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To think women are more than just wives, mothers and grandmothers.

(165 Posts)
trisher Mon 20-Nov-17 11:14:42

Much as I love my family, my children and grandchildren I would hate to think that being a woman and my life has just been about them. I won't even think about being married and the disaster that was. I am proud of the years I spent as a teacher and the voluntary work I have undertaken since retirement. I think they are as important as anything else. I don't have a daughter but for my granddaughter I would wish that she is first a person in her own right pursuing her own aims and her own dreams and then that she finds someone and has children if she wishes. But I would not want to be and do not want her to be assessed and remembered as a wife, mother and grandmother. I am and most women are far more than that.

janeainsworth Mon 20-Nov-17 11:28:14

Everyone is entitled to their own view trisher - it isn’t a question of being unreasonable or otherwise.
Personally, I feel privileged to have received a good education courtesy of the state, and to have worked in my chosen profession.
But as the end of my life, what will matter to me the most will be my family, those who have gone before me and those who I will be leaving behind.
I don’t care how people remember me, as long as my children know that they were greatly loved.

Eglantine21 Mon 20-Nov-17 11:28:30

I'm reminded of the gravestone that I saw that gave name and date and the epitaph "A vicars wife."
I with you on this one, Trisher.

Eglantine21 Mon 20-Nov-17 11:29:31

And from now on I will be the sort of person who checks her post before pressing the button!

Ilovecheese Mon 20-Nov-17 11:30:15

I wholeheartedly agree with you trisher I love my family too, but I don't feel totally defined by being married and having had children.
As long as my family are o.k. I don't feel disapointed if they do not surround me at Christmas or birthdays. I still have dreams and ambitions and a whole inner life of my own.
Having said that, I am very happily married and would be devastated if he was not with me.
I am glad that my children have their own children but that is because they wanted to have children, not because I wanted to have grandchildren.

vampirequeen Mon 20-Nov-17 11:37:07

I don't really care if they remember me as a wife, mam, grandma, teacher or whatever. As long as they remember me as having been a nice person.

paddyann Mon 20-Nov-17 11:44:39

I've spent most of my life juggling a business and a family,my Oh often worked 14 hour days ..or more.So the childcare and house was up to me...on top of working full time .I enjoyed it all.Now we're semi retired though I love having the GC here and not being time restricted.My children and GC are a huge part of my life and thats how I like it..we've had 4 here since Friday ..they go home tomorrow .We're all tired ..but happy .Isn't that whats important ?

Fennel Mon 20-Nov-17 11:46:38

I just want to add to Trisher's list, daughter, sister, cousin etc.
I spent many years struggling with all the various roles. At the same time enjoying my job, which I loved (thanks to the state education I received, (as per JaneA)
It's just as well women can do multi-tasking.
But now, it's my husband, children and their families that I put first

NanaandGrampy Mon 20-Nov-17 11:55:47

I do see your point Trisher and understand it . I feel slightly differently.

My finest achievement ( so far :-) ) is without doubt my daughters - and if I'm remembered for nothing more than being a great Mum I'll take that! Being an awesome Nana comes a close 2nd , followed by a loving wife for over 41 years.

I've done many things in my life and they are all part of who I am now , most I remember with pride. I am more than the sum of the parts .

I don't pigeon hole myself so others don't pigeon hole me either. I pursued my dreams - I just happened to take my family along for the ride smile.

Eglantine21 Mon 20-Nov-17 12:01:12

Yes, for a lot of people children and grandchildren are central, but you only have to look at the number of unhappy/angry posts on here to see the trouble it causes when they are all that someone has to occupy them and give them a sense of self worth. And the agony it causes when the extent of one gran's need is such that she is in competition with another or even with her child's chosen partner.
When daughter, mother, grandmother is all you are that's perilous.

trisher Mon 20-Nov-17 12:01:13

I fully agree with all of you about how important family can be and if it seemed that I was ignoring that part of my life I can only apologise. It was and is a big part of my life but I am more than that and I think most women are.

gillybob Mon 20-Nov-17 12:12:57

But as the end of my life, what will matter to me the most will be my family, those who have gone before me and those who I will be leaving behind

My thoughts exactly janeainsworth

Surely being remembered (for the right reasons) is the main thing and not being remembered as a great ........... (insert word of choosing).

