So…I’m thinking of Edith Bunker today. Strangely, that’s not out of the ordinary. As a mother of 15 years and a wife of 5, I often contemplate the most inspirational role models and what I can take from them to apply to my own reality. Though All in the Family was never a reality in the literal sense of the word, I can’t help but think that the character of Edith Bunker was a reality on many levels for many women.
In processing that thought you may feel some negative emotions (pity, sadness, irritation, etc.) but my own thoughts and emotions were always grounded in respect and esteem. I did not feel pity for her character or contempt for Archie. Quite the opposite actually, through all of the mayhem and bullshit Edith Bunker remained strong and Archie remained devoted. On a day to day basis their union gave tribute to that so often abused vow “Until death do us part.”
Edith’s “home rhythm” was always the same. Waking up in the morning and getting dressed, coffee and breakfast before the husband leaves for work, household chores, some time for errands and coffee with a friend, preparation of the evening meal, greeting the husband when he comes home (not just hello, but arms wrapped around the man you love and a listening ear as he tells you about his day), evening meal, family time, preparations for the day to come and bedtime. As a 21st century woman I can admit that at times I look at this routine and say “Oh…please.” But then I take a step back and close my eyes and say, “How wonderful!”
My daughter attended Susquehanna Waldorf school for several years and in that time I was exposed to the ideas and teachings of Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education. Time and time again his studies and methods have proven the need for rhythm and rhyme in a child’s day. I believe that that need for rhythm carries over into adulthood as well. And I believe it is that rhythm and a strong sense of the meaning of marriage and family that made Edith Bunker the embodiment of what it means to be a wife and mother.
Absolutely there are times when my husband and I don’t agree, when we fight, when our opinions are polar opposites, when all seems lost in a world gone made with greed and a frenzied attempt to be better than another in every way, to make more money, to have more things, to feel more beautiful and on and on and on. But fortunately, I do periodically take a step back and remember Edith Bunker, who knew who she was, who was content in what she had, who expressed her love on so many levels, who made the house a home and who held a family together. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that was what we were all striving for…the rhythm and contentment in family and the life we chose.
Yes, she was a fictional character on a fictional show living a fictional reality… BUT I can apply every sense of who she was, how she lived her life and what she stood for in my own life. Whether I’m a working mother or a stay at home mom, a single parent or a divorcee, a woman in the 1970’s or a woman in the 21st century, that rhythm and sense of purpose and principal can be applied and lived.