I don’t wish to burst any bubbles here, but as a mom I know we often believe that our kids will appreciate us because of our unfailing love, sacrifice, and nurturing.
Don’t get me wrong, those things are vitally important and really necessary in order to create a well adjusted human being, but kids tend to pick up more on what isn’t said, what isn’t being done. They learn more from what is unspoken than all our actions and words and feelings combined.
That can really be a tough blow to the pride. Maternal instinct is all about pouring love all over this little thing and bringing it into existence. Women don’t just do that with kids, we do it with men too. We see something in men that perhaps others don’t, their potential, their future protection, provision, companionship, their higher selves.
Actually we pretty much do that to everything, to cats, to our first apartment, to cute little characters in a Star Wars movie, to anything cute, small, fuzzy…..broken. Just pour love and nurturing all over it.
That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story, it isn’t the whole picture, which is yet another reason why dads, men are so important in the world. They tend to have a different set of eyes, a different way of perceiving things. They help to bring some symbiosis and balance to the script.
The truth is, you just can’t pour love and nurturing all over everything and fix it. That is an aspect of female pride that always fascinates me. No matter what direction the culture takes, no matter how much we reject all things maternal, that is simply biology at play, it is innate to who women are.
The other day I encountered a woman who had no kids, swore maternal instinct was just a social construct, and yet upon entering her apartment I discovered she had nine cats, 47 pillows on her sofa, and a big painting of a fertility goddess hanging over it. Uh yeah, sorry, but you’re nurturing something. Actually I spent most of my time trying to praise her cats…. so she wouldn’t shove me an oven somewhere.
Some women are far less maternal, they try to emulate men, or perhaps a caricature of men, because they seldom try to emulate the good parts, like honor or integrity. It’s more like a cartoon version of who and what they perceive men to be. Unfortunately envy often ties into that, wanting what someone else has without even fully understanding what it is they “have.”
Back to pride however, female pride, aspects of our character that look a bit different in women. Whereas male pride can often appear quite arrogant and annoying, female pride can be disguised as shyness, as self consciousness. It doesn’t bother as many people as arrogance does, but in excess it hurts us nonetheless. It prevents us from being bold, at least inside, at least spiritually. In faith we are called to be bold.
Unfailing love and nurturing and the desire to have maternal control is another aspect of pride, not always a bad one, but in excess, also harmful to ourselves and sometimes to those around us.
I have no great words of wisdom to attach to this post, just observations. Becoming aware of yourself, aware of gender characteristics, of our own limitations and strengths, can really be helpful in trying to understand the world around you. We’re all crazy, but there really is a rhyme and reason to our behavior.