Women are inherently relationship-building creatures. Although sometimes referred to as the 'softer characteristics', the innate feminine traits of women are the steel that builds thriving families and supportive human networks to provide comfort and shelter from the daily insecurities and chaos of the larger world.
"If you've never taken time to understand the roles of women or feminine traits," writes blogger Stephanie Holmes, "grab a book, make some hot chocolate, and curl up on the couch. It's worth the investment of time." This is the first in her list of 10 Ways to Celebrate Womanhood in 2016, and she offers a few good resources to get us started on the journey.
Some of Stephanie's suggestions for 2016 fully embrace the relational traits of womanhood:
- Make your house a home. No matter your marital status or family situation. No one can make your home as special as you can.
- Welcome people to your home. Whether it's for a quick cup of coffee or for a large party, make friends feel comfortable and loved through your hospitality.
- Invest in female friendships. These sisterhood bonds are irreplaceable.
Modern day feminists will rail against a few of Stephanie’s suggestions, despite the time-honored wisdom of them:
- Let men take the lead. So often we get frustrated that men are not more assertive. However, sometimes we don’t give them the opportunity to lead. Especially if you’re Type A (like me), it can be easy to take the reins. This year, try to give the men in your life room and encouragement to be the leaders they’re meant to be.
- Encourage and affirm the men in your life. Our role as a helper is invaluable.
- You don't have to be superwoman. We can't actually have it all, all at the same time. Nor are we supposed to.
These bring to mind another New Year's article on womanhood worth reading as well: If You Love Romance and Adventure, Ditch Feminism. Grace Stark examines the dilemma of women, steeped in a culture infused with third-wave feminism, who find themselves forced to choose between career and family.
Back when I was still grappling with my own decision to quit my job and follow my husband across the world, a colleague gave me an excellent piece of brutally honest advice: she told me that I was replaceable where I worked then, and that I would be replaceable wherever I worked in the future. As cold as that sounds, her point was well-taken: Your career owes you nothing.
Although she didn't say it, the corollary was also clear: You are only irreplaceable to the ones who love you.
Choosing the "loving arms of her husband, instead of the plastic arms of her deskchair" is "no step backward for womankind," argues Grace.
"Love is a verb," Clare Boothe Luce once said. And love is ultimately the heart of womanhood and the 'soft' feminine traits that define it. Love is the steel that makes us, and others in our sphere of influence, happier and stronger.
"Ladies, let us not drop the ball on recognizing the honor of womanhood this year," concludes Stephanie. "Instead, let's embrace it, celebrate it, and let our femininity sparkle in 2016."