Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason impart the secret men seem to have trouble grasping these days: A fulfilling sex life can be maintained throughout all stages of marriage if husbands empower their wives to fully inhabit their sacred role as mothers––and have faith in their wives’ mother wisdom above their own fears. Sex is like love––you have to give in order to get.
Anne: 00:01 Hey, Thea.
Thea: 00:02 Hey, Anne.
Anne: 00:03 All right, so we want to make this one a true quickie. We were a bit too meandering. We just recorded, and we’re going to just kind of recap what we were talking about and get to the heart of it and make it short. We talked, we were following on the conversations we’ve been having about men and women, relationships, the dynamic between men and women in microcosm as well as macrocosm in the larger, broader culture. And we identified the fact that one of the issues is expectations and, and managing expectations.
Thea: 00:47 And misunderstood
expectations and, sort of, uneducated expectations.
Anne: 00:56 And, you know, I had
opened it up by observing, sharing my observation about a couple we both know
who got married young but who were both brought up in the Catholic faith––and
were counseled. You know, I think the prerequisite to being married in the
church must be, I don’t know to go through counseling sessions with their
priest to talk some things out and establish some expectations and foundation
before they enter into it. And what I observed, what I’ve observed over the
years is that they have weathered some remarkable storms together and are still
healthy and happy. And it makes me lament the fact that we were not given that
kind of guidance before entering into relationships many failed relationships
in our past. And and, and it wasn’t just because we weren’t brought up in a
traditionally religious household, but I think it was a combination of that as
well as this, this culture of this feminist culture that we’ve been brought up
in where the differences between men and women are not emphasized. They’re not
brought to our awareness and consciousness so that we approach relationships
with that basic understanding. And I would say my, my younger earlier
relationships certainly went––I would attribute some of their failure to the
fact that really, I had no understanding of that. And my expectations were just
Thea: 03:01 Yeah.
Anne: 03:02 So it brought us to the
discussion about sex. And go ahead.
Thea: 03:10 And what’s and what’s
required or needed to flow between in a, within a relationship, in order for
sex to be able to be a constant through the many different stages of a family’s
life. Right? So go ahead and step in. I feel like I’m still forming what I,
what I have.
Anne: 03:35 Well you had said
something in that last conversation. It was, it was just basically, you know,
we, we both quite honestly want to have sex!
Thea: 03:45 Right. It may makes
everyone feel better and do everything better.
Anne: 03:50 Yes! There is so much to
gain from a healthy sex sexual relationship with, which requires real true
openness to be existing between two people. Right. Because it’s so when
there’s, when there was the free flowing channel that is not riddled with
resentment because my man is not functioning like my girlfriend would or
whatever. Then if it’s free and flowing then it can be great and more satisfying
and more frequent. Exactly. And just to not get too deeply into this, but we
talked a little bit about priorities, right? Prioritizing, putting priorities
in place in approaching the relationship. And we discussed what we’re really
talking about mainly is unions with children involved. Families. And once you
have entered into the contract of having children together, it becomes a
different beast, a different thing. Right? And really it seems to me that the
relationship itself has to be the top priority. That does not discount the
needs of the individuals in the relationship, but if the relationship is made
the priority, that gives one I think an ability to be a bit more objective, not
personalize things so much. Also very helpful to understand that we have very
different needs, very different ways of understanding each other, different
forms of communication. And more. And so if we can prioritize the relationship
and say, Hey, something’s not working here. Why is it not working? It’s not
working because I feel I’m not getting this or I need this or such and such and
such. Well, we can then establish whether or not the other person can help that
person get that or not. And obviously honesty in that is helpful.
Thea: 06:13 Which is, you know, self
knowing is a prerequisite for that too. And, you know, having compassion for
the different stages of life, we know as much as we know at different times. I
mean, so––struggle. That’s part of the learning. All of it.
Anne: 06:28 Absolutely. Obviously.
And, and even the, again, compassion for someone who’s very different than you.
Right. Right. And without even having to understand it, but just compassion for
it and respect for it. Right? And it brought us to the conversation that we
started having about couples that, that we know, I mean, relationships we’ve
been in, couples that we know, and more. But there seems to be a tendency, a
pattern I’ve noticed. So, I know many couples where the husband ahead of time
before they even have kids or maybe early on is very intent on…
Thea: 07:26 Securing couple time.
Anne: 07:31 Securing couple time. Making sure that they don’t lose what it was they had before the kids came. And that sometimes takes the form of getting an au pair when the baby is an infant or other forms of, of child care, pushing the kids into preschool very early. I live in a county, as I think you do where attachment parenting is a big thing and attachment parenting often, what goes along with that, is co-sleeping. I know so many couples where the husband has really insisted that the kids go sleep in their own bed before the kids, as you point out even, or the mother is really ready for that, where they don’t feel that’s time. And what that ends up creating––or, like date nights, right? Date nights. One couple I knew, the man, the husband would, insist on childcare for the woman who was not working to have three days a week where she went and had her “me time” away from the kids so that she was fresh and ready for him. Right? That obviously achieves the opposite. At least it’s obvious to us. I don’t know why it’s not obvious to the men. Because what that ends up doing is, it’s contriving a situation where the man is getting involved in affairs he knows not of. Which is mothering. And he is not also acknowledging the fact that the woman is in that mother, mothering phase. That is a stage, a phase of their lives that IS.
Thea: 09:22 And just to like spell it
plainly, if a man can recognize that and honor it with true respect and
reverence of the stages that the woman goes through in becoming a mother, then
that is going to be the thread that makes that woman want that man all the
Anne: 09:45 Blossom. It’s going to
also make that woman, help that woman blossom. Right? If he, if he can embrace
all that she is in those, in that phase as well.
Thea: 09:55 Rather than sort of what
I’m seeing is––that idea of creating a forced structure is a contracting force
which makes the channel of communication and love shrink and get smaller.
Anne: 10:13 And trust. Right?
Thea: 10:16 And trust. And yeah.
Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it also, I mean, can really be synthesized, I think into,
is it a true meeting? Because when that true capacity for meeting what is
happening in the moment, when that capacity is shut off by more structure than
is needed––I mean, we have work, we have all these other things that give us a
rhythm or structure in life, but when you have your love lovingness become
structured, there’s a plane going by. When that becomes so structured, it, it
limits and cuts off that the meeting that, that spark that happens in the real
addressing and fulfilling what’s coming up in the moments, what’s needed. That
woman will love you all the more if you as a man can say, “Oh, I see you
just, you know, you need me to do this laundry, maybe so that, you know, you
can go put the baby down for a nap.” Or whatever. Instead of it being,
“I want, I want, I want.”
Anne: 11:33 Yes, exactly. Exactly.
it’s, it’s still important for the man to express, to very clearly express what
his needs are, his physical needs or whatever. But it’s very important for him
to have some realistic expectation of the space she’s going to be in for
several years, really. And you know, if, if, if I could only like share, impart
the secret to men, for them to realize that if they would just really honor and
respect and support the woman in the way that you were talking about, which
is––look, traditional gender roles are here for a reason. Men as provider,
especially in the early years when the children need their mother there most of
the time if not all the time. Right? So that she doesn’t have to go off to work
and you know, that that is critical. And she’s going to devote her time and
help this child, you know, establish this strong foundation, right? From which
to launch. The more she’s allowed to do that, the more independent the child
becomes as they grow, as they should, and the more freedom that couple has to
start exploring another phase of their marriage and relationship. At the same
time, we discussed that the importance of the woman being willing and open and
communicative about the fact that, “Hey babe, I’m nursing. I’ve got, I’ve
got a kid on my boob all the time. I’m sleeping with them. I don’t have a whole
lot of inner drive to share more of myself physically, but I will because
that’s part of our contract actually here too. And if you’re good with
quickies, we can do a whole lot of ’em. You know, let’s, let’s, let’s take a
few minutes here. Let’s take a few minutes there.”
Anne: 13:40 But I’m seeing a
tendency, with women who have tried that with their men in those early years,
for the men to be so disappointed that the woman is not fully present or
Thea: 13:56 Which then creates the
opposite habit or pattern between that channel of connection. It creates
resentment, it creates, well, what’s the point then? I’m not even going to try
to open up that much, because that’s not enough.
Anne: 14:11 Exactly! If she’s going
to disappoint him every time, why should she even try? Right? And so then it
just, it’s this snowballing effect, right? And then he pushes more and she
resists more, and…
Thea: 14:24 Then it’s 20 years later
and they get divorced.
Anne: 14:27 Yep. Yep. Right.
Thea: 14:29 So quickies are good.
Everyone’s happier if you’re having those connections. If, if people can set
down an idea, a rigid idea of an expectation and meet what is so that what can
be born of that can be nourishing and satisfying to both people.
Anne: 14:51 Exactly! Yes. So let’s
manage expectations. Let’s go back to the meeting table. And, and lay it out.
Right? And then see how best, given the capacity of both people involved, how
best we can keep this union going through each phase, healthily and happily.
Thea: 15:19 And change with it. Happy
and healthy. Totally.
Anne: 15:22 And flow, flow with it,
right? Flow with it and have faith that it will move through one phase into the
next. Right? And it’s all part of the process of relationship. Right? Growing
Thea: 15:41 There it is. Thanks Anne.
Take care. Bye.
Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason continue their discussion about men, women and relationships, male and female archetypes, and sex as a relationship indicator signal––asking the question: Has feminism made us happier?
Anne: 00:06 So we’re both outside
today for a variety of reasons and houses, houses full of kids and people. So
we, we talked about wanting to just start exploring–– I kind of like the way
you put it. I’d almost like you to open this up.
Thea: 00:27 Sure. we were sort of
going off of our last conversation where we were speaking about men and women
and the dynamics and roles. And I was just remarking that, you know, I wanted
to acknowledge that everything that we’re saying and all that we’re bringing to
this comes from our own experiences of life, our reflections and us waking up
and piercing through the, the veil of false beliefs that we had digested and
consumed from our culture, from society about what it is to be a woman what it
is to be in relationship with a man. And I think that goes where we’re going,
Anne: 01:13 Yes, yes, yes. And it was
important for me when you highlighted that, that we talk about that because
it’s, it’s just a process and a journey. I mean, not to get cliche, but this is
just all a process of discovery and examination. And that’s part of what this
dialogue is, right?
Thea: 01:41 Looking towards, you
know, understanding ourselves our life up to this point, our life from this
point forward to be able to move forward with more mindfulness, with real
clarity about our choices and the ways in which we choose to act and the roles
that we wish to inhabit. You know, with the real clarity of mind about it.
Anne: 02:07 Yes. as well as
identifying some things that help us, help guide us, help, help guide us in
teaching our children and helping our children understand the world and
understand relationships and understand each other.
Thea: 02:28 Yeah. I think if I can
just jump in with that, you know, I, it’s been extremely heightened for me
because I have three sons to raise into the world, and I think that has woken
me up to so many of the imbalances and false ideas that I was raised with. Uin
terms of looking ahead for my sons and what kind of world that they’re stepping
into, what kind of world they’re looking for a mate in and what kind of mate
they would be looking for.
Anne: 03:04 As well as, if I can
interrupt, based on another conversation we’ve had off-camera, as well as our
responsibility in shaping the world that they’re coming into. Right? And our
responsibility as women to help direct that. Right? And part of what sparked
this idea for this conversation was something I had shared to you, which I had
also posted in a comments, maybe about our last conversation about men and
women. And the title of that one–– “Let men shine.” Right? And much
of the crux of it, I felt was allowing men to be men, women to be women, not
expecting them to be other than they are. And to recognize and acknowledge the
strength in that, the beauty and strength in that rather than the lacking––that
the man doesn’t have enough of the woman in him or the woman doesn’t have
enough of the man. And I had reflected on, it’s funny what, whatever that blue
jay, is it a blue jay? A crow?
Thea: 04:30 Yeah, there’s crows.
There’s a bit of a battle with the parrots up in the tree up here.
Anne: 04:33 With the parrots, right.
