Throughout the decades the “social roles” of women have flip flopped. And for black women, well, they have always been distorted. And that is a-whole-nother conversation for another place and time. But, what I have learned is this: Kim Kardashian, Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, Carol Brady, and Hazel the Maid rarely happens in the same woman. And is even less likely to occur in a society where EVERY woman aspires to be Oprah. Only Chaka Khan can be every woman. For any other woman, that would either be a shock or a con. We REAL women have to be who we are, and in doing so, take care of the things that matter most. Rarely, if ever, will that be EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME.
I have spoken to friends and family over the years about this. We each have our recipe for womanhood. I have compiled what I consider to be the best advice, but do admit, that sometimes maintaining everything on this list is extremely difficult (if not impossible), but try I must.
- Put God first.
- Keep your house clean (yes, even the laundry).
- Keep yourself together at all times (and this means health AND beauty).
- Pay ALL your bills, (even if you have nothing left).
- Always save for a rainy day (Set aside money regularly that you do not touch).
- Have at least 3-4 streams of income.
- Have at least one outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks and one fabulous black dress w/shoes.
- Own a perfect place setting for a meal for two (Mothers may wish to also have a perfect place setting for each one of her children) AND know how to prepare at least one meal fit for a king.
- Choose a mate that is a friend, as well as a partner. Life is hard enough. A sound relationship should make both your lives enjoyable. Together, you should tag team the world.
- Never be too proud, shy, or afraid to admit that you need help.
Honorable Mention: In this economy, know that unexpected bills will pop up. For that reason, be sure to REPAY your GOTO people ASAP.
And just for the record, right now on this list, I am currently focusing on numbers 1, 4, and 10 The rest are goals. There is hope for me still.
Eartha Watts-Hicks is the author of Love Changes and literacy ambassador for the NYCHA branch of the NAACP.
Photograph by Rudy Collins from the Music Is Life event at Red Rooster In Harlem.