For Mother’s Day, let’s remember Cleopatra who became even more powerful when she had children. It’s a little different today when parenthood enhances a man’s career but detracts from a woman’s.
When my book club read Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, we were blown away by how Egypt and nearby nations bowed to Cleopatra’s empire-building. She followed in the footsteps of Alexander the Great.
I wished I lived at a time when motherhood was empowering and sexy. It was a part of their religious life. The universe of Ancient Egypt was ruled by sexy goddesses like Isis – earth mother, sensual creature, healing presence, happy lover.
“Motherhood not only enhanced Cleopatra’s authority…but solidified her links with the native priests,” Schiff says.
One problem in the Christian tradition is that our model for motherhood is a passive, ever-suffering, homebound Mary, not an active, sexy, pleasure-seeking adventurer. In the Christian tradition, motherhood does not solidify our spiritual place among the priests.
We need more Isis.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to believe motherhood has made me more powerful and sexy, not submissive and virginal.
Reading Cleopatra reminded me that this time is not the only time. We can find new archetypes from other traditions and times when mothers had power.
And style. Like sometimes I wonder — am I destined to wear stretch waistband pants from Coldwater Creek? No, I can wear sexy togas and jewel-encrusted snake armbands like Cleopatra did.
What am I saying? Tying up a toga is exhausting. Motherhood is exhausting. Most modern mothers are too tired to be sensual and too preoccupied with children to care about empowerment or sexuality.
On that happy note, Happy Mother’s Day! To celebrate, I think I’ll go clean a bathroom. Or maybe I’ll just read a book and fantasize about a time when being a mother imbued an already powerful woman with even more power.