being of the children, struggle with an ever-rising cost of living, so hubby can play with his snow-mobile, motorcycle, gold clubs, and other toys. And she is expected to be grateful when she gets her payment Saturday night.
What to do about it? First of all, realize that this is your one time around. The Lord loves you as much as anyone else. Start exercising those decision muscles by making some decisions on your own, even if they are only tiny ones. If you feel fat and forty, lose weight. Get a new hairdo. Join a new group that gives you a lift. Take a course in something that’s fun. Get the paperback “I’m OK, You’re OK” at a bookstore or the library and read it. Do something. Then something else. And something else.