Mother-in-laws get a bad rap all too often. They’re pushy, nosy, insulting, high maintenance types. In my case nothing could be further from the truth. She has been gone for over a year now. I miss her. Grief is hard. She was the best in so many ways.
She bought me gifts sometimes. The first I remember; cheetah print underwear. We returned from shopping and my future husband inquired what we bought. When told about the underwear his reply was, “No she didn’t. I know my mother.” Well, he did not know her as well as he thought.
It was my birthday. I lived alone on a graduate school stipend. That is below poverty income for those who don’t know. While I had plenty of underwear my mother-in-law often had not in life. She insisted I have nice new underwear. That’s how she was.
I don’t remember too many other gifts she gave me after that first one. I am sure they were all nice and things I loved. It’s that none rings as loud and clear through the years as the best one; a real man.
You see, I have a problem with men; always have and I am certain I always will. So much so my own mother thought I was not marriage material. In fact, it is my problem with men that has kept me from writing a blog post since October. That is when all the harassment and sexual abuse stories began lighting up the news and social media wires with a fierceness never before seen.
It has been hard not to question the integrity of all men. Even those who aren’t what popular media would call abusive have become hard for me to handle. So, I have decided to focus on my man. The man my mother-in-law gave me. He has none of the traits and behaviors hailed as negative all around me. If you have a real man, please focus on him and encourage him to continue being the man he is. We need them all.
There is one more request I have. I don’t have children. If you do, could you please do us a favor and teach them the following:
- There are no women’s or men’s careers. If you are woman and you dig auto mechanics go for it. If you are a man and love to decorate houses, do it.
- There is no “place” for a woman or a man. A woman’s place is no more in the kitchen than a man’s is in the garage. Please do not limit your children by placing them in restricted locations in life. I have to throw in here that my parents both did an excellent job with this one. In the kitchen, I am as comfortable baking cookies as I am soldering a new fuse link on the mother board of the refrigerator. I can identify more tools than kitchen gadgets for sure.
- Men do not babysit their own offspring. I’m sorry you don’t.
- Men do not need hobbies or “me time” any more than women do. I can’t think of one woman I know who fishes, golfs, or plays soccer on the weekends while her husband is at home with the kids.
- No one is above cleaning up after themselves. In other words, if you dirty it, you are not above cleaning it. If you drive the car you are not above changing the oil.
- Learn how to cook healthy meals. No matter what your gender you will need to eat for the rest of your life. This is a scientific fact.
- Women are not objects, slaves, or lower than men. Men are not smarter, more able to handle stress, better leaders or any of the other awful stigmas we have in our culture.
When I see a real man like my husband who respects me, comes to me for advice and answers, participates in the basic care and domestic necessities of our lives together, and serves as a true partner, I see the best gift my mother-in-law ever gave me.
A real man who is a teammate in this game of life is one who makes Simple living Rich life easy to live.
Thank you Carla.