Could You Handle Being A Spartan Mom?
In the era of Hot Mess Moms and #MomLife, the biggest struggles are the intense emotional load of running a family and the constant judgment from other moms, who we will call them Mom-Shamers. They are the worst.
I recently fell down an internet hole and discovered how badass Ancient Spartan women were but what dropped my jaw about them was not their mythic beauty (they were gorgeous by all accounts) but their intense method of parenting. The more I read, the more I realized how great I have it with my sweatpants and Ding Dongs. But I also wondered if my white lily ass would have been left on a hillside to die of exposure. Read on to see what I mean.
Spartan women were groomed to be baby-makers.
Spartan women were seen primarily as baby-makers. This isn’t news; most women around the world are stuck in this ugly rut too. But what set Spartan women apart from their Greek counterparts, particularly Athenian women, was that Spartan women were treated much like men. Why? Because they thought that if Spartan women were strong and warrior-like, then their babies would be too.
Spartan women worked out nude.
Spartan women exercised outside, alongside men, nude. Yes. Nude. Women were required to be athletic and complete in sports, particularly running competitions. The stronger a Spartan woman, the stronger her womb and future children would be. Girls and young women would train their bodies in the same way as their male counterparts did to be as healthy as possible from childhood. And since boys and young men exercised in the buff, so too did Spartan ladies. Having a fit physique was considered a desirable trait, and Spartan women were known throughout the Mediterannean for their incredible beauty.
Spartan men looked up to smart Spartan women.
Spartan women were also highly educated, unlike other Greek women. Not only were their bodies toned and tough as hell, but their tongues were silver sharp, and they could argue politics with cunning wit alongside men. Spartan women were mentally strong, which was the surest way to ensure that Sparta’s future children would also be brainy little warriors.
Spartan moms left their newborns in a field to see if they’d survive.
It sounds horrifying to think about, but the parents had no custody when Spartan women had babies. Instead, the city-state had full control over raising kids, and they would send soldiers to inspect the quality of each newborn birthed within their lands. Soldiers would give a newborn a bath made of wine instead of water to see what the child would do. If the soldiers determined that the baby wasn’t a high-quality citizen — that it wouldn’t grow to be of Spartan snuff — then the mothers would leave their babies in a field to see if they could survive. Children who lasted a set amount of time could either be reunited with their families or taken away to a life of slavery.
Spartan moms sent their kids off to train for war.
Soldiers took all Spartan boys at the age of seven to join their city-state brother in training to become Spartan men. They lived a tough life that wholly revolved around Spartan ideals and the Warrior Code. To help indoctrinate the young boys, soldiers would tell tales of bravery and loyalty to the city-state.
One famous story highlights the intense fealty that young Spartan soldiers were expected to demonstrate. In it, a young Spartan boy was scavenging for food as was expected, and he caught a fox. Before he could kill and eat the fox, he heard soldiers coming. Although boys were expected to hunt for their food, they could not be caught with food. So, this boy shoved the fox down his shirt and stood iron still as the soldiers grilled him about what he was doing. According to the story, the fox was eating a hole through the child’s stomach the entire time, but the boy did not react.
Spartan moms loved sex.
One aspect of Spartan life and culture that is fascinating is that while surrounding city-states married off their young girls, Spartan women were allowed to wait until they finished puberty. The average age of a Spartan bride was around 18, and she was encouraged to enjoy sex. If Spartan women wanted sex and could take her time to find her ideal mate, she would produce even tougher warrior babies.
I don’t know about you, but I would not have made it as a Spartan mom.