Caring for a parent

Run Like a Girl

My mother once complimented (or at least she meant it as a compliment) my former partner by saying she “worked like a man.” I suppose that implied something better than working like a woman.

My mother has never thought she was “good enough.” Or that “women’s work” was as important as “men’s work.” Handyman Dan “works hard” and without her supervision; caregiver Michelle can do little right. She is never impressed when I do the jobs Dan does, or work my father used to do around the property. It is not in the realm of her comprehension that I am capable, therefore she ignores the fact that I have pruned trees, hauled dirt, built a deer fence, emptied a storage unit and relocated the contents, driven across the country, painted the entire interior of a house, built a brick patio, created gardens, installed rain barrels, built a trail through the woods. All of it by myself.

She used to tell me I was a good mother—though living on opposite sides of the country as we did, she really had no idea if I was a good mother or not. But that was women’s work, and she understood it, so she complimented me. (The sentiment ended with my divorce, but I was still a damn good mother.) These days, I rarely even cook a meal that pleases her. She has wrapped me up in the status she gives herself: not good enough.

I work like a woman. A strong, capable woman. Make no mistake. And so does my daughter. The cycle is broken.

Be these girls! Be a woman! (Watch here.)

Run, throw, fight, work like a girl!

7 thoughts on “Run Like a Girl”

  1. Yesss! Your piece reminds me well of the ‘new woman’ endeavors I participated in during the 70’s…americans in Germany in those years..rewrite the rules always, a tough thing for men, others, perhaps…for sure in my case, but so worth the presence of full being.


  2. Except that we do it differently, Todd. I don’t think I want to be lumped into an even bigger pool. I want to do it like a girl because I am a girl. And girls are amazing. Mostly I want to do it like me; and for that to be worthy in my mother’s eyes. I’ll settle for worthy in my own eyes, which is what it’s all about anyway, Alfie.


  3. You truly are an incredible woman whom I admire mightily. I love your blogs. I love your insight. I remember well the stories you shared about your mom and I am so very proud of both of you — I also understand exactly where you are coming from in regards to your mom’s approval.


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