Are we all a bit soft these days?
|My great grandparents - Anna and Heinrich with their 10 children. In the back row, 5th from left is my grandmother Luise Maria.|
I have been working on a photo album for my parents, bring together all the old family photos. In doing this project I cannot help but think about the lives of the women in my family: my great-great grandmother Christiane, with her husband left her homeland of Silesia in Germany (now located in Poland) knowing they would never return, or Anna, her daughter-in-law with her 10 children to raise on a farm or Anna's daughter, my grandmother Luise. What was their lives like? How did they cope when times were tough, money was short, the crops didn't grow, no rain . . . It was tough.
Then I look at my life and it realise isn't tough like these ladies endured, it might be busy and we might complain, but it is certainly not tough, I don't think we understand what the word really means. When I hear women today saying they are exhausted or stressed I wonder what Christiane, Anna or Luise would have thought . . . they would never have heard of the word "stress" as it wasn't used until the 1930's . . . I think the concept would have been foreign to them. These women didn't dream of having a "quiet" time in the afternoon and a long lunch, their day was full of both running the home and helping on the farm (getting their hands dirty) whilst their children went to the local school (until they too were old enough to work). Anna lived many miles from a store and when she need to go shopping she had to walk even though her health was poor due to asthma.
We take for granted all the mod-cons we now have, the fact that the supermarket is open all hours and accessible, we forget that we can get messages to love ones at a click of a button 24/7, that washing the clothes takes only a few hours not a few days. Life is really quite easy these days and we should not be stressed if we really think about it.
I have just finished watched the "Victorian Farm", even though they had machinery to help on the farm (thanks to the Industrial Revolution) and things were starting to be developed for the home (eg the sewing machine), their life was full of activity from sun up to sun down. And when the lady of the house did have some spare time, she was busy making clothes or hats or baskets . . . not as a luxury, but as a necessity.
Therefore, when I come home from work and start my "home duties" . . . I think twice about saying that I am tired, because I have a microwave, freezer and everything around me to make my life so much easier compared to those earlier pioneer women who truly understand what the word "tired" meant. After a busy day on the farm, these ladies still had to cook dinner . . . without that microwave!
I hope that I have inherited some of their work ethic . . . the ability to work hard and not complain, sadly I think I am a bit little too lazy to be a pioneer woman.