I’ve been there, in a glamorously decorated room where a hundred women are parading around in their designer dresses, talking about the upkeep of their fancy pools and how the idiotic pool man had the nerve to let the leaves float, oh the horror. Oh my horror. I usually cringe from these sort of soirées but as an anthropologist of the human condition I am forced to watch these social events unfold the way one looks at an oncoming train, frozen in panic.
Some of you may know these women, the ones who aren’t very constructive with their time, oh wait! Fund-raising is sort-of their job with strategically allocated shopping days at upscale designer stores. What a debacle it would be if they didn’t have a new Prada coat this season.
Before you blast me with defensive explanations that women who stay home are working, let me tell you that I agree; being a mother is probably the hardest job in the world. Some people would find that running a corporation and working eighteen-hour days is much easier than raising children. No argument there. What irks me about some of the women I keep encountering is the lack of motivation for creating something of their very own. There is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, if you have the luxury to do so, but at some point you need to interrogate yourself, asking what you are doing to make the world a better place. What’s your contribution? Not monetary. Your children are going to grow up, hopefully elevated examples of you, leaving you to account for your own life and what you are leaving behind.
My mother has been a stay-at-home mom all her life and I love her for it, but what I love most is how she goes to Africa to build water systems in small rural villages where people haven’t had the luxury of owning their own water pumps. She wanted to make their world a better place to live, she didn’t just donate the funds, she did it herself. I’m not suggesting you go to Africa to prove that you are charitable, but I do suggest you look inwards and ask yourself if you are making the most of your life and what exactly are you placing importance on? Are you placing importance on the material aspects of this world? Your home, your possessions, cars and so forth? If you are, I will tell you it’s a bottomless pit that runs so deep that desire can never run out as long as you are in that pit. The quest for materialism and comparing yourself to your fellow humans to it is a surefire way of losing yourself, even if it’s in style.
Enjoy life, love the finer things, but have the balance, know that you have a social responsibility to those in this planet and take the time to reassess your value structure.
For myself, even as a child, I was always plagued by the incessant nagging to earn my own living, be my own woman rather than drown in the glittery quicksand of a man’s income. Why? Because when you depend on someone for all that you have, you can quickly lose all that you are, especially your own worth. I can hear the protests from here. Yes, it’s a strong statement but I am not going to decorate the truth. Be your own woman. There is a real satisfaction in knowing that you can take care of yourself better than anyone can take care of you, and that is the infallible way to have a happier and healthier life, and guess what? No one can ever say that you don’t respect yourself. Any angle you look at it, whatever argument or confrontation you are faced with in life, you can walk out of any situation with your head held high and your hand in your pocket, not extended out.
Here’s a secret that I have discovered. When a woman hasn’t come to terms with her self worth, she tends to be jealous of other women, wasting her constructive mind by judging others and creating a little clique for herself that will one day outcast her for the very same reasons she reprimands other women. Goodness know’s we’ve all been there at some point in our lives, but evolve. Inculcate it into your being. The never ending lure for material gain, whatever form it’s in, is all such a waste of space and energy in such a special world.
Then there are some women that have mastered grace in such a way that they begin to inspire the world. You’ve seen these women, you’ve looked to them for inspiration and encouragement. Be one of them. It only takes one person to make a difference, why not you?
* Dedicated to my mother. Thank you for being a shining example.