Mama's Mama

Mama and her Mama, standing in the back row, left and center.

A sad consequence of the women's movement of the second half of the twentieth century, was the debasement of the traditional role women held within the household.  Rather than exalting the work women did at home, feminists threw the baby out with the bathwater, stripping the stay-at-home woman of her dignity, and denigrating the skills that made her good at her job.

One of the things I love about country-living, is watching women be women, in the traditional sense.  Rural women still love to do the things their mothers and grandmothers did.  There's a rebellious pride about them, and their homes.  They aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty, whether it be in the garden, the pasture or farmhouse kitchen.  They're modest, unpretentious, and aren't afraid to say, "I made it myself," or "I've had it for years."

Women of this ilk remind me of my grandmother, whom I dearly loved for being the gentle, straightforward woman she was.  I never pitied her for spending so much time in the kitchen, or for taking pride in her laundry or darning.  I remember looking on in fascination, as she'd clean a chicken for dinner, holding a match to the stubborn pin feathers.  Everything she did, was done with skill and precision.  She was a joy to watch.

The feminist movement successfully convinced women that they are victims of a male dominated society that forced gender specific roles upon them.  The following poem was written by an 85-year-old woman as a tribute to her grandmother.  When reading it, I couldn't help but wonder what was so gender specific about this woman's job skills.

Mama's Mama

Mama's Mama, on a winter's day,
Milked the cows and fed them hay,
Slopped the hogs, saddled the mule,
And got the children off to school.
Did a washing, mopped the floors,
Washed the windows and did some chores.
Cooked a dish of home-dried fruit,
Pressed her husband's Sunday suit,
Swept the parlor, made the bed,
Baked a dozen loaves of bread.
Split some wood and lugged it in,
Enough to fill the kitchen bin,
Cleaned the lamps and put in oil, 
Stewed some apples she thought might spoil,
Churned the butter, baked a cake,
Then exclaimed: "For Mercy's sake,
The calves have got out of the pen!"
Went out and chased them in again,
Gathered the eggs and locked the stable,
Returned to the house and set the table,
Cooked a supper that was delicious,
And afterwards washed all the dishes,
Fed the cat, sprinkled the clothes,
Mended a basket full of hose,
Then opened the organ and began to play,
"When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day."
                 -Anna Rees Henton, 1953
Dedicated to my Mama's Mama, Gertrude Catherine Barrett, July 12, 1907 to Nov. 26, 1986, pictured above with her Mama.
For more of my views on feminism, visit http://womenontractors.blogspot.com/2010/03/another-round-with-gloria.html


  1. agreed.
    lovely poem. I like it a lot!

  2. Don't know how I missed this! I will def. be sharing this with friends. Love that poem!