Yeah. Tough life here in California. I was reflecting on the fact that I now
realize that when I was a kid and growing up as the young woman, just even in
listening to, reading stories, learning about days of old when men and women
were it was much more accepted, I suppose for want of a better word for women
and men to inhabit traditional roles and to approach an understanding of each
other through an acknowledgement of those traditional roles that we each
Anne: 05:26 And I remember kind of
feeling as if––and I, and I think because of the culture I was growing up in
and the way I was being taught by a feminist, feminist parents really––was
that, to kind of throw that out, to disregard that, that that was kind of an
archaic way of looking at things, a limited, archaic way of looking at things
almost. You know, stories where a woman is being taught the art of being a
woman by her mother. Being taught that men are like this and men need this and
this is how you can help the man come to understand this, etc. Etc. Without
directness kind of, you know a kind of subtle way of guiding.
Thea: 06:23 I would say, maybe, not,
not using the word “without directness,” but with an appreciation for
that which the man is and that which the man provides and for the acceptance of
it. So it’s able to be subtle without it being sticky, right?
Anne: 06:45 Yes. Or Yes. Heavy
handed. Because, so that we can still dance with each other, acknowledging
these differences, but not throwing it in each other’s faces because that kind
of ruins the mystery of it. Right?
Thea: 07:02 Mmhm. So, I was just
thinking that this is sort of the, what we had touched upon when we were
discussing this beforehand that it’s like we’re in a world where nobody’s happy
in the role that they’re allowed to be in. And there’s this sort of constant,
seeming battle in, in the broader culture of the way women feel men are or
should be or aren’t, or the way that they’re not allowing a woman to be
recognized or given due credit for. Or, you know, I’m being a little bit too
vague, but, but because, because of this, what, what, what the impulse of
feminism, like there was a need for women to be able to step out of being
locked into a particular role for sure.
Anne: 08:02 Or being suppressed,
right. You know, supressed.
Thea: 08:05 Not acknowledge or, you
know, not glorified, not being recognized. You know, and appreciated properly.
Maybe. I’m not sure, but it seems like everything got thrown out instead of
finding––how can I be then appreciated and loved and cherished, I mean
cherished. How can we cherish one another for the work that we do because we do
different work, and we can’t do the same because what’s happening right is, is
in this world where we’re, it’s like everything’s about trying to do the same
work. For a man to show “I can mother just as well as a mother” or a
mother to be just as much of a father and no one’s really pleased, it seems. Is
anyone more happy with this sort of throwing out the archetypes? You know? I
guess what I would try to say is it seems to be, we need to be able to
recognize it’s an archetype. That it’s not something you’re limited by. We’re not
only that. But that is one in which as a woman I can inhabit when I’m with the
man. When I’m not with the man, I don’t get to only be that archetype, I have
to do this, this, this and this and vice versa. But it’s, so it’s like, instead
of throwing out the archetype entirely, let’s just recognize we don’t have to
be stuck in one. Yes. But we can be in one and it can be beautiful and freeing
and make us all happier if we’re meeting each other in that archetypal way.
Anne: 09:46 Yes. We all in different
capacities throughout our lives inhabit different roles. Just even from the
more basic perspective of looking at children. We’ve talked a lot about this
and, and the different pedagogies and and, and why it’s important for children
to spend time with youngers and olders so that they can inhabit more than one
role. Right? They can be the older and the teacher. They can also be the
younger and the not knowing and the learner and that humbles them a bit.
Thea: 10:21 And makes them secure,
also being able to be secure when you’re able to be in different roles and be
held by those in the other roles.
Anne: 10:31 Yes. Right, right. And,
and so by the same token, if we can make it more okay to inhabit the archetype
of man and woman while we are in that relationship, that keeps things, um to me
it seems like it’s…I mean, we’ve worked through this for thousands and
thousands and thousands of years. Like let’s not throw the baby out with the
bath water, right? We’ve established some wonderful dynamics and a dance and a
rhythm that works pretty well. A distribution of labor, if you will, you know,
in the world. And that does not mean that when we are not inhabiting, that does
not mean that when we’re not in that dynamic that we can’t also take on, step
in, step in for each other. Right? And experience that, exercise, that and add
another string to our bow. Right? So yeah, that’s where I see the issue and,
and where, where are we on time?
Thea: 12:01 We’re good. We’ve got
another 10 minutes. So I’m not sure what we’ve said yet all the way. We’ve kind
of laid a broad groundwork. But I guess the question that comes out of this,
this dialogue really that I, I’ve been thinking about is, are we happier? Are
people happier? Are marriages better? Are relationships better? Are, you know,
are families healthier and happier? Are kids healthier and happier with this,
with this movement that we have been in the last 40 years, you know, 50? What
year is it? Um you know, what’s the outcome? Where have we gotten to? And from
my limited perspective, which I grant is limited, I see that often,
relationships fail. Often, there’s this, this struggle that isn’t able to be
resolved and worked with. And then, you know, when looking at marriages, it
takes a whole lot of courage and commitment for people to really make something
continually work and grow and change with the continuous growth and change of
each individual. Most often what I’m witnessing is a bitterness after 20 years.
Anne: 13:30 A resentment I’m seeing
that we witnessed in our parent’s marriage. Right? as far more resentment than
gratitude. And you and I have had the experience really throughout you know, we
both, we lost our parents quite some time ago. And so that’s given us an
opportunity to have perspective and reflect in a way that one doesn’t have,
when the parents are still around and still in that dynamic. And we recognize
really what an amazing we had. And yet their marriage was so riddled with
strife and resentment. There was a lot of resentment on Mom’s part toward Dad.
And, and so we’ve talked a little bit about this and so many friends I know
and, and past relationships I’ve had too, right? I mean, I’m almost 50 years
old, right? It’s taken me this long to even be able to articulate what we’ve
just talked about, about: Wait a minute! Traditional roles, men and women’s
traditional roles, there’s some merit to this and, and a relationship, I don’t
care how you cut it, does not work with blame and resentments at the heart of
it. And it takes two, absolutely two, and and they, they do need to support
each other, respect each other, support each other. And want the best for each
other. Right? because without that, I know Jordan Peterson has articulated this
and many others, but it’s so obvious! Without both people being lifted up, the
whole union falls apart and it gets no one anywhere.
