Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stress And The Modern Woman

We all have to deal with stress at one time on our life, however, I believe that modern society contributes greatly to this problem by the demands it places upon us.

In the times past, people generally were aware of the fact that there existed certain differences between the sexes rooted in biology. Women were on average considered more fragile, "the weaker vessel". Though they didn't discuss various female conditions such as menopause during dinner parties, like they are doing now, everybody was well aware of the fact that female reproductive system is more complicated than male and basically affect the woman's whole life.

Then the feminists came along and started their song about "strong independent women" and how they had been always kept down by men, without explaining how it was possible for one sex to oppress the other if those sexes are equal. Women were told to "man up", and female weaknesses became the incessant object of ridicule, like the proverbial Victorian fainting couch.

Now, granted, some exceptional women probably profited from certain restrictions being removed and went out and achieved in the male world and stuff, however, I'm fairly certain that the majority of average women lost society's understanding and protection when it comes to certain specific female vulnerabilities.

The simple fact of nature is that while I don't entirely agree with the statement that biology is destiny, it certainly affects us to a much greater degree than egalitarians allow us to believe. For instance, women have about 20-25% lower lung capacity than men which means that a female in her prime will have lung capacity comparable to a man in his fifties and sixties. PMS has its own Wiki article 
and hot flashes can be so debilitating that they require treatment. You may consider this information sexist, but it's a plain fact of life that women are, on average, weaker than men and can suffer from the whole range of conditions because of their biological makeup.

Since we collectively choose to ignore these uncomfortable facts, women are taught not to whine, to pop a pill and continue performing their duty to economy, which, I'm sure, is the chief cause of so much stress among modern women. The whole life pattern of a modern woman is based on this of a man. First she goes to school where she is expected to perform on the high level, because otherwise she won't be able to get higher education and to compete with men in the workplace.

Then comes the college and university, years working at a job 40 hours a week, then you are allowed to take a break for a couple of kids, than back to work you go, until 65 (in some countries 67 and 68). Ambitious parents push their daughters into competitive sports even though the girls suffer sport~related injuries more often than young men.The madness went so far that we now have pregnant women running marathons, never mind the fact that they may suffer incontinence later.

We are told that it´s OK because some (dirt poor) women delivered their babies in the field, though those pushing it conveniently forget to tell us how many of them died from sepsis, bleedings and various complications.

I could go on and on but I guess you see the picture. Women are supposed to be exactly like men and just keep on going until...well, I guess until they break down completely, mentally and physically. Christian sites aren´t much better as they keep convincing women how they must all have 10 kids, homeschool, make all their meals from scratch and run profitable home businesses inbetween making all their own clothes and changing diapers.

With the exception of Lady Lydia I hardly know anyone who is advocating for women to rest and set some time apart every day for just enjoying life instead of making money or serving in some ministry. Men don´t show much understanding, either, which is not surprising, when we consider the conditioning they undergo in modern society. I always chuckle when I read how yet another man says that all women with children of the school age should start working because there is really nothing to do at home, `since housework is so easy`.

First, they freely admit that they do less housework because they see some of it as pointless. Second, of course, it´easier for a man, since he is also much stronger.

I know I´m not going to convince those who don´t believe in the `gender` differences to agree with me, but that wasn´t my original point in writing this post. I just want to support those ladies who feel they can´t keep up with the insane modern pace of life and allow themselves to sit in the garden on a sunny day, to drink a cup of tea with a dear friend and to stay in bed an hour longer when it´s possible. You may feel attacked by the neo~puritan `Arbeit macht frei` brigade, but your health will thank you years later.


  1. Housewife from FinlandMarch 18, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    I think I just fell in love with you a little. This post is genius.

    I have an old home doctor book from year 1927. It tells how good it is that people exercise but also points out that competitive sports are not suitable for women. I think there may be point there. If you look at competitive women, they are usually very masculin. Depends on the sport, of course, but usually little bit higher testosterone leves do you no harm... (that book also had interesting chapter on healthy clothes.)

    In old books it is recognized that women can feel lousy and irritated certain times of month and that is why worklife is harder for women. Now we are just supposed to go on like everything is fine and advertisement tell us that we can go parachuting anytime etc. Some women undoubtedly can, but it shouldn't be the norm.

    Of course some women have always worked very very hard, in physical labour, having 10 children and such. And survived. But how long they lived? How worn-out they were at the age of 50?

