Well, I’ve searched and searched and guess what? I’ve never, ever met a woman who fit the mold. I’ve never met a woman who THOUGHT she fit the mold. I’ve only ever met the woman who felt as if she didn’t fit the mold. Why is that? Well, it’s obvious. There is no “MOLD,” it’s a myth, of course. The only mold that exists is the one that we think only other people fit.
Perhaps you dream of being that woman who wakes up early after having satisfying sex with your MBA husband, taking that six mile run before you grind the wheat for homemade pancakes that you make for our sizeable 7 child family. Then, after your clean and well dressed children leave, you put your 12 all-natural ingredients into our crockpot and still are able to shower and change into your smart clothes and be off to your own six figure job as an esteemed canning consultant. You don’t have to rush at all to be there to pick up your young children from school and escort them to the playing field where they discover on the playground while you coach girls LaCrosse for your older over achieving daughters. Defying all natural laws of time, you and your children are home before 7pm to sit around your large table to have edifying dinner conversation with your husband. Afterward, your incredibly well behaved children help wash dishes and tidy up the kitchen before family scripture study and prayer. You put yourself to sleep with finishing up that crossstitch project and planning Sunday’s lesson.
Well, I don’t know these people and neither do you. You may think you do, but you don’t, really they don’t exist, and you should try to get over it.
We ladies are an amalgam or slag of the woman above. Most of us don’t jog in the mornings, or grind wheat or have 6 figure paying jobs, or have MBA husbands, or can, or have 7 children or even understand LaCrosse. Some of us have one or two of these talents or attributes, but most of us don’t have any.
So what’s with this MOLD thing? This mold that we all agree that we don’t fit, is simply a self imposed ideal.
If you talk to other women, you will realize that this mold in which none of us fit is actually different for every woman. Each woman is an individual. My desired mold to which I don’t fit is different than your desired mold to which you don’t fit. I would like to enjoy a 6 mile run in the morning, but I don’t know any other women who have indicated to me that this ideal is in the mold to which they don’t fit. Some women’s molds include sewing all of their childrens’ clothing as proof to themselves that they are good stewards of the home. Some women struggle to try to homeschool, or run marathons. The mold that I don’t live up to does not include these.
Are molds bad? NO! Molds are not bad once you know that there is no ONE mold. In terms of gelatin, an easy example, a mold makes the gelatin more manageable and tidy/beautiful. Outside the mold, the gelatin is unwieldy and messy and more prone to waste as it runs all over. Modern self-esteem theory tells us that the idea of a mold is bad because it makes us feel less. I disagree, of course. Our self imposed ideal molds are really just goals and our goals are what should get us up in the morning.
I also disagree with the almost condescending admonition that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others or that we should just be happy with who we are. That seems really simplistic and psychobabbly. Women are in a state of disarray in today’s culture because there is no more “ideal woman” other than the ESPN woman with the big boobs and high heels and that is not attainable without surgery. Any time we try to “live up to” something meaningful we are chided for not “being ourselves.” We waste a lot of quality anxiety time on trying to be ourselves. Look, world, we don’t want to be ourselves, we want to be better versions our our SELF. It is those of us who are self-aware and who know that we can be better that are now told we are putting too much pressure on ourselves. It’s frustrating to say out loud “Gee, I wish I kept a house more like Sister L!” only to have a well meaning woman rush to you, give you a bandaid and try to reassure you that your filthy home is adequate. Sigh! “Step aside, Woman, while I go talk to Sister L about how she keeps a clean house.”
Molds are only unhealthy for us if they are unattainable because they aren’t real, and aren’t likely to hold our OWN gelatin, so to speak, like our woman example from above.
Once we accept that there is no ONE mold then we can constructively cast our own mold and work on getting our overweight and lazy butts in them.
Our ideal molds should be high minded but attainable. By high minded I mean they should somehow fit within those virtues befitting a daughter of God. (Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, Virtue) If your goal is to have a stripper body like Sister Hotty so you can attract men outside of your marriage, then I’d keep that outside the mold, maybe on the condiment tray. If your goal is to exercise to lower your blood pressure, fitting back into your bathing suit WHILE ALSO looking hot for your own husband, then I think that goal can go in your ideal mold.
In practice, we should be mindful that our molds are OUR molds. Not our neighbors molds, not our daughter’s mold. Solo MIO. Comprende?
What happens when we can’t live up to our own mold? Well, its easy, change the mold a bit as needed. Heck it’s your mold. After that exercise, you still can’t fit into that bathing suit but your blood pressure is lower? Husband still chasing you around the bedroom? Well, that sounds like a win all the way around. 2 outta 3 right?
Currently, we have every opportunity to live a life that is truly exemplary. As of today, if you are Mormon lady reading this then you live in a place where you can exercise your agency to do good and live the gospel to its fullest promise. We were after all, cast in the image of our Father in Heaven and that knowledge should be the very basic shroud to our mold.
Follow-up question: If you lived in a Space Station where there was no Hobby Lobby or magic mops or crown molding, what would your mold look like?