Motherhood and Generational Sexism

Tonight’s energy was off, far off. I want to blame it on the full moon however I don’t think it’s the full moon at play for a wonky day. This year and last have all been on paths not understood to many. Parents and kids alike are struggling with discomfort because we have not dealt with a situation with times like right now. Being a neurotypical human being at this time is a challenge. From dealing with boomers and old age opinions I think I’m at my limit with trying to understand the entire situation while trying to deal with marriage and kids.

I’m fighting with myself, my kids, my partner, and now adding to a slim list of people I wanted advice from my grandmother. Tonight I just wanted someone to tell me what I’m dealing with is going to be ok. If not ok just that I’m normal for feeling like I’m going to collapse from all the weight of being an empath. I cannot always be glue holding people together and trying to glue myself back to regular emotions. I’m human it’s not possible to deal with the weight of my family and weight of the outside worlds. Being neurotypical adds to stresses from breaking routines and not being able to cope with constant changes. Sometimes I cannot hold all my frustrations into a bowl without them tipping over and spilling.

I always tell my children that it’s ok to not be ok. I do this by holding them until they feel alright. Telling them often it’s ok to express how they fell openly. I never tell them to stop crying or try to work through the issues with talking. I never give tough love because I feel like it doesn’t hold merit to helping them in their mental growth. Tonight I was reminded why I choose this approach. Phoning my grandmother due to needing a shoulder to lean on she offered her tough love of your mother so hold everyone together and keep your peace to yourself. Feeling more lonely I had to walk away from the conversation. I understand her point of view but the take on it is outdated.

I understand that in times even before I was born woman were not allowed to express frustrations. The world told woman that we needed to keep the family from turmoil and provide only positivity and not let the men fall. There is a whole generation of women who keep these outdated values and pass the knowledge onto future woman with families. This advice blocks mental health and creates environments of depression. A Woman experiencing issues and frustrations should be able to find someone to talk to and have help from their partner in making their households safe. She told me that I should compose myself and make a better environment suited to the boys.

I cannot stress how these words affected a woman in my time. I’ve heard it from the generation as my mother-in-law and grandmother. They grew up in a sexist generation built on trying to dominate woman into silence. This generation my generation have grown away from the sexist values and are finding our voices to seek help. It’s a balancing act to find help, and it’s a balancing act to still help the home front but have independence to do both. My question is how do we build a village and how do we move forward in accepting damaging advice. It’s not about putting on a brave face it’s about actually being able to feel and to be human.

I don’t have immediate solutions to issues in the home right now. What I do know is I need to work and being told to quit my job twice by people above the generation because women need to sacrifice everything for their families is not the solution. Telling a woman to give up everything the love and have is not advice to aid one in a good direction. I don’t agree with the old age idea that woman’s purposes are for children and men only. We need independence. It’s time to have independence. Women have fought hard to get into a place to make a difference in the world. They should not be shunned by one bad day into retreat after fighting hard to stand among men. The equality I seek does not lie just with me, it lies with my partner in helping the home be a home.

The second one was saying that I should send my son who has Asperger away because we have had a string of meltdowns. The words that hurt the most was you need to get control of his autism. I am a neurotypical woman in a non- neurotypical world. My child is also neurotypical. Understanding at one point we would just medicate or force neurotypical people to act normal and hide disabilities from the outside world is not a solution to modern problems. Taking away from that it is sexist to assume a mother should hide her issues when it comes to disabilities and their children. I hid my disability to force normalcy to fit in. I used to take it that I embarrassed my grandparents for being different. What would the other woman say about them? It shouldn’t matter. Women should help women understand that challenges and frustrations with motherhood and special needs is something that needs to be helped not hidden. By sending my child away it states to him that he’s a burden when it’s both our fights to learn to grow and understand one another.

As much as I wanted to reach out for guidance I understand there’s a difference of time between us. I hope one day that if I meet a girl who needs help I won’t dismiss the woman from the time who fought hard the rights we hold to freedom today. I will hold the mind to heal instead of telling what they need to do. Wanting woman to be fierce, but I also want them to have a voice and know that it’s ok to not be ok.

My take from my lesson tonight is I can love someone with a different opinion however I do not have to take that direction when I felt dismissed and unaccepted. I don’t have to give up my job to make others happy, and I can figure out my village even when it feels far away. Motherhood and womanhood is not about giving all yourself to others, so they can be happy. What I do know is I am here, I will keep trying, hear me roar.

Written by Ali Johnson

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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