Thea: 15:33 And it may fall apart
really slowly ,like a slow demise. And the thing that I think I mean just on
that, and then I have this other thought I want to go back to is, you know, and
if there are children in that relationship, that are out of that union and the
demise is slow and steady and unspoken, that for me, I feel like––of course
from my own experience as a child in our family and then my own situation for
my children––that’s what they’re ingesting, of how relationship is. And you
know, if we want to free our children to, to cultivate something more positive
and true, we have to have the courage to name our problems, to name our
responsibility within those problems.
Thea: 16:38 And that just leads me
to––in a marriage, in a relationship, if you’re not having sex, then there’s a
problem. And that is like a major signal, right? And it doesn’t mean if you’re
having sex, everything’s good either. But if you’re not having sex, then there
is a big channel of communication that is not happening, which is what makes
you be in a relationship as with a mate, you know? And if that’s not there, it
takes courage and honesty to go there and discover why is it? You know, when I
think about our dad, as great as he was, there was obviously something missing
in the way he was seeing our mom and the way she was able to see him so they
could reflect back to each other what was beautiful, which would make them want
to be in union. Right? Because we want to be, you know, we want to be getting
Anne: 17:36 Yes, yes. I think that is
Thea: 17:40 Get it? It’s a key.
Anne: 17:46 Well, no, I mean, and,
and so, and now what are we, I still, because my eyes are so bad, I can’t see
how much more time?
Thea: 17:52 We have five more
Anne: 17:52 Okay. So just, just to
start with this will––this will be continued later. But yes. It’s a big issue.
It’s a big issue. We, we, you know, so many friends, so many, so many couples
in really miserable situations and the sex, making love, that physical
connection, it does reflect on the health of the relationship. It’s also the
biggest signal to say stop, take a look at each other and have a very open and
honest conversation. Because you cannot keep going on like that and allowing
this chasm to get wider and wider. It’s not gonna move toward anything healthy
that I can imagine in a marriage. And so you have to figure out why that is.
You have to ask for what you need, I suppose, but you have to also equally, if
not more, respect what it is that other person is also able and willing in that
moment to give. And figure out then how to make it work between those two.
Thea: 19:34 And how to really truly
appreciate that which is given, right? That, which is offered and that––but
this is such a huge conversation and subject matter really. But in thinking of
families and parents, my goodness, you know, when, when children are young,
it’s like near impossible to, to have as a, as a mother, you don’t have much force
for being sexual when they’re young, right? You’re, you’re kind of maxed out.
Anne: 20:06 You don’t have a lot of
extra. It’s true. And so you may not be able to be as present as, as you might
have been earlier or later.
Thea: 20:18 Or later. And the thing I
guess I wanted to say with that is, you know, that’s a part where it makes me
think that so much of what we’re, we’ve been fed through media in various forms
has altered people’s real ability to meet what is before them. You know, life
is not a 30 minute sitcom.
Anne: 20:42 Nor is it a a porn flick.
Thea: 20:47 Right. And so it’s like,
it’s not going to be neatly wrapped up in one, one idea or another. And if we
can in relationship be true enough with ourselves to meet the person in front
of us, which means we cannot be caught in our own ideas of what reality is
supposed to be. Right? So if we can meet what’s really there, then real
relationship can happen. And real relating can happen. I like the term and I
know it’s not one, but “relationing.” Like it’s a little bit outside
of relating and it’s not relationship, but it is the practice of being in
relationship to the relationship itself.
Anne: 21:34 Being in relationship to
the relationship itself. Yes. But I think I also get from it: Relationing.
Really, it is relating. Yes. But it is meeting each other, seeing each other as
clearly as we can. I mean, yeah, we’ve got lots of filters that we have to work
through, but as clearly as we can and accept––after we establish that each
person actually wants to be there––to then accept what it is each one is able
to bring to it and be grateful for that. Yeah. And work together to figure out how
it then can form the relate the, the, the relationing, right? So yeah, I mean I
think we can end it there right. For now. And, and keep working with this,
because men and women both need to work on that. Right? yeah. We need to work
on getting through those oftentimes where we’re, we’re not quite in the same…
Thea: 23:01 Groove?
Anne: 23:01 Same groove. But both
parties are willing to still meet there despite how they’re feeling or that one
doesn’t feel that they’re getting as much from the other as they want, but
they’re still willing to do it because they care so much about the relationship
and each other. Then the focus on being grateful for what that is rather than
focusing on what it is not, will eventually get us to those glorious moments
when we meet perfectly and synchronously and harmoniously. And I think that the
more we do that and establish trust with each other, the more frequent those
moments occur. Yeah. Because it is true relationing then.
Thea: 23:55 Truly beautiful. I know.
There’s so much more to say, but this was wonderful for a quick one, touch-in.
Anne: 24:03 Yeah. Another, another
quick one. Okay. All right. What’d you say?
Thea: 24:08 A quickie if you will.
Anne: 24:14 A quickie. There are many
kinds of quickies, and here is hopefully one of them. Hang on a sec and I’ll
Following on an article I wrote a while back calledFeminism Got it Wrong, my sister Thea Mason and I examine and discuss the roles of women and men, parenting, children, Feminism’s impact on the fabric of society––and family camping and playing games as prescriptions for necessary healing.
Thea and I, my sister Thea and I, Anne, are going to start an experiment and
start recording our conversations that we would otherwise have anyway. We find
that we have been seeking some understanding as we examine what’s going on in
the culture. Thea is a teacher in the Waldorf school in, in, in the Wa, in the
private Waldorf schools. And I’m a homeschooling. Uh. Waldorf inspired
homeschooling mother. Uh, we both had different experiences in our lives, which
have led us to this point and we come at things differently, but find a lot of
common, uh, perceptions about, I think the problem…
State of things that we see.
Yeah. The state of things.
Fellow women in families… In what we observe in our little windows into the
culture in the world.
Yeah. And into…and the children. Right. Who are coming up to, you know, take
And very challenging times that they’re coming into.
