Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quest for the Gentlewoman

When I wrote this post I fully realized that it would paint me in a less than wonderful light. However, I've always said that I believe in honesty on this blog, and I am serious when I say it's kind of cathartic for me to write about some of the "not-so-pretty" stuff along with the good stuff. I appreciate it (and get a secret surge of joy!) when other moms write about their struggles as wives and mothers because it makes me realize that many of us fail to live up to our expectations of ourselves. However, another thought keeps tugging at me even as I spill my honesty all over the blogosphere. And here it is..........even though I am silently reassured by others' admissions of failure, I still hold out hope that there are some true gentlewomen out there. You know the ones. They never raise their voices; they are unfailingly kind and gentle to everyone; they are thoughtful and faithful, etc., etc., etc. The reason I hope SHE exists is because it gives me a little hope that that gentlewoman might be within my grasp sometime within this human lifetime. Michelle Duggar appears to be a true gentlewoman. I don't often watch their show, but I distinctly remember one episode where her oldest son said that he has never heard his mother raise her voice. I was truly impressed (and chagrined) by that. Unfortunately neither of my sons will ever be able to truthfully utter that statement. And I realize that most people who know me in RL (real life) would not describe me as a gentlewoman. I think I may be getting a LITTLE gentler as the years go by; however, I have a LONG way to go (as evidenced by the unexpected and truly unwelcome appearance of my alter-ego: PB). Anyway, I am just wondering if any of the rest of you have a secret quest for the gentlewoman going on. If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

6 comments:

Jennie said...

Ohhhh how I struggle with this. I do know one gentlewoman, and she is raising six gentle children (four of them girls, who will make wonderful wives and mothers someday). When I consider the difference between herself and me, one word comes to mind over and over again: submissiveness. It's such a yucky-sounding word, and it makes me (and many women) bristle, but from her example, it's the key.

First of course is submissiveness to God - humbling herself before an almighty God who commands her to do what? Respect her husband. So second is submissiveness to her husband, whom she rightly considers to be the leader of her family. Third is submissiveness to her role as mother and caretaker to her children. She doesn't complain or lament her station in life, she simply submits to being a mom and diligently carries out all of the responsibilities that go with that.

By modeling such submissiveness, she has been rewarded with six respectful, submissive children that she need not raise her voice to, because they obey.

I've never watched the Duggar show, so I don't know if submissiveness is a quality that characterizes her, but things certainly seem to go better in my household when I just shut up and follow my husband's lead. (And like I said, that's hard, hard, hard for me. My parents got divorced when I was 18 months old, and when I was seven, my mom remarried a total idiot. I cannot tell you how many times she told me that I couldn't depend on a man for anything, that I had to be able to fend for myself, yada, yada, yada. Not until I was much older (and met my future husband, who led me to Christ) did I realize that I can't rely on myself, but that I must rely on Christ, who has never led me astray (including re: submitting to my husband). ) So although I tend to want to argue with or second-guess my husband about things, I daily pray that God will humble me before Him and my husband, who has proved time and time again that he is a thoughtful, capable leader.

I so appreciate your candor. Although this is an area I'm really trying to work on, I fail daily - I roll my eyes at my husband or yell at my kids. One thing that keeps me going is that every day, God's grace is new, and so is our husbands' and kids' - they have an amazing capacity to forgive and forget. So maybe we can just try to make it one day at a time. I'll pray for you. Please pray for me, that I could be a gentlewoman who loves God, respects her husband, and carries out all of her daily responsibilities as unto the Lord.

In this with you...

magda said...

I understand what you're seeking. All I can say is, me, too! I wish there were more visible "Marmee"-types for me to ask questions of and just watch.

My Boys' Teacher said...

I see this post reminded someone else of "Little Women" as well...

I realized years ago how far from this I am. I forget about it most of the time, and then I read something like this and it reminds me and makes me sad.

Perhaps you've inspired me to give it another go.

I'll start tomorrow. Today I am already sooooo far from a gentlewoman. Gentlewomen don't have EVERYONE in the restaurant parking lot turn and stare at them because they've just roared like a lion...because they just threw their back out and hurt their wrist after wrestling for five full minutes with the strap on their kids carseat. I'm pretty sure a Gentlewoman does not roar.

Mama Monkey said...

I struggle with this too -- and I try to do better -- slow down, be calmer and more patient, speak more softly. On the other hand, I see value in my -- umm -- not so sweet and pleasant moments. My family is learning about conflict and that the people we love and respect aren't always perfect. I also get the chance to model being humble enough to apologize. ;-)

Gigi said...

Both my husband and I work on this Daily. We have talked about being more gentle with our children and each other and work on it every day. There are good days and not so good days!

For me, my cycle also plays a big role if I will have a good day or bad.
As I write this, I'm thinking maybe there is a devotional that will help with being more gentle....

I like what the last comment "I also get the chance to model being humble enough to apologize. ;-)". It is so true. I do apologize to my kids when I yell at them.

Serena said...

My grandma was such a woman. Unfortunately, being a gentlewoman does not seem to be hereditary--or maybe I just take after my other grandma.

Anyway, she had 12 children and was very loving and kind. I'll be about town, start talking to someone in a store, they'll find out who my grandma was, and start raving about what a wonderful woman she was. And she died over 20 years ago. So yes, gentlewomen do exist. I'm just not naturally one of them. I have to learn the hard way.

Oh, and I so completely sympathized with your post. I turn into PB when I'm looking for something in the kitchen and can't find it--then I realize, hm, I can't find it because my husband washed all the dishes and put them away, so why am I so upset?