As a family we would periodically take a Saturday visit to the zoo. It was a relatively inexpensive and great day experience for a family with seven kids. The kids would wind down and wear out from exploring all that there was to see. My wife and I would be able to share some often much needed together time together. And I would get to spend some time at my favorite exhibits–the monkeys and the bears, both of which held some subtle significance for me personally.
The affinity that I have for monkeys is because I can relate to them so well. They are goofy, sometimes they act weirdly, they are prone to mischief, they are playful. Yet, they are a pack animal that thrives so well in community. They are also free-spirited and transparent. They are completely inhibited. I am quite certain were it not for the fact that my brain is just slightly more evolved than a monkeys and tossed into the mix that I am bound by certain societal restraints, that I would be the one to proudly, and without concern, show off my big red butt any time I pleased.
My affinity for bears is entirely different. Over the course of a lifetime, I have come to see most moms as mama bears. Having seven children helps with that. We have all heard the term “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. That’s significant on several levels. While it relates directly to the proven fact that you don’t mess with a mama bear’s cubs (that gets really ugly, real fast), it equally applies to mamas of the human variety.
We men play an absolute functional and important role in the production of babies. Without us, it ain’t gonna happen. That’s easily explained in four simple words–“stop sex, stop births”. But that’s not what we’re all about is it? One of God’s greatest ideas was to make man and woman so that they could procreate, and that’s what we naturally do. We make babies. Enter an issue, right off the bat. She carries those babies that we make. Not only does she carry them, but she carries them for nine very long months. From my personal experience, that, folks, is just enough time for women to declare, if only in their minds, ownership of said babies. Yep–ownership, as in personal possessions.
Now that I may have honked off a whole wad of folks, let me do a bit of ‘splaining. That which I shared above was not intended to get anyone boiled over. The message is intended for the men in terms by which so many men seem to think–not by that touchy-feely talk or lovey-dovey words–just direct, cold, hard, facts. To get their attention. That’s because, in so many cases men are on the wrong side of center in their relational thinking about the topic of family particularly when it comes to women and kids–mama bear and the cubs.
Gents…. here is another straight shot of opinion for you. If your wife isn’t doing the mama bear thing with y’alls kids, THAT’S a problem–not the mama bear thing. Papa bear, you’re the provider typically. You’re the work ladder climber so that you can continue to provide as those cubs get older and things get more complicated and expensive. The thing that you provide, sustenance, doesn’t grow on trees and you can’t go out into your garden and pick it. You gotta go earn it. So, you do the papa bear thing–you do your job. In the meantime, who’s with the cubs for the bulk of the time (oh, and by the way growing them and nurturing them)? Yep, mama bear. And that’s on top of the fact that, bless her heart, she already carried them around for nine months of discomfort while you went on about your business unfettered by an enlarged belly and strange eating habits. That’s just the way it is. Perhaps if guys could have babies things might be different, but we’ll never know (I hope).
So, what’s my point? If your thinking is like mine was for many years (and, in fact, it still creeps in occasionally even though my kids are all adult now) that your wife seems to think she owns those kids y’all have–it’s natural, and it ain’t gonna change. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you or care for you, it is simply mama bear being mama bear. Pick another battle, man, you’re not going to win this one. Surrender and accept. Know that this is one of the lesser things that hurt relationships. Her ownership is not malicious, it’s not intended, it’s not planned, it has nothing to do with you. It’s mama bear being mama bear.
I don’t know if God is smiling down over my shoulder or not about this, but I do know that since I got off of that “poor me” bandwagon of self-pity because I thought that I wasn’t getting all due respect, the relationship between me and my mama bear (and the kids, as a bonus) has improved.