    I wonder if too hard work is the reason why women age quicker than men. And carrying children is hard work, too. Especially ladies with children should be given some relief, even if the children are grown up.

  2. I was typing a long comment and it just disappeared so I shall try again:)

    First, thanks, I'm glad you liked this post! Women doing competitive sports suffer higher rates of injury than men, as proven by research. It's because, basically, men were made for war, women for childbirth. Heavy masculine style labour interferes with a woman's child-bearing capacities, so that in the 19th century in different European countries laws were taken to restrict the employment of women. One of the arguments used was that women performing heavy work were unable to produce healthy children for the army.

    I'm not at all against anyone having 10 children, but not all women are physically and mentally so strong as to cope with it and not all husbands can provide for so many, which, unfortunately, is not taken into consideration by some people pushing the "all anti-conception (even natural) is from the Evil One" doctrine.

    1. I mean, even the Catholic Church allows NFP.

  3. Love this article and you are right-Lady Lydia is just about the only one who advocates women taking a rest without feeling guilty.:) She has transformed my way of thinking, I worked a lot in my younger years and now have slowed waaayyy down. I love it. I can actually think a thought all the thru:) LOL. thank you for this

  4. I meant "thinking a thought all the way thru".

  5. You are welcome, Becky, I'm glad you liked it!

  6. Wonderful ! Even though I have ben home for 18 years now. I still do not give myself the freedom to just do something enjoyable, it is either work work work at home or do nothing and feel guilty that I am not doing more work...and never do anything enjoyable.. why we think raising girls to be men is sensible? All the beautiful things in life are no one has time for it.

  7. I'm glad you liked the post, anonymous. As per blog rules, please pick a handle. Anonymous comments are not allowed.

  8. The discussion about having 10 kids is very interesting, many women think God wants us all to raise many many children. This is not true. What I consider true is taking God into account before preventing conception, why would God put me in the situation of raising more children than I can afford? In my religious tradition there are many fasting days, having 10 kids is very difficult for a healthy couple and I read an article today about fertility, not each and every ovulation is going to lead to conception, human creation is something determined by God too, not only by human intentions. I can tell you from experience, everyone around us told us we were going to have 10 kids just because we were against planning when we got married, and now we have no biological child because it came out that God had other plans for us. Health problems are an issue too, not every woman is allowed to get pregnant, but this is not the general situation nowadays, the financial situation decides for couples to limit conception. I don't judge anybody. it is everybody's responsibility to decide when they get pregnant, but in my opinion God is more present and life giving than be believe, human conception is something very delicate and every new human life has it's own proper moment to appear on earth, parents are part taking in this divine act. I cannot believe otherwise, even if I know few people think like me. But being a housewife is not just related to raising many children. It is a demographic decay that requires more children to replace the old generations, but this doesn't mean I must have 10 kids, more women should become mothers and homemakers as a general picture. I regret that more and more teens despise traditional ways of building a family and raising children. Children are left behind after money and career because people wait to first become wealthy and afterwards do they decide to become parents of one single child in general. This is another discussion about deliberately having just one child, I am not against such families but I don't like the idea of not having siblings at all in a family. A family with 3 or 4 children is good in my opinion to build up strong relationships among children and making a team with non-selfish personalities. But again, this doesn't mean that families with one or two children are wrong or doomed. I would like 2 more children for instance because it brings a balance in the family, only 2 children tend to argue too often and compare themselves with the other child in the house. If I could give birth to more than 2 children I would accept this challenge as a personal choice. The benefits are over the risks. Staying at home remains a priority however.

  9. Alexandra, I always appreciate your comments because you take such a balanced approach. I agree with your points in general, and that 3 or 4 children is a good family size, as for anti-conception, there are so many opinions on what is allowed or not for the Christians that I'm reluctant to go into detail, however, I think it's generally safe to presume that Natural Family Planning is OK for most cases.

    Not every branch of Christianity teaches fasting, and there are some very legitimate reasons to limit one's family size. I knew a lady who nearly died having her third, it would have been very unwise for her to try and have more. Also financial concerns aren't always due to egoism. It's one thing to choose for Double Income No Kids/1 kid lifestyle, and it's another thing where a couple have difficulty paying their bills.

  10. I guess my opinion is that having children is such a private matter that I'm simply uncomfortable with the idea of telling people how many they should have:) If you want to have 10, fine, go for it, but don't tell others they are in sin if they choose for 2.

