By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN
I was raised in the 1950’s-1960’s. Our traditional family was the mom that stayed at home, cooked, kept the house clean, and dad who worked his way up the Corporate ladder.
He was a weekend dad.
And she was a trapped and miserable mother and wife.
I remember the storybook fairytales like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and later the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the beast.
Eventually the woman in distress finds her male hero to save her day. To ride off with him on that white horse.
And I believed the fairy tales.
Towards the mid 1960’s-1970’s I was well aware of the women across the country screaming “women’s liberation.”
And I payed attention to this new unrest in our country.
I was raised to believe that men are stronger. The stronger sex. They would care for us females, the “weaker sex.”
But the reality was woman wanted freedom. They wanted out of the house. They were tired of that trapped feeling. Women wanted to be college educated, have good jobs and with good equal pay.
What women’s liberation missed was the need for good dependable childcare. If the mom and dad were both equally employed outside of the house, who was going to care for their children? And I mean good and affordable childcare.
Somehow we missed the mark on this. And our life became near impossible.
Now, not only did we have the good jobs, we still had to clean the house, cook the meals, care for our kids because our husbands or male significant others didn’t seem to have those “nurturing skills.” So we had to do it all!!
I bought the myth. The fairytale.
I grew up with constant negativity. Mother was negligent and dad became a non-functioning alcoholic.
I was aware by the age of five that I was fat and stupid and ugly. A frequent message from my parents.
And not having an ounce of self esteem, I met what I thought was my Prince Charming. And he threw breadcrumbs of love towards me. And I grabbed onto those crumbs tightly. Because I was starving for love and affection.
Eventually we married. I was in love. I was quite naive. And the marriage became a farce. Many infidelities from my husband.
The degradation of knowing that and not being able to fix that.
He was a great father to our three children.
But the sadness was knowing that he really didn’t love me.
The sadness was knowing we were stuck in this dilapidated 2 bedroom trailer on 5 isolated acres.
I felt trapped. He had no desire to move out, to have a better life for us and our children, to get a better job or a second job, to stop being unfaithful.
Instead, it was up to me. With therapy, I expressed my sadness and my fears. I got a second job and now I worked at two different hospitals, working 60 hours per week, and I carved our family out of poverty and depression and isolation.
And I finally had a deposit for a house.
After 30 plus years of marriage, my unfaithful husband died of liver, pancreatic, lungs and lymph node cancer.
As I reflect, as a woman, maybe we are the stronger sex.
I see many men as weak and unreliable.
And though I would love to have a trustworthy and loving relationship with a man, I can’t see their soul, so I stay away.
I’m certain there are good men out there.
I see the good men in my son and son-in-laws and I’m thankful for the love they give to my daughters and the love my son gives to his wife.
But I can’t go through the trauma again
of allowing someone to step on my heart.
And I realize, for me
The glass slipper doesn’t fit.
It never did.