Yes, believe it or not, I am grateful for the influence of television during my childhood.
1950’s – Father Knows Best (the name says it all)
1960’s – Bewitched, Leave it to Beaver
1970’s – The Brady Bunch, One Day at a Time
1980’s – Different Strokes, The Cosby Show
1990’s – Home Improvement
2000’s – Everybody Loves Raymond
Please feel free to quiz me on my mastery of T.V. trivia from the 70’s and 80’s - one of my few bragging rights due to the many hours I logged, sitting, watching and rotting in front of the boob tube.
In each of these television shows, Dad was the ultimate authority figure and decision maker - even when he was the funny guy.
This male dominant parenting dynamic felt a bit "off" to me as a kid and now I can say it actually began the dreaming process of how I would show up as an assertive mama for my kids.
Sometimes it SEEMED like the wife/mom was "the heavy" like in the case of Camille on the Cosby Show or what’s her name on Home Improvement or the buzz kill wife on Everybody Loves Raymond... the fact that I can’t even remember their names really speaks to how impactful these characters were to the show.
It can always be described by a good ol’ Brady Bunch episode in my book…so many references, so little time!
If you threw a ball in the house and broke a lamp for example, even though Mom warned you and you knew she would be upset, it was more about, “Just wait until your father gets home and hears about this.”
And then that reverberating phrase in your head would play over and over again, “Mom always says, don’t play ball in the house.”
But was anyone really listening to mom or was it truly about the fear of when Dad, the big gun, came home and found out about the shenanigans?
During the 1970’s the culture seemed to begin shifting probably due to the Feminist Movement.
My favorite show that was born during this era is of course, none other than MTM.
My love for all things Mary Tyler Moore is worthy of an entire blog all by itself. Let’s just say I actually had the theme song as my ring tone for a while but it kept bringing tears to my eyes. Weird, but true.
God, how I loved Free to Be You and Me. Do you remember that little Feminist media gem with Alan Alda, Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks? It is hilarious and so so good!
My kids don’t realize it but they could each probably recite every song during a hypnosis session since I secretly used that soundtrack to program their brains during the early years… but let’s keep that between us.
We moms have many hidden powers. We are literally the major influencers in our children's lives; shaping the next generation…kinda like mad scientists but with a slight baby barf aroma.
Who says we can’t decide to further our own agendas to make the world a better place by finagling a little subconscious programming during the early years?
Just a sprinkle of “William Wants a Doll” and a splash of the race of Atalanta against young John...sending our boys the message that they can be loving and nurturing and our girls can metaphorically outrun any boy if they choose. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuyRi2yWWSQ)
During the 70’s, the beginning of a cultural shift from a male dominated society to a gender neutral one began. I say “began” because as we know, we are still far from a society consisting of true equality between men and women.
Obviously, it’s baby steps, people.
Change is hard and as depicted in our VERY important educational T.V. sitcom history, it can take decades. Literally.
In the case of One Day at a Time or Everybody Loves Raymond where there was either a single mom in charge or Mom was the enforcer by default because the dad was basically a man child (Raymond), the mom characters are far from likable (except possibly by other women that can relate to her.)
I mean who liked Ann Romano? Even Shnyder, the janitor, stole the show and often took over when there were character defining moments for Barbara and Julie.
Yes, I know all the characters even in the "B" level shows. Punky Brewster. Family Ties. Silver Spoons.
Most of us can relate to this male dominant style of parenting as it seems to be entwined in traditional American culture. As women, the model for equality has generally been to behave more like men so we could hold our own and play with the big boys.
I think this might explain why today, instead of disciplining our kids with submissive phrases like, “Just wait until your father gets home”, many moms are secretly using more aggressive, traditionally “male” behaviors like yelling, insulting, comparing, and sometimes even resorting to physical methods.
I think moms feel more guilty about these behaviors than dads or at least it seems that way to me.
It goes against our maternal instincts and does not feel good for us or our kids.
So how DO we create the connected family we crave without resorting to threats, punishment and control resulting in yelling and power struggles?
What does 2016 look like when it comes to parenting if we retire the dominant methods of the past?
People, things are changing RIGHT NOW.
Women and men are meant to complement one another and to bring different strengths and gifts into the family dynamic. Our men need us to truly be their equals but not as “men wannabes”.
It is time for the mamas to fully own our role as badass, assertive, nurturing, feminine leaders - without yelling or fear tactics to scare our kiddos into submission.
Some of the more “woo” or spiritual folks refer to this dynamic as divine feminine energy and this type of leadership is becoming the new parenting paradigm.
I know change is scary. It is especially scary to insecure and/or power hungry people that will use bullying and scare tactics to keep things from changing. Any man that is truly secure in himself, embraces, welcomes and has the ultimate gratitude for divine feminine leadership.
There is an important shift happening right now. We can see it politically and in many other aspects of our society.
I am not a very political person but it seems that Hillary's approval ratings are rising as she has been portrayed in a more feminine way in the media...modeling divine female leadership.
I seriously feel it and believe that it will be as the Dalai Lama predicted, “Western women will heal our world.”
I believe he was talking about divine feminine energy and embracing that as mothers is a great place to start making a difference.
As moms, we are literally shaping the generation of tomorrow since the majority of the responsibilities involved in raising our kids falls on our shoulders.
I recommend a new action plan based on owning our feminine leadership skills unapologetically.
No more aggressive, punitive, fear based tactics when it comes to our kiddos - at least not on the mama's watch (which happens to be the majority of the time statistically).
It is unnecessary. It is unhealthy. It's feels mean and bad for all involved and leads to strong feelings of guilt.
Those feelings of guilt leave us asking the painful question, "Am I Screwing Up My Kids?" http://amiscrewingupmykids.com/
Let’s take action, seize the day and create the world we want for our children, grandchildren and beyond.
But where do we begin and what actions can we take as mothers to truly step into our feminine leadership role?
Parenting our children with a foundation of nurturing, connection and assertive communication rather than the old school style involving dominance, punishment and disconnection, we create powerful shifts in our world.
And we have a helluva lot more fun in the process.
If you are interested in learning my 6 Step Process to Stop Operating from Old Programming and Show Up As the Assertive FEMININE CEO of Your Family, I have just the thing for you.
I am happy to send over my latest cheat sheet spelling out practical tools to begin making this shift. Send me a message requesting it, and I’m happy to send that over to you as my gift.