The always inspiring Carmen Torbus posted this video today, and I was struck by how immediately it brought up thoughts about the lives women live today versus in my mother's generation. This is a topic that comes up now and then with my friends, and for some reason it has been bubbling up in conversations with greater frequency lately.
Human nature dictates that with each generation there will be vertigo-inducing gaps in our understanding of one another ~ situations in which our attempts at trying to communicate and connect have us craning our necks, squinting, and straining our every muscle. Maybe, because DNA ties us together, we feel like it should be easier to understand and appreciate one another. When, instead, we face one another with the feeling that there is an impossible chasm between us, it can be difficult to know how to bridge that gap.
“She’s my mother ~ I thought she was supposed to get me.”
“This is my daughter ~ why are her values different from mine?”
Carmen's video made me think about the abundance of resources, support and channels of connection that are available to our generation ~ how so many of us are claiming our lives in a way our mothers likely never could. Maybe Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan inspired our mothers to stand up for themselves more than their mothers were ever encouraged to, but our generation is taking the claiming of our own lives to an entirely different level. I'm not sure our generation feels like we can "have it all" ~ with particular emphasis on finding the perfect family + career balance ~ as much as we believe we can define for ourselves what all means and pursue that in our own unique way.
I think I am talking about two different things here ~ the landscape our generation is now
navigating creating versus the terrain our mothers had to cultivate and the difficulties that can arise when a mother and daughter cannot fully embrace the differences between the two. The problem with these differences is that it isn’t terribly easy to call them different and leave it at that. Other labels get too easily attached ~ words such as good, bad, silly, and outdated can take what could be a starting point for a fascinating conversation and shut it down before it can even get going.
I know I am teetering on the edge of making inappropriate, sweeping generalizations, but as I try to work through the tangles I sometimes feel caught in with my own mother, I am eager to know what kind of conversations are happening between mothers and daughters these days. This is an area of my life in which I feel a particular kind of lost-ness, where my search for answers and clarity always feels just out of my reach, on the other side of a fog bank that follows my every move.
As daughters with mothers and mothers with daughters, what conversations are taking place, either in real life or in your perfect-world scenarios?
"Suddenly, through birthing a daughter, a woman finds herself face to face not only with an infant, a little girl, a woman-to- be, but also with her own unresolved conflicts from the past and her hopes and dreams for the future." ~Elizabeth Debold