I have three beautiful boys, who I love dearly, and my friends they are BOYS. They wrestle, play for hours in the mud, build forts, wrestle some more, love superheroes, shoot everything, “hunt” around the house constantly, build guns with their Legos, build superhero forts with their Legos…you get the idea.
We watch the Disney channel, and every time a “you can do it, princess” commercial comes on they yell about not being a princess and I get upset. Disney seems to be consumed with swinging the pendulum as far possible in, whatever direction, the feminist movement happens to be swinging. Our culture, seems to be determined to loudly swing the pendulum the other way. As a mom of boys, I find it massively frustrating, unfair, puzzling, confusing.
I grew up in a home where I was constantly encouraged. I was also disciplined, when I was being naughty…, given responsibilities and expectations. But, when I wanted to try something, I never heard from my parents that I could not do it for any reason. I was not given a false belief that I literally could do everything, but if I thought I wanted to try something, my parents rallied behind me.
My mom was, and is, a doer. She went on adventures, traveled, camped in Alaska for months by herself, and moved across the country by herself. My dad was, and is, a doer. He became a commercial diver and traveled working, went to the bottom of the ocean and has some crazy stories! They both traveled around Europe. They met, fell in love, and got married three months later. They both are big dreamers and are excited about their life together. As a team.
Not once did I ever feel less than because I’m a woman, not once have I ever seen my mom back down because she is a woman, not once have I ever seen my dad treat a woman as less than because she is a woman. Not once did my brother ever treat a woman as less than because she is a woman.
My husband is my favorite. One time I tried to play helpless (not a clue why) and he looked at me like I was nuts and told me I could do it, so do it. When I told him I wanted to go back to school, he was my biggest cheerleader. He has supported me as a stay at home mom, by choice. He has listened to me go on for hours about what I would love to do and encouraged me to keep moving forward. I have never seen my husband look at anyone as less than because of their physical appearances. I have never heard of him speak of anyone as less than because of their physical appearance, the fact that they are female.
There is a new shirt at Target, Strong Like Mom, which is great. But, why would I not want my sons to be like their dad? Why would I not want them to emulate the character of a man who I love more than words could ever explain? Someone who I respect day in and day out. Someone who I have grown to love more and more over our, nearly, thirteen years together. Someone who loves me well, respects me, makes me laugh, holds me while I cry, fights for me and loves God above all else. Why would I not want them to seek to be like him?
My boys know I’m strong. They see me as capable, hard working, loving, a teammate for my husband, and someone who loves God above all else. They love lifting weights with me, running alongside me, celebrating with me when I finally finished my degree! They see me cry and wrestle with God on the hard things, and praise Him for all of it. I don’t need to protest in the streets to prove that point.
When I see women aggressively attacking men, because they are men, I am offended. In all of the jobs I have had, I have received equal pay, equal treatment, and not once questioned whether or not we were on the same playing field. If there was a time that a man has made a joke at a woman’s expense, there has always been a man to shut him up and defend women. Women rant and rave about “man colds”. When my husband is sick, he is SICK. He had pneumonia for part of December and all of January, he did not miss one day of work, struggled to breathe, but still participated fully in our home and in his classroom (he’s an elementary school teacher).
I am proud to be his wife. I am proud to be mom to our boys. I am honored that I get to stay at home with them during this time and that my husband encourages me to do so, and works so hard for me to be able to.
I am proud to be raising my boys the way we are. I do not want them to treat girls, young ladies, ladies as anything less than. Ever. They will respect women, and not because they are women, but because they are human. Do I want them to treat women differently than men? Yes, I do. Because we were created differently. We have different strengths and weaknesses (physically, emotionally, mentally). Because God designed it that way. IT. IS. GOOD.
I still believe I can try. I told my dad I wanted to write a book, he thought that was fantastic and immediately started working on a plan with me. I told my husband I wanted to get re-certified as a personal trainer, he thought that was fantastic and encouraged me to do so. He also encouraged me to look at master’s degrees, so I can fulfill my ultimate dream of being a counselor.
People that tell you, you can’t, are NOT people you need in your life. People that are not encouragers of you and your dreams, are NOT people you need in your life.
Look for people that will cheer you on. Look for people that will push you. Look for people that will come alongside you and work with you. Then grow with them.