Society Magazine

A Letter to My Mom, A Modern Day Woman

Posted on the 17 April 2015 by Juliez
having-it-all-r-burgess3

Can we have it all?

More and more I see myself thinking like you. Less like a child, and more like a woman. I used to think that a woman could either have the white picket fence with a happy family and a golden retriever or be a powerful woman with a groundbreaking career and no family life. In what one could describe as the teen angst phase of my life, I resented you. I resented that you didn’t pick me up from school in a minivan every day and that you often had to travel for work so unexpectedly. I was always looking for an excuse to show how you were lacking.

As I look back, my hypocrisy — and that of so many young women — astounds me. We claim to be strong feminists who defend women around the world, but fail to show sympathy for the women in our own lives. How can we expect the treatment of women everywhere to change if we are ignoring those closest to us?

I think my relationship with you, Mom, changed the most when I moved away from home. As I grew older, I was able to admire your achievements as well as your personality and insight. I was able to see how they intertwined and make you who you are.

Young women today still get too caught up in deciding between a family or a career. You taught me that both are possible. My generation seems to plan our futures in a regressive way, based on the notion that it’s impossible to do everything we want, that we can’t fulfill all of our dreams and must decide between very different options. But I truly think it is possible, and you’re the proof.

Young women are raised to strive for a conflicting, unrealistic ideal of womanhood. We’re supposed to be career driven but maternal, coy but also sexy, mysterious but very direct. These expectations make it all too easy for young women to feel like failures and have low self-esteem.

You taught me to buck these standards. I used to roll my eyes when you told me to “be myself” and honestly still think it’s a little cheesy, but the truth is that there is nothing better than staying true to yourself. You remind me that women can strive for whatever they want and still be themselves.

Thank you, Mom, and to all of the other women of your generation. You set the path for us and because of you, I believe I can be the modern woman I choose to be.


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