I certainly won't be remembered for anything other than having been a dedicated and loving granddaughter, daughter, sister, mother, wife and grandma.

Wouldn't wish for anything more to be honest.

Anniebach Mon 20-Nov-17 12:14:05

A man who is a husband and father is no different.

the two greatest accomplishments in my life are my two daughters. I have done many years working for charities , thankful I did, was actively involved in miscarriages of justice and for years involved with the fight against apartheid.

I would be content for my gravestone to read the same as Paul Eddington said he would like on his, - she did no harm. Well he said He did no harm

loopyloo Mon 20-Nov-17 12:14:56

Absolutely Trisher. I don't feel totally defined by my family. If they all fell away I would still be me and would be able to build a life. Very sadly, but I would.

Anniebach Mon 20-Nov-17 12:33:47

Lucky you loopy

MamaCaz Mon 20-Nov-17 12:40:33

The title of the thread reminded me of a bugbear of mine - the way newspapers, when reporting on a woman, tend to headline the article with the words 'mother' or 'grandmother', as if a woman cannot be just that, a woman, in her own right. While they also sometimes do the male equivalent when reporting on men, it seems to me that they do it to us women far more frequently.

gillybob Mon 20-Nov-17 12:47:24

I can honestly say that if my family (small as it is) "all fell away" loopyloo I would no longer be "me" in any way, shape or form. In fact even just thinking about it makes me quite upset.

Bathsheba Mon 20-Nov-17 13:01:40

I can honestly say that if my family (small as it is) "all fell away" loopyloo I would no longer be "me" in any way, shape or form. In fact even just thinking about it makes me quite upset.
I have to agree with you gillybob. Maybe many years ago, it is very slightly possible that as a much younger woman I would have been able to carve out a life for myself if my family were suddenly no longer here. But now, at my age, I think I would not only find this extremely difficult, but I can't imagine I would have the emotional strength. Life would, sadly, be no longer worth living.

loopyloo Mon 20-Nov-17 13:28:16

I think I feel like this because I grew up very much as an only child as my brother and sister were much older.
And I think my family like the fact that I have interests of my own.
And yes, Annie, I am very very fortunate and I hope that I am never put to that test.
And why should I feel guilty for saying I have an identity of my own apart from my family?

Jalima1108 Mon 20-Nov-17 13:34:52

But as the end of my life, what will matter to me the most will be my family, those who have gone before me and those who I will be leaving behind

I feel the same as janea - my working life is behind me and I hope that I helped to make a contribution, however tiny, to make the world a better place.
Now in retirement I have hobbies, holidays and I hope an enquiring mind but what matters most to me is family (including those who went before whom I am tracing through genealogy).

Jalima1108 Mon 20-Nov-17 13:37:40

I think my DC are defined both by their careers and by their relationships within the family and I hope that my DGC will have fulfilling lives too.

Anniebach Mon 20-Nov-17 14:17:59

And who said you should feel guilty loopy and why ask me ?

Eloethan Mon 20-Nov-17 14:20:11

My family - even the memories of those who have died, some many years ago - is a very important part of my life. Even though I have several interests, I very much enjoy the company of my children and grandchildren, and my life would definitely change for the worse if they were not around. If anything were to happen to any of them, I would be absolutely devastated but I hope I would try - for my own sake and for the sake of those around me - to eventually return to some sort of normality.

I don't suppose many people want the media or other people to define them in terms of their family but I think that is probably a broader issue relating to the role of women in society. I expect that for many men - though perhaps not all - their families are very important to them also but they are rarely "defined" as fathers, grandfathers, etc.

I expect some of us, including myself throughout most of my working life, have not done jobs that are especially valuable to society or noteworthy. Speaking personally, it is difficult to look back on a fairly mundane job and feel much satisfaction.

Eglantine21 Mon 20-Nov-17 14:25:11

I suppose it worries me that it's a short step from "without my family life wouldn't be worth living" to "those who dont have a husband, children, grandchildren don't have a life worth living"
Anyone who lacks any one of those three will relate to the pitying patronage that accompanies that admission from those who have achieved what matters!

gillybob Mon 20-Nov-17 14:30:43

I'm not sure its the same thing though Eglantine21.

To have never had a wife/husband/sister/brother/child.... whatever,

is not the same as having had them and loved them and then for them to be taken away from you.