Yeah! And the challenging times, uh, includes, uh, w w well, the, the, my own
issues, my own lament is, is seeing children all around me…
Suffering, and, and, and parents flailing.
Parents are suffering, too.
And, and parents…Thea…Let’s establish this right now. I think Thea is more
compassionate in the lens she brings to this and I, I am not, probably just as
a person in general.
Well you’re the eldest and I’m the third of four daughters. So there are
different roles. We’ve played our whole lives that we continue to work with. I
Exactly. Exactly. So it’s nice that we have each other to balance it out.
It sure is.
And, and so, you know, just just to, to bring it down to kind of more
practical, material, uh, language. You know, children are medicated, uh, to
high heaven. Parents are medicated. Children are addicted to video games.
Social media. Children are diagnosed with every disorder under the sun.
And diseases. And women and men, mothers and fathers seem to be at a loss. I
see… I live in..I live in a pretty wealthy county as, as do you in, in
California. And I see people spending a load of money and giving that money to
experts to help them figure out what’s going on with their kid and to help them
get their kids back on track.
I would say also in here, just in terms of that picture of parents
struggling…suffering…there is a sense that they are disempowered to be the masters
of their family, to be the shepherds of their children. And um, I think one of
the things that we synthesized out of our last discussion that we shared––which
we wanted to share but was so vast and varied that we’re working to bring it a
little bit more to the point––is, you know, we hear a lot of this notion
through the feminist movement and really through, I would say all movements of
people right now, is this idea of being empowered. Empowered to choose your
life, to choose your path, for your children to choose their path. And…I don’t
know if I’m jumping the gun here, but this idea of: what does that mean? What
does it mean to be empowered? Because what you’re laying out is this picture of
a lot of people who are not empowered, a lot of people who are at the whim of
the current science, at the whim of the current trends and disorders. And how
do you function with your children or yourself when you’re not really in
charge? I don’t know.
Absolutely. And to kind of circle back to even how we got to this. You know, I
wrote an article a couple of years ago or whatever, or a year ago, whatever,
where I said feminism got it wrong. Because I had begun becoming very
disenchanted with, uh, with, with this movement that is…It was around the time
of the, the pussy hats and the march and, and I felt like it was misguided. I
felt that it was, uh, yeah, I felt it was misguided. And, and I started, you
know, thinking a lot about, and, uh, reading a lot about…reflecting on my own
experience in, in college, in, in taking women’s studies courses, learning
about feminism and, you know, reflecting on the fact that I, I think that it’s,
there’s an overemphasis on women outside the home, women as individuals where
I, as I had identified in that article, I had identified that, you know, first
and foremost, I think women’s role is to be mothers. I mean, otherwise humanity
doesn’t keep going. Right? That’s, that’s our main, that’s the main thing. It
doesn’t mean that needs to be a mother. Right? And not everyone will be. And we
all bring in a different aspect of mothering, uh, and, and the female to
mothering society, whether or not we are actually giving birth to children. But
by and large, that is our role. And, and, and I to had also, uh, articulated
that I believe women, women are the stewards of humanity. Since we are the
mothers and we are the primary guides, uh––not to take away from the critical
and equal significance of the father––but we are the nurturers. We bring in,
uh, or, or rather, let’s just say together we bring in the life, we bring in
the children and, but, but we deliver them into the world. And from the early,
their early ages, we prepare them, we care for them. We, we transition them
into the earth, into this earthly realm.
Earthly existence…and what do we do here with them, and how do they become? And
how do they harness the power to meet the tasks? Of life. Right?
Something you said, what did it just trigger? Darn it. Women…
Well, well, I, had also said, you know, pointed out that, you know, of, of
equal incredible, monumental significance is the role of the father.
And we as mothers have experienced, uh, what becomes obvious to parents, which
is that the early years that the child requires that nurture. As the child gets
older, it requires much more of the father’s kind of, you know,.
role. And dynamic.
You know, the father brings the worldly in, right? And brings the worldly
regard for that child as the child starts to be…to separate from the mother and
to find his own, his or her own individuality. So, all right. So I’ll, I’ll
stop there and return to what you were talking about, which is…
So let me, let me interrupt real quick. So in talking about, you did mention
what you had written a few years ago about feminism got It wrong. And I think
one of the main points that you had made in that well-written article was that
there’s been a devaluing of the work of the mother and that, that I think is
where, if I’m not incorrect, that’s like the point, the main point of how
feminism got it wrong. Because that, and I’ve spoken about this with you in
terms of me as a mother and the provider, it’s like how did that, what did I gain?
What did I gain by being able to do all of that, you know, and, and having to
spread myself so thin because I would love to be the homemaker, the mother, to
work in the domain… I like that work. And I know not everyone does. So it’s, so
that’s in terms of what did feminism get wrong? What did we really gain? You
know, that now we’re expected to, even in two parent homes, you’ve got fathers
and mothers both working outside the home. And you know, anyone that knows
about cooking real food, that’s like a full time job just to maintain feeding a
family. I mean, that takes thinking, planning, prepping. So it’s like we’ve
been robbed of all these faces to process and nurture because of time, right?
So, so then, so then through that devaluing of motherhood and fatherhood
essentially, I mean, they’re both, you know, they both are. And now they’re
really mixed up and there’s a lack of clarity and, uh, help me out here because
from that, that devaluing, we are less empowered to be who we are and to do the
work we’re here to do. Is what I’ve been sitting with and thinking about.
Yes, yes, yes. Uh, so in a way it’s like, so if the feminist movement,
originally was born out of an impulse to shine light on the the value of the
woman to society, what, what seems to have happened instead is it has discarded
a critical core spirit of what a woman is and what a woman can bring to the
And what a woman does differently than a man, and what a man does differently
than a woman. And feminism has been all about, “women can do what men do.” I
personally don’t care to do that. Right? Like there are moments that women take
the lead or are in charge. And both of us are pretty strong willed, fiery
women, but I don’t see the world in the way a man does. I don’t look at things
in the same way. So why are women trying to function like men?
