“You throw like a girl” is a rude and derogatory phrase that is most often meant as an insult to women. Even when it is given in biological context (as it is HERE), it still reeks of male condescension. On this Mother’s Day I’d like to turn the phrase on its head. Of course there are biological differences between men and women. Unless you count that one movie when Arnold Schwarzenegger did, I’ve never heard of a man being able to reproduce offspring. We are created biologically different. But that fact does not make men superior… just… different.
Ask any (honest) man who has had to be solely in charge of the kids for any length of time. You will likely hear stories of nearly avoided (or not avoided) disasters that ensued because the poor guy was attempting things that he often does not do on a regular basis. I am in such a season presently with my wife working outside the home a bit more than usual. And even though I’ve been a dad for almost 20 yrs. now, have found myself doing things that are normally out of my purview.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who happens to shop at my wife’s place of employment, jokes that “women may do 99% of the work, but we men are more proud of our 1%”. I’m not sure about his numbers, but in most households it is true that women typically do more than men. My point in writing this is not an attempt to domesticate men, though some of that might be a good thing. Nor am I pining for the “good ole days” when women were expected to be in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant.
I am simply stating today that I recognize, with fresh eyes, that moms are rock stars and superheroes when it comes to the responsibilities they are able to simultaneously handle. A mom can fix a girl’s hair for church while she is preparing a meal… and doing her own makeup. Almost every morning on my route I see those same women driving 2,000 lb. vehicles and applying same said makeup. They pay bills and clean toilets and arbitrate sibling violence and… and… and… they do it all with grace and style. Most of what they do is seldom if ever credited. Most of what they do is behind the scenes. Take one simple thing. When was the last time most of us had to be responsible for preparing over 1,000 meals in a single year, all the while attempting to satisfy the picky eaters, the meat eaters, and the vegetarians?
To my mom (pictured above), you are an amazing and selfless woman who is more than deserving of all the accolades that will come your way today. You gave birth to, and managed to keep from killing, four strong-willed children who certainly tested every nerve in your body. Born a small-town Indiana girl, you have become a globe-trotting woman who seems to fear no new setting. And when caring for a mom was as important as being one, you have put your own plans on hold to help your sis care for your own mother. The more I mature as a parent, the greater appreciation I have for all the roles that you filled in our home as we were all coming of age.
Though I am firmly committed to my own masculinity, today I have a growing appreciation for what it means to throw like a girl.