  11. I consider conception is so delicate, that I have been pondering very much if I should tackle this topic or not some time ago when the 10 kids topic appeared, because I knew opinions are very different and as you noticed, religious aspects very diverse too. But what I forgot to say is that your article is very very good, women are very different from men and experience taught me how different we actually react when it comes to facing stress and managing decisions and working at full speed. women need more rest, time for relaxing and making family life enjoyable. Our husbands need our freshness in order to rest themselves too after working very hard all the day long. that is why making homemaking lovely and not a burden is important, not just working all the time because otherwise we may feel guilty.

    1. Housewife from FinlandMarch 20, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      Aleksandra wrote: "Our husbands need our freshness in order to rest themselves too after working very hard all the day long."

      Thank you so much, that was so very wise. I just thought today when we had dinner how lucky we are when I can stay home. We can have delicious meal every day, not only weekends. And I can enjoy cooking every day because I don't have to cook hungry and in hurry.

  12. I understand your scruples and chose my words specially not to offend brothers in faith who think otherwise, but what I specifically mean were certain teachings which stated basically that God wants you to have as many children as possible, without taking into consideration your health, wealth and stuff like that. I read discussions where ladies who couldn't have any more children due to health reasons were attacked for not having enough faith. This is an approach I very much disagree with.

  13. As for the other topic, men are not only physically, but also mentally stronger. There was a research conducted some years ago (unfortunately I don't have the link, I should probably start collecting them) which stated that men caring professionally for the terminally sick had lower rates of stress and mental problems than women doing the same job.

  14. Stress affects the female body in a very aggressive way. The adrenal glands are exhausted if you get exposed to stress all the time and other important hormones decrease in your body. Men are built differently, they don't get cysts or other dangerous things if they work under pressure because they are made for hard physical and mental work. I have made a great experiment with my health after 3 years of full-time homemaking: no more cysts on my ovaries, no more high insulin levels and a better management of fat storage in my body. Homemaking protects us from the dangers outside the home that women are not supposed to face on their own. We have a more vulnerable structure and we should live like our bodies require. Men are stronger and want to take care of us, we should accept and appreciate their power, because we have our own power to use and put into practice.

  15. Sanne,
    This is an excellent post. I have always tried to "keep busy", whether working in paid employment or at home as a housewife. Somehow, I felt that if I felt tired, I was being lazy.
    I didn't learn until only the last few years, that I have a joint condition which means my body has to use more energy and work harder than the average person, just in performing the normal everyday activities. As a result, I often feel worn out after a long day of looking after the home.
    This condition was only discovered because I had pushed myself so hard in my job that I ended up causing serious issues to my shoulder resulting in a major operation to repair the damage.
    Obviously I know I must be careful in my daily activities to prevent further injury, and thankfully, I am now working only several hours a week helping my husband in his business; but as my 50th year approaches, I feel yet more changes afoot.
    It is very liberating to understand we women are designed differently for a reason, and as God does not make mistakes, I consider it a blessing to be respected. We were never meant to take on the weight of a man's work as well as our own.
    Lady Lydia has been an immense help to me in this area, as has yourself.
    What a blessing it is to realise that it really is ok to respect the differences in our bodies (physically and emotionally) and allow ourselves the freedom to rest when required.

  16. Women have their own strengths, they are just different from men, the biological fact which our society has been trying to ignore for quite some time. I think the pressure that many housewives feel, is that they feel the need to prove that they also contribute and aren't just freeloaders, so they sometimes pick up totally unnecessary activities for the sake of just doing something, whatever it is.

    When you look at books like Little House On The prairie series, it's true,women kept busy the whole day, but often with very quiet feminine occupations, such as sewing, quilting and knitting. They didn't even have to bring their children to school, or do shopping every day, and a one room house is easy to clean, especially if you have daughters who help.

  17. Housewife from FinlandMarch 21, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    And cleanliness standards were not as high as they are today. I mean they lived in a sort of a cave for a while and managed to keep it "tidy enough". And when you have less things, cleaning is so much easier. Food was also more simple than it is nowadays.

    People also used to sleep more before artificial light. Lamp oil was expensive, so they went to bed when sun went down.

  18. True that, and the children in those times helped a lot. They swept the floor, they took care of their own things, they helped take care of the youngest sister/s, and they were pretty much on their own at much earlier age than it is typical today.