Right. Right. Um, I mean, I, I think I, I articulated this in the article too,
but just you know, I, uh, that occurred to me a long, long time ago that this,
this, you know, this striving to, uh, compete in a man’s world just by its very
nature implies that the woman’s world is…
Less important. Right So that first part is what I feel got got screwed up. Um,
I also, I had mentioned this before, but I had seen Ann Coulter’s, an interview
with Ann Coulter where she, she said something that kind of startled me into an
awareness that the suffragette movement may not have even gotten it right.
Again, I understand. Because, because possibilities for women, were limited for
one reason or another. I don’t know. I don’t know why that happened. Um,
because let’s, let’s, let’s be real here. I mean, women have sex, right? I
mean, and men want to have sex, right? So I don’t understand. You know, there
is a power in that. And speaking of…pause for one second, hold on. Yeah,
exactly right. Well, all right, I guess I may not even go there.
Right. That’s okay.
But basically, you know, women and men need each other, right? Men have certain
needs and women have certain needs, and there is an arrangement there. Marriage
is the arrangement that is made. Women give men what they need, which is sex,
um, nurturing love. Uh, they can, they can keep the home, they can, uh, advise
Okay, so are you, we’ll wait until it’s not. You there? Oh, it says Theodora
Mason, by the way.
It does. It was frozen for a minute.
I know. I stopped. I just stopped. So you were too. Okay. So, yes. So I don’t
understand how it went wrong. I don’t understand how men, uh, abused their…
Yeah. And so because they did, women had to do something, uh, to right it. And
it doesn’t feel as if it has gotten righted because it feels as if they’ve
thrown the baby out with the bath water.
I would agree. And it seems, though, what we did also touch in on a little bit
is that there is sometimes when, when there’s an impulse, it’s needed. To
stretch the fabric, a little bit, of how we function and, and are in the world.
And without the stretching and walking out the door and looking around at the
world, the view stays so small if it’s locked in. So in terms of how… It’s like
it had an impulse and it’s now gone astray. It’s sort of lost, its, uh, its
place of being. And, and now it’s about how can it take what it’s learned
through this journey and bring more intelligence and true empowerment to the
roles in which women inhabit, whatever those are––you know, main ones being
mothering, motherhood, family and caring for our young. Because we can see in
our country at least there is a deep issue and imbalance in the way young
people are growing up. So how do we take that learning and what do we do with
Well, let’s, can we, can we, uh, touch on briefly––what is the learning, what
is the learning been? What have we gained through this experiment of feminism
and what have we gained from, uh, giving women, uh, ample opportunity to step
outside their traditional roles in the home and get out into the world, the workforce
and the world, politics, government. All that. What have they, what have they
gained? You know, I might, I’ll, um, echo what I have talked to other women
about in the past. Um, we as, as homeschoolers, we have, you know, we have a
homeschool community and there are some very young women in this community as
well. There’s also a lot of us older ones who are, I’m almost 49 years old.
Right. I guess I understand what happens often, these days is that women wait.
They go get educated, they go have a career of some sort and then when the, the
clock starts ticking, they have children. That’s what I did. So a lot of us are
older and we have had the experience in the world in various professions. Some
of these younger women are being brought up. Uh, I, I’m thinking of one in
particular, uh, who went to law school to be a lawyer. Um, but she and her
husband started, uh, while she was in law school––they were both in law
school––to have children. And I see her trying to do it all. She’s not working
as a lawyer, but she’s, she’s using her degree in a number of very valuable
ways in the world. But I also see that it’s a lot, right? And I say to her and
I say to many, and I think I’ve said even to you like, you know what? The most
valuable, the most by far the most rewarding work I have ever done is
parenting, is homeschooling my kids. Is getting even back back in touch with I
think something that maybe we never even had. Us growing up with the two
working parent family, um, having order in my home, my home is not chaotic and
filthy––sometimes it gets messy––like you said, cooking, uh, uh, doing hand
work, ah, having a rhythm of a, a not a hectic pace. All of these things have
been, have felt so healthy. And parenting and homeschooling is beyond language
in terms of how fulfilling that is. Right? So, I bring this up to suggest that
the one, the main thing I think I’ve learned is that I am so grateful for this
opportunity to be a mother, to bring these children into the world, to be a
part of their experience and to understand my own experience simply by
witnessing their unfolding. And beyond and beyond and beyond. Right? But at the
same time, maybe because of my experience and my career before that perhaps I
have that confidence, to, uh, uh, to inhabit whatever realm I find myself in. I
think. Perhaps I have the experience––I mean, as you know, I’ve, I got involved
in, uh, a lot in, in Sacramento and basically fighting a lot of legislation.
Year after year. Perhaps my experience, my career, has, uh, assisted me in doing
that ’cause I’m going there and advocating on behalf of our, of the families
and the children. Right? So! I mean, how about you and, and let’s talk about
how you’ve done it differently.
Yeah, right. I came at it, at the opposite angle. Um, I think uh, I mean, help
me articulate it. I, you know, I, I came into adulthood becoming a parent. So
I’ve been a parent for almost 20 years, you know, basically 20 years now. Um,
and, and so that’s informed every part of me becoming a real adult. Um, and I,
and I didn’t do a career. I didn’t go through the same cycle in that way. So
I’ve found my voice in a different way though, in our reflection and sharing
too. It’s like my voice was always there, uh, in a sense. And I always sort of,
had a gut instinct that I’ve listened to, certainly regarding my children. Um,
and, and so, you know, I know I’m not…
No, no, let me jump in. Let me, because for anybody listening to this, it’s
like, so Thea had her first child at 23. Right? You were 23, weren’t you? And I
actually, I’m six years older than Thea, but I, I used…You were my model
actually, thank God. Right? And, and it took, you know, I was, uh, not going as
much with my instincts, I think in general as you did, you knew inherently to
do. I kind of, I wonder if it’s because it got educated out of me, it or it
got, you know, even through or through the experience of just being out there
in the, in the world and having to play that game. Right.
