Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Well-Behaved Women February 8, 2011

I’ve been going through a bit of a renaissance recently. I’ve dropped a few pounds and been exercising fairly regularly, things are going well in general, and I’ve found myself with a new shot of self-confidence.

This has resulted in my buying a pair of kick-ass red boots, chopping off my hair into a funky little bob, and adding rocket red streaks to the front. I’ve also been digging around in the back of my closet (and the Goodwill bag I recently filled) and experimenting with putting together some old favorite clothes in new ways – interesting tops over summer dresses over leggings, with the aforementioned funky boots. I’m having fun and enjoying letting the new me out in public.

After seeing the Expressing Motherhood show, it occurred to me how different this experience would be if I had children, in particular teenage daughters. Imagine: “Mom! (shriek!) You’re not going out in THAT are you?!” or, “Oh, Mother, what HAVE you done to your hair?” or that old chestnut, “Mom, don’t you think you’re a bit OLD to dress that way?”

Oh, the humiliation, not just for the teenage daughter, but for me, for being pointed out as mutton dressed as lamb, or for just being an embarrassment. Because moms are expected to behave a certain way, to dress a certain way, to be respectable and good role models for their daughters. (I realize that many aren’t and several come to mind, but being good is what they’re supposed to do.)

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has a wonderful quote that has made its way into popular culture lately. She said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” I’m not exactly planning on making it into the history books for my misbehaving, but I’m enjoying the freedom of having no one to embarrass but myself.

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5 Responses to “Well-Behaved Women”

  1. Kate B Says:

    I posted something similar to that quote on facebook once. One of my high school classmates turned very holy roller responded “What about the Virgin Mary.” So, I had myself a little chuckly when I read your post today, thinking about the attempted slapdown on facebook. I don’t ever expect to make history, but if being well-behaved all the time means having no fun in my life – well then screw that!

  2. Monica Says:

    I have been having a similar revival of self…I often find that I am my own best entertainment ! Have fun and laugh laugh laugh!

  3. HR Hughes Says:

    Sassy, I like it!

  4. Mali Says:

    Love it! Especially the fact that you can enjoy the freedom.

  5. insemination Says:

    Well-behaved women cook dinner every day, clean the house, raise the children and are waiting at the door with a kiss when their husband comes home.


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