The Queen of My Self


Since May is Mothering Month, I intend to post a diverse array of articles for the rest of the month, about and for mothers.


Not Our Mother’s Daughters

by Mari Selby, VA

”And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see — or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.”

– Alice Walker

Take off the pearls, loosen the perfect coifs, and shout Hallelujah! You have come a long way! June Cleaver of “Leave it to Beaver” wore pearls, heels, and aprons throughout her role. As we women grew stronger, and demanded more of our own rights we saw mirrored on TV new forms of being a woman and a mother. The culture reflected the evolution we were experiencing. On the “Cosby Show” we had Claire Huxtable, who was beautiful, wise, had her own career, and a great husband. Roseanne Barr was a “Domestic Goddess” who not only ran her TV family but the production of the TV show as well. These women and their TV roles gave us options for being strong women, and a

mother. Because of their stories we have discovered we don’t have to be just like our mothers, in fact, we can be so much more.

We are no longer our mother’s daughters. We have dared to explore our love life, brave new avenues with our careers, and investigate our intellect in more radical ways than our mother’s ever thought possible. Maybe they dreamed for us. Maybe they hoped for us, and often they were afraid for us. As we learn to love and know ourselves we are discovering who our mothers are really. A private investigator becomes caretaker to her highly competent mother, a former nurse, and discovers that the Superwoman is merely human; a Trinidadian immigrant and victim of spousal abuse accepts her lawyer daughter’s lesbianism and gains her respect. A therapist and survivor of eating disorders shares a marital problem with her “historically non-empathetic” mother and is gratified by her response; a social services professional pushing 70 learns to cope with the 96-year-old family matriarch who still treats her like a child. As we realize that who we are now is not an act, we can accept ourselves on a deeper level and are able to accept those around us as well.

At the age of five I decided I was never going to be like my mother, a stay-at-home housewife. The only reason I could think of to get married was to have the pretty dress. At the age of eight I no longer cared about the dress, and was determined to have my own career. By then I already had several poems published in my school paper. Soon after that I realized my mother had little to offer me other than her unending criticism of whatever I did. I ceased looking at her as my role model and struggled to find my own way. Over the years I accomplished less than I hoped, and more than my mother thought possible. Meanwhile, I felt lost often and her anxieties became my worries and fears. Today I am learning to accept her as a woman who had three children in three and a half years with no skills or education to be a mother. She did the best she could with what she had. With recovery I am reclaiming who I am and letting go of my mother’s anxieties. Finally in my fifties I am grateful for becoming a tiger of a butterfly, for roaring ahead with my creativity, my wisdom, my love, and my career. I am, but I am so much more than, my mother’s daughter.

Evolutionary Metamorphosis: Regenopause: Barbara Marx Hubbard coined this phrase. She is speaking about women’s new spiritual role as we transform and grow into our own wisdom. We are becoming something never experienced before on this Earth. Instead of referring to this time of our life as “menopause” and the disintegration of youthful bodies, she refers to women regenerating. The process of regenerating involves reassembling ourselves, finding our new vocations, being intuitively guided as to our emerging functions and structures. Barbara says, “One by one we are forming the still invisible new body, preparing for our sudden appearance as members of a societal butterfly.”


Donna Henes is the author of  The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.



The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to






Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus