Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mom's influence

I was thinking this morning of how unconventional a woman my mother was.  She was born in 1910.  She went to nursing school and became a career woman in a time when most women married instead of furthering their education.  She built a house in Wauwatosa.  She bought a car and took her driving test in downtown Milwaukee.  Her words "I didn't need a man to support me" still ring in my ears.  She met my father and wasn't particularly impressed...at first.  Then they married and had 5 children and they both worked full time while we all grew up.  Unheard of in the 50's and 60's.

Television shows from the '50s had a very negative impact on me.  Donna Reed and Father Knows Best gave the impression that normal was having your mother stay home, do all the housework, cook fabulous meals, and never, ever work to help support the family.  I wished for a life like that when I was younger and had small children....and thank goodness, didn't get it.  As a result, I am able to support myself, and although I'm happily married now, if something, God forbid, should happen to my wonderful husband, I wouldn't have to worry about the basic necessities.  Those TV shows, in my opinion, tempered my independence.  What kind of artist/person would I have been if I had followed my mother's example?  Would I have been more unconventional than she was?  Would my "I want to do it MY WAY" personality have come out in my paintings sooner and with more impact?  I'll never know for sure. And how will this self revelation change the way I paint now?

1 comment:

Lynet said...

I always wonder about stuff like that. My mom was the opposite of yours. She didn't have an education and she was a stay at home mom. We were living in Mexico where things were very "old fashioned" (the man is the master of the house, the woman and the children obey). So I grew up not wanting to be like her. I studied very hard in school and college and was determined to be a successful career woman. I told myself "I will never be like my mother. I will never depend on a man." I did end up having a successful career in programming, but when I decided to get pregnant (in my thirties), I had a lot of pressure from my "old fashioned" parents and my "old fashioned" husband to give up my career. I agonized over it and finally gave in. I can tell you that I spiralled into a horrible depression and I haven't fully recovered from that. I love my daughter very much, but I also miss having a successful career. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I was still a career woman. All those dreams that I had. I guess I will never know. And now here I am trying to be an artist during a bad economy. It's not the same...