Feminism has a lot to answer for. The constant portrayal of men, in the media, in advertisements, as inept, unreliable and incompetent is designed to damage a woman’s view of the world. It gives women the impression that they are better at managing families – that the father of their children is a mere apendage. And if he gets too annoying, he can be easily removed (and financially emptied) by a lawyer.
So women really do run families – and of course this is very stressful, and prone to them making terrible mistakes, too! A woman’s judgement is not like a man’s. Two heads are better than one, we used to say. Not in the modern marriage. Women wear the trousers. This is the spirit of Jezebel.
One recent example of this is the plaintive story of one Shona Sibary. A woman who has written about her chaotic family life before. This time, she excelled herself. She decided, after a successful family holiday, to move her whole brood (husband and four children) to Devon. For those unfamiliar with Devon, it is very beautiful, and picturesque. It makes a great holiday destination.
“We were enjoying one last, blissful picnic on the beach. The kids were frolicking in the surf as the sun sank over the Saunton Sands horizon. I took a sip of rosé and thought wistfully: ‘I could live here.’
By the same time the next day, our car had joined the M5 heading north. But that thought had developed from an embryonic notion — which, let’s face it, we all have on the last night of a successful holiday — to a full-blown monster of a plan.
I presented the news to my husband, Keith, as we sat in a bottleneck, limping past Stonehenge. ‘We should move to Devon,’ I announced.
By the time we had arrived back at our house in Surrey, I had an entire West Country future mapped out. I could practically smell the sea air as I sank into bed, envisaging a simpler life enhanced by cream teas and crabbing.
What the hell, I ask you now, was I thinking? If anyone reading this feels even the tiniest inkling of recognition, then let what I am about to tell you act as the biggest cautionary tale ever to be winged your way.”
Are you getting the picture. My emphasis is on her decision. Where was her husband’s input? Hmmm. She goes on:
“Because moving to Devon did nothing short of tear my family apart. Today, I am back in the Home Counties — only without two of my four children. For so thoroughly did I despise country living that I felt I had no choice but to return to civilisation — even though it meant leaving my oldest daughters behind.”
She laments that her two eldest have made lives for themselves in Devon, and didn’t return with her when she fled from the “the mud and the rain — endless, relentless rain. And the wind.”
She goes on to tell us that there was no Waitrose (posh supermarket chain), no John Lewis (their parent company, which sells clothes, homewares etc.). She says the only place with big shops was an hour away.
“What’s so ironic today is that all the factors that drove our relocation to Devon became, when I didn’t have them any more, the very things I missed the most.”
I-I-I! Where was her husband in this? No, it’s all about Shona, and how Shona feels, and how awful this was… for Shona!
She goes on:
“It pains me to say it, but the Devon I adored on holiday wore me down when I lived there day to day. I wanted to love it — I really did. But I grew even to hate the sight of the sea, which, apart from about two days a year in the middle of August, was grey, uninviting and far too cold to enjoy. […]
But in the end, it just came down to an overwhelming sense of feeling exiled from the real world.
At first, I buried my feelings of anguish — after all, we had invested so much emotionally. We had bought a house. Keith and I planned to retire there.
But it got to the stage where I was so miserable that I didn’t even want to look out of the window and be reminded of our monumental mistake.
Then, while on a trip back to Surrey to see friends, it hit me that I felt happy for the first time in ages.
I called Keith, and suddenly found myself unable to stop weeping. Kind and supportive, he simply said: ‘Shona, let’s get the hell out of here. It’s not worth putting us through this.'”
Our monumental mistake. Note that. Of course, I-I-I while it’s being planned, but “our” when it goes wrong. So, with Keith’s support, her experiment came to an end. But wait. And this, for me, is the kicker. When Shona, who’s plan this had all been, told her kids they were moving back:
“The four of them looked at me in horror. Because while they had moaned endlessly when we first arrived, they had come out the other side. Unlike us, they had made a life in Devon.”
But Shona, being Shona, left anyway. Can you imagine doing that to a 16 year old who hasn’t even done their exams yet? Can you imagine, for one moment not putting that child and their future first, and waiting? I mean, after four years, what would another six months matter, or even a year! She continues:
“I recognise that leaving the girls behind in Devon is probably the most selfish thing I’ve ever done as a parent. But, hand on heart, I really felt I had no other choice.
And so here I am, back where we started with Monty and Dolly (who still isn’t speaking to me because she misses ‘home’).
Still, I’m heartbroken because we’ll never all live together as a family again.
The last years I’ll ever have with all my children together were ruined by that godforsaken place.”
Riiiiiiight. Yes, she had no other choice but to be selfish – you know, because she was unhappy, and it was indeed, DEVON that split up Shona’s family. Not her selfishness at all.
Jezebel is very busy in these times. I was pleased to see numerous comments on the article berrating the woman for her selfishness, but the sad part is that a lot of women (I’ve known a few) feel they must run the family – organise it, plan it, and make decisions for it. And women are terribly stressed by this. Simply loving and providing for a family isn’t enough. Men are, after all, useless – because like Ahab, they just allow themselves to be dragged along with their woman’s plans. Those of us who know the story of Jezebel know it didn’t end well.
But women have been sold Jezebel. Everywhere the Jezebel spirit is raised up and admired. From the screen ‘sirens’ of the 1940’s onwards – women have been sold an image of a woman as a successful manipulator of men, and men have been sold the idea that a difficult woman is worth the hard work and suffering. The word siren comes from Greek mythology – dangerous creatures who lured sailors to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their land. Hmmm. But I digress. The reality is, however, that men are rarely happy with controling women, and that a woman in charge rarely creates a happy home life, let alone sets a good example for the children. Women are rarely happy like this either – in fact their constant unhappiness and disatisfaction only leads to the kinds of flights of fancy we see here in Shona’s tale.
Men’s judgement is different to a woman’s – he sees things differently. He was designed, by God, to be the head of the family. I note that Shona’s husband, Keith, is now working far away in Dubai! Such a pity that he was not leaned on more – which strengthens a man – so that he could have made the decision, rather than her. Perhaps this is one lesson that Shona is learning.
Women, cherish and love and rely on your men.
(Please forgive the terrible formatting on this post – I don’t know why wordpress does this sometimes – it looked great in ‘edit’!)
God Bless you