8 Mar 2014

International Women's Day: Maya Angelou


I have always loved Maya Angelou's poetry and found her inspirational in her strength and ability to endure a trials. I like her confidence and sass too.

I shared this poem with a boy heavy GCSE group and they were unmoved, if not downright hostile, towards the sentiment of it. Most of their attitudes were, "yeah, so? Mums have to do a lot. Get over it." I sincerely hope this was just male bravado and that they do appreciate all of the work their mother's do.

I hope to raise Ellis to have a great respect for women, but also to be able to fend for himself. He already loves to feed himself and so we are off to a good start. I am also lucky that The Belgian can hold his own in the kitchen and is not allergic to hoovering. I must admit we have fallen into gender stereotypes in that he always takes out the bin and I tend to do the laundry. However, I do refuse to iron his shirts as I don't iron my own clothes even!

I like the simple structure of this poem and how the first stanza is organised to mirror the monotony of her life by listing all of her daily chores. Now I am a mother myself and a temporary housewife I do agree with the sentiment that a woman's work is never done. Plus the 'moon glow' being all that 'I can call my own' as those evenings when the little man is in bed are so precious.

Woman Work

I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
'Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You're all that I can call my own.
Maya Angelou


  1. So important that they learn to do things for themselves and not see chores as mothers or women's work alone!

  2. I love this quote of hers "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.
    Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass". Happy International Women's Day! Sarah xxx

  3. I am depressed that the reaction was so hostile :(. We have such a long way to go ...

  4. A fantastic poem from an amazing woman! Let's hope the lads dwelt on it later and had a change of heart!

  5. I'm hoping it was male bravado. I think it probably was.

  6. I am thinking male bravado too. Mine (included dh who is a mega clean/tidy freak lol!) all help out. Like you there are certain jobs i don't do..like put the bins out, clean the windows, cut the grass. He doesn't do the laundry or ironing (unless its his work clothes)...xx


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