On Facebook, the following post has been making the rounds:

A real woman always keeps her house clean & organized, the laundry basket is always empty. She’s always well dressed, hair done. She never swears, behaves gracefully in all situations & circumstances. She has more than enough patience to care for her family, always has a smile on her lips, & a kind word for everyone.

Yeah, right.

My house is not as clean nor organized as I would like, the laundry basket(s) are seldom empty, I’m not always well-dressed, and my hair often looks like I flew in on a Harley with no helmet.  I can’t promise that I never swear, am quite sure that I’m awkward in some situations, and run short on patience on occasion.  Sometimes I scowl, and not all of my words are kind.   That grouping is not what I aspire to, but it is what it is.

Yet, I’m quite certain I’m not a man.  I’ve given birth without drugs, and gotten out of bed the next morning to care for an infant and three children ages six and under.  I can pick things from my backyard garden and make supper of it, with all the nutritional value needed for my family.  Three of those four children — all girls, by the way — are in college or graduate school.  All are mastering fields traditionally not thought of as women’s work: math, physics, and materials science engineering.

And they can all cook, to varying degrees.  Alpha can sew, and Beta is learning.  Delta can take apart just about any electronic gadget, re-solder the loose connections, and put it back together in working order.  Gamma is very gifted with young children, especially teaching them to swim.  I bet none have empty laundry baskets, but they manage to wear clean clothes every day.

Yet, any one of us can comfort a child, or an animal in need.  Any one of us can prepare nourishment — for one, or many.

A “real” woman?  That would be one who puts her family first, whether that means excelling in the domestic arts or bringing home the check that pays the mortgage.  I guess the same would be true for a “real” man — one who puts family first, whether that is in the role of provider or caregiver.   Or some combination of both, as is more common today.

Come to think of it, I have some more caregiving duties to attend before the sun rises tomorrow.  Take care, and be real — whatever that is.