"A true woman would hardly care to exchange her delicate instinct, her deftness of finger her versatile mind - which enables her to do the many little and great things in our everyday home-life equally well - her quick perception, her motherly all-aroundness, her sweet womanly loveliness, for any other marketable thing, or any other characteristic or capability attained by culture or training. A true woman is a woman, and she does not desire to be anything else unless she can add it to her womanliness."
Where to start.
First of all - I lack all "delicate instinct". I am awkward, rambunctious, easily provoked to raucous laughter - but delicate I am not. I believe God made me - at the basic level - the person that I am, and after years of resisting this and trying to be someone that I am not, I am finally comfortable with the fact that I am not a wilting flower. I believe God made women in all shapes, sizes, colors, and yes, personality too. He created each of us individually - to be different, and to bring glory to Him through our uniqueness. Our creative God did not make us cookie cutter people - but rejoiced in his ability to put together so many different combinations.
I take offense at this idea that we are to use our "versatile mind" only for the home or it is some blemish on our womanliness. Do all of our pursuits not benefit our families? How is it that men may pursue their dreams, follow their ambitions and creativity where they lead and if women do the same outside of their homes, they have committed some terrible crime? We can have our identity as wives and mothers mean so much that we fail to be individuals.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for all of my children's lives until recently. I have always done something - babysitting, cleaning houses, computer work at home, etc. to bring in some extra income to help make ends meet. My times at home with my family have always been my favorite, but I've done it because that was the desire of my heart and not because there was some unwritten standard that I would be less of a woman if I did not. I have seen women crash and burn after divorce because they had all of who they were wrapped up in their families, including my own mother. My mother was not blameless - but she lost who she was when the man she married at 16 decided he didn't want to be married to her anymore, and she never recovered.
Last night, I was feeling rather overwhelmed. I saw women come through my line happily spending money on Christmas gifts and enjoying the season and I felt so envious. They got to go home that evening to their families. They didn't have to drive home at almost 1 am and hope they would be awake and alert enough not to hit a deer, or drive off the road because they were so tired. Then I thought of my co-workers - one who has to leave for work before her 4th grader gets off the bus and has to walk 2 blocks home to stay for the evening with a handicapped grandma while she works. One lady is so tired that her eyes never look like more than little slits. One lady works nights because she is taking care of a 21 year old daughter who is a paraplegic during the day. These women are true women, doing what is required, as I am to make it through the day, whether working out of their homes or not. Their deftness of finger, versatile mind and quick perception are often expended in their workplace and not their home. It is easy to sit back in a padded chair with a comfy life and make judgments on these women - but get in the trenches with them for a little while and you'll see - they are women just like you.