So I would suggest, and we’ve talked about this before, but like you just
articulated, I mean, I don’t really think you grow up. I mean, you can grow up
without having children, but it is a, um, baptism by fire into the world of
adulthood. Right? At least if you’re doing it, even semi-consciously. So you
have always been an adult. I don’t think I really was an adult, uh, until I
went through the first few years of the trials and challenges and decisions and
responsibility of parenting. Right? So, you know.
Well, it’s curious that what it sparks in me, just even that reflection on your
becoming a mother. My becoming a mother makes me think of our mother and our
parents. Both. I would’ve called them feminists, you know, growing up. And I
would say our mother was a different person in a large degree when she had me
and brought me into the world than she was when she had you. She was much more
empowered into herself, to a large degree. Through, you know, to, to, to in
many regards. Um, and was beginning to trust her instinct a bit more. And I
don’t know what those early years were like for our parents, you know, thinking
people, but still very mainstream American people in a lot of regards in terms
of family life. And, and um, through their trials and uh, struggles. They
became something more unique in that time through dealing with our sister who
was ill. So, so just in that, what that brings me to is just that when we’re
talking about the role of the mother, it’s who you are, that that sets up your
children for whatever their cycle, their ways of being, their ways of
interacting and understanding themselves in the world. Um, and that’s a huge
responsibility for parents, for women, for men. And we’re specifically speaking
about women ’cause that’s what we are, you know. Um, so it’s kind of like,
“Have courage, Women, for, for listening to your own self and discovering what
that is and what that’s speaking because who knows better for our children than
the parents, than the mothers? Than the people that have shepherded them into
the world?” And when we look at the issues that we’re facing, I keep coming to
our word “empowered” for today. It’s like, if each person truly were empowered
to listen to themselves and to listen to their child and to listen to the rhythm
of their life, that’s where change can happen.
Yes, I’d agree. And what I keep having going through my head is…and I just
realized, you mainly, your first many, many years of parenting chose work that
you could, that worked around your children.
Yes. Well that was the thing I knew and though my child’s father and I don’t
see eye to eye on a lot of things, we didn’t want to um, out…farm out at my
kids. I, it made, you know, we were, we were not wealthy and it never really
made sense to put my child in childcare. Who’s going to care for my child
better than me? I mean, and that was just like a basic.
And that I feel like that’s, that’s somewhat at the crux of this whole thing
here too. I mean that is a basic! No one is going to care for your child like
you. Right? So..
Especially let’s, I want to be specific about my own thinking there too.
Especially the infant. You know, if I had grandma, grandpa, Auntie, uncle, I
didn’t have that as a, as a young mother at all. I built community of people. I
could depend on what I needed, but in those early, very, very early years, I
can’t imagine. I can’t, I mean, and, and I, we made sacrifices that I didn’t
consider really sacrifices to not put my kid in some system like that. Um, but
as they get older, I mean, there’s that picture of the village, you know, it
takes a village because you being an Auntie and, and good friends that are
aunties and uncles to my kids, my kids need more than just me as an archetype.
And just their father as an archetype, they need other people so they can round
themselves out, you know, I think, and so however we build that community, and
that’s sort of what I think that’s the natural impulse of what school would be.
But our schools don’t work like that. Right. They don’t become part of the
village. That’s its separate entity for the most part. Waldorf schools, a small
Waldorf school does. It does take on this sense of a village. Um, yeah. It can
ideally, um, depending on how it’s held. So I know I’m…
No, it’s good! No, it’s all ’cause, this is important to…It’s all very
important to recognize and, okay. So let’s recap. We see that there are some
systemic problems. Uh, in the fabric of our society. School shootings have become
a regular thing.
Medication, mental health medication for young children, teenagers, adults.
That’s the norm.
Yes. That, that alone is a problem. Right? Um, so, so we need to fix it. I
don’t think that this third, third wave feminism, I do not think that it’s,
it’s serving us. What I see is, uh, is us moving away from the problems and the
wholeness and the unity and becoming more and more segmented and shrill and
divided and hateful. And we, we have and, and we, we can, we can flesh this out
in another conversation, but we’ve, you identified the fact that, you know, for
the woman to aspire to the archetype of woman, in, in, the archetypes full
glory, she needs the man to be aspiring to the archetype of the man in his full
glory. And feminism has been trying to do something in isolation, for some time
and now almost in a combatant manner.
Right. I find this Me Too movement, um, whacked.
It does not in any way suggest that, um, that, you know, abuse of one’s role or
abuse of power is in any way, something I would condone. But I, I think that we
are…movements like Me Too. And, and now…I frankly think the pussy hat march and
this, what I find a kooky railing against president Trump, by virtue of him
being a white man, it’s, it’s, it’s just driving us further away from what our
strengths are, and our roles are. And it is…
And what is…would bring health and happiness. And that’s, that there is a
togetherness that breeds happiness and health.
And we’re not victims. We are participants.
So here’s where I want to go from the Me Too. When this whole thing, which you
know, you’ve already qualified. It’s, “I AM” and “WE ARE” instead of Me Too to
Yes. I want to, I want to just put some clarity on it for anybody listening
’cause no one else has been involved in our conversations. But Thea came up
with this brilliant idea to, you know, when we were seeing what was happening
with this Me Too movement and the witch hunting that it started to become, and
also in fact, you know, I won’t, I won’t go into it too deeply, but to a start,
uh, accusing men, uh, of…Instead of dealing with what I think were substantial
situations in cases of men in power abusing their power and really
disrespecting themselves and women, I think it started turning into, uh, it,
um, it diminished the severity of the real situations where, and now men are
afraid to even have interviews. Interview a woman alone in an office, always
has to have a witness so that she doesn’t…
Accuse him of sexual harassment or something else. I mean, I know so many good
men who have, who have been a victim of this.
Yes, me too.
And it’s, you know, it devalues the moments where it really is a truly
abhorrent situation. Because learning, I mean, part of what I think we also
discussed in that is like, learning how to navigate in the world as a woman, as
a man is learning how to uh, deal with unwanted, uh, advances. I mean, that’s
part of learning how to be in the world.
