This post has been moved to my new website, and can be found at
Mother to Daughter: A Questionable Legacy – Part 3
As I was reading this post I was thinking that it was my father, and not my mother, who encouraged me and convinced me that I was capable to achieve all that I desired. But then I read your comment about your mother’s role in allowing you to appropriate some of your father’s ambition and it caused me to realize that while my mother never pushed me, she always supported me, a different kind of encouragement that I think that I have taken for granted until now.
Unfortunately, children do tend to take for granted a lot that mothers do for them, because most mothers care for children quietly and consistently and without demanding gratitude. Once you become a mother, you may realize this when your own children take you for granted! 😉
I know many women who received the insidious messages you described in part 2 from their mothers and others. I never remember being encouraged to downplay my intelligence in order not to compete with boys, nor do I remember being encouraged to pay undue attention to how I looked. As a result I never got addicted to shopping for shoes or handbags. 😉
I always knew I could be anything that I wanted to be. I never felt that my worth depended on who I married. When I married, I kept my maiden named and chastised people if they addressed cards to “Mr. and Mrs. BFF” instead of using MY NAME TOO.
That said, my mother encouraged me to be a nurse because that was such a good profession for women. My father overheard her and said,”Why should she be a nurse? Why not a doctor?”
I fooled them both and went to Law School.
Fantastic series. Looking forward to Part #4.
Well said, Jo Anne! My mother was a wonderful influence on me, too. Societal factors had a more discouraging impact, especially back in the fifties and sixties.
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