Tuesday, August 09, 2011

An Accomplished Woman

With the end of a hectic summer coming and an even more hectic fall, I have been thinking during the last month or so about what it means to be accomplished. 

In a world that emphasizes almost demands specialization, the idea of a well-rounded person, especially woman is an idea that is almost lost. Girls are taught to do well in school, or sports, or the arts but no one values the girl who does fairly well in multiple disciplines. We honor the first place winner, the A student, the musical prodigy but society does not find a place for the girl or boy who is the B student, a fairly accomplished athlete or a "good" musician. Good is never good enough.

I have spent my life being good at a lot of different disciples. Not great, not stellar but good. I can bake and decorate a cake. Paint or wallpaper my home, sew any dress pattern and cook very well. I am a very good teacher, who can explain economics so the average student can understand this academic discipline but I cannot perform ground-breaking academic research to put me at the top of my field. I thoroughly understand politics, gardening, enough veterinary medicine to manage my dogs and how to groom them. I can run a household, clean my house and repair minor items in my home.

No do not mistake my list of skills as bragging because I would never brag. I have been to charm school. I do know what a lady should act like. I also know what fork to eat from at a fancy dinner or tea.

I also do not think I am special. I know many women that have multiple skill sets and are actually more fascinating than me. However,  those ladies will never be held up as fine examples of "womanhood". We, as a society, consider the accomplished woman as the woman who achieves her place at the top of her profession.
The athlete

The actress

The politician

All these ladies are fine women but I prefer to honor the women that are able to use their talents to raise children, keep their homes, bake and any other skill they use for their families or themselves, many of whom are some of my favorite bloggers.
Remember the movie with Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger, One True Thing. It is the story of Anna Quindlen coming home to take care of her dying mother. She derided her mother because she was not as accomplished as her professor father, a literary critic.

Until she spent time with her mother and her mother's ladies lunch clubs, etc, she thought her mother was a joke. Who cared how the Christmas tree was decorated ? Until Anna walked in her mother's shoes, she did not know how accomplished her mother was in the art of creating a family and home. She also found it difficult to fill her mother's shoes.
We don't honor the well-rounded! I am not saying women cannot also have a career, not at all, but as women, we should also remember, the average employee goes through three career changes.


  1. I believe the truly accomplished woman is one who embraces and loves who she is and is able to share that love for self to empower others to love themselves. Like you, i value creating home, doing what one can where one is whether it is in local organizations, one's home, or the world's stage...to possess and to embrace one's gifts and to develop one's skills for the best of self, family and community...that is the accomplished woman in my definition of her.

  2. nice post Cynthia...my Nana never wrote a book..finished school...or ran a marathon....but she did raise a family...keep a wonderful home....cook...bake...sew...
    volunteer......read...and was the most accomplished woman I have ever met....thank you for reminding me....

  3. Amen! Aren't most of us pretty average? I think so. Average and wonderful. I look around me at the women that I admire and none of them are famous or known in famous circles. The women I admire love and care for others. That can be accomplished in lots of ways from simple to highly skilled. When I was in college I wanted to set the world on fire and believed I would. First time I held my son...my priorities changed. :)


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