That is absolutely part of learning how to be a woman. And to put, put even a
kind of a broader language on it. It is the responsibility, equal
responsibility of the woman, and the man to, uh, to keep the balance of power
And we’ve never had, uh, more, more physical strength than men. Right? But
throughout times in history, women have managed somehow to exert their
authority in this dynamic, very successfully. So we need to help women come
back to that, both with their men. And then also with their children.
And stop acting like children and victims. Right?
Victims. Yeah. Because we are then, you know, if a woman is only going to carry
that victim role, which it’s like, I want to qualify once more. That doesn’t
mean there aren’t situations where a woman is not a victim or a man is not a
victim, you know, there are real moments where it is atrocious. And that is
not, that is not what it is to be human, to have the, the beautiful
transformative power of sex be distorted in such a way that it becomes harmful.
That’s not being, that’s not humanity. That’s not true humanity. Right?
Exactly. Because that, that beautiful union between a man and a woman should be
empowering and glorious, not debasing and degrading right. That’s accepted as a
And when that goes wrong, that is wrong and should be addressed. When there is
the playful space. I mean, I could take all of this really back to what my…I’m
so fortunate to have this work of learning about play and games and work with
children and learning how to teach play because that’s something that has, you
know, slowly become less available to young children in the world. Due to so
many things. Um, but play, learning how to play.
That’s really what this comes down to, too. People that haven’t
learned how to play, which Jaiman McMillan, when we talk about––who’s my
teacher, Spacial Dynamics, great stuff. He, um, play is making connections and
knowing how to remain separate, making connections and remaining separate. And
when that play experience doesn’t happen, then when you have come into this
budding sexuality, if you don’t know how to interact and then separate how to
interact and read, “oh, that’s not what the situation calls for now.” When you
aren’t listening, that’s when violence happens. Right? When those, those
feelers that sense and perceive the situation, if they’re not working, if they
haven’t been trained to work properly, that’s when we screw up. And you know, I
mean obviously there’s, because I think what happens…I have a lot of compassion
for the young man. It’s a scary world to come into having these feelings for a
woman. How do you put yourself out there? How do you not be too forceful but
not be too cowardly? That’s a fine balance to come into and it’s play. That’s
what flirtation is. That’s what that banter is. That’s what’s so fun. When it’s
engaged in properly. And so that’s part of the work of being a mother too, is
to not be a victim. To have clear boundaries with your children and to be able
to engage and let them feel where they are and how they relate to you as the
archetype of woman for them. I’m talking about sons and daughters, you know.
Exactly. Let me, hold on one sec. So let’s, let’s conclude with touching on
some prescription toward healing this right toward, and we’ll, we’ll get into
it in further conversations about, about more of this. We’ll flesh it all out,
but I, I love what you identified, which is in a way, let’s get first back in
touch with that, that unspoken, a lot of the unspoken understandings between
men and women, maybe? Because you, you can’t reduce it all down to language.
And I think that’s part of what we’ve been trying to do. And so how do we begin
to heal this, this divide between men and women? Because let’s face it, our,
the survival of our humanity depends on that union, that healthy union, my door
has just opened….So how do we simultaneously, um, fulfill each other’s needs,
That is the thing. There it is.
So, yeah. So how do we, so, so we need to focus on healing that. Perhaps a
conversation needs to begin between men and women, right? A new conversation.
That fosters renewed respect for each other’s strengths and what they bring to
the party. Right? Once we do that, we can start focusing on our roles as
parents to these new human beings coming in who are going to take our place
and, uh, keep steering this ship. And I guess this is not any great epiphany or
great answers to it all. But in our last conversation, I had mentioned that,
uh, you know, someone, a friend of ours had been talking about, you know, maybe
like a, a woman’s conference to kind of to heal, to heal the traumas. Right? We
haven’t even touched on to traumas that, and we’ll do that in another one. And
my reaction was resistant because I feel as if it may draw, uh, the type of
person who wants to have more me time, be coddled, uh, and try to do this work
in isolation, which can’t be done. Right? And then you said, you pointed out,
well, let’s bring the men, too. Right?
It’d be more fun!
And, and, and then, and I was saying, well, and the children, right? Let’s
bring the children. And so let’s make it a family conference. Right? And you
said, “It’s called camping!” And there’s something to that because when you’re
camping, you’re out there. You’re together. And unless you’re gonna go run away
into the wilderness, you’re stuck together and you gotta make it work.
And you gotta make it work and it, and it simplifies. I mean, why do we all
like to go? I mean, those that like to go camping? It simplifies our, what we
do, eat, sleep, clean up, leisure time. And that’s about it, right?
Yes. And, and spending all that time together without distractions of
And, and phones, and everything else that is so accessible and prevalent
Yes. Forces us to respectfully figure out how to inhabit our space together.
And so, and, and, and to have conflict that you then can learn how to create
your own boundaries and respect other’s boundaries for solutions.
Gosh, that’s so true. Even without lots of rooms in a house or you know, uh, a
job to go off to. Right? So…
Because you’re in it.
Yes. Cause you’re in it and you and you, you can’t go anywhere. So we’re going
to hold that thought for our next conversation.
Let’s go camping.
That, you know, maybe what the world needs, the Western world needs is families
Families going camping!
And they may be able to work it all out,.
It’s true though! Because then your, your problems present. Your issues present
when you cannot isolate in the way that the world is becoming more and more
accustomed to. So…
Yes, yes! And you don’t have your shrink there to go talk about it with either.
And you don’t have anyone to complain to. I mean, honestly, families going
camping is like step one, you know, your own nuclear family. Step two is do it
with another family. Step three, add another family. And then it’s like that’s
how you build culture. Because then you’re going to have conflicts. You and I,
even when I, when I come up with my kids and the things that come up for our
kids, how they have a different family culture that they have to interact with
and work through and meet and find a dynamic together. So that’s our, our
remedy. Play games, interact in real ways. Do real things.
Yes. And let’s start talking about putting it into language that what we’re trying
to do is heal the dynamic between men and women. Not, and that is the
empowerment. That is empowering. To, to continue dividing and uh, vilifying…
Right. Blaming will get us nowhere. So let’s, let’s shift these movements.
Let’s figure out some new movements for the next conversation.