Not a Mummy’s Boy, But Always Her Son

Mark 10:7-8 ‘And for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife,and the two will become one.’ So they are no longer two, but one.

It’s Not Sexist, and It’s True…

Today I went to the local post office to send a parcel for work and open a new post office box at a more convenient post office. While I was at the counter being served, the woman next to me and the woman serving her (both in their sixties off best guess) were having a conversation that went along these lines (with names changed to protect the innocent guilty, and because I don’t remember them) ;

Mary (woman behind the counter) “Hello, Betty, aren’t you working today?”

Betty (customer at counter next to me) “I’m on leave for a couple of weeks. My daughter just had a baby and I’m helping out.”

Mary “What did she have?”

Betty “A little girl…”

Mary “My daughter is having a baby next month…” looks at calendar and realises today is the 1st of August, “this month. She’s having a little girl too…”

Betty “How nice for her. You know what they say; A son is a son ’til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

Me (interrupting their conversation)  “Really? Really? You honestly think that? I find that very sexist and not true…”

Mary “It is not sexist, and it is true….”

I sort of trailed off about now thinking that I am not going to get into or try to win an argument with these ladies, and the truth of it was, I was already planning this blog. Seriously, why “have it out” there when you can offer it to the world on a plate in a blog?

Our Boys Don’t Have a Grandma

Darrell, Grandma Pat, Grandpa David and Cadel
My mum, dad, me and my first born son…
July 2009, off memory.

It is funny – by funny I mean coincidental – but just this morning as I was hanging out a load of washing I was think about writing a blog about how the weirdest things make me think about both my mum and my mother-in-law. You see, my mother died in 14 days before our first born son’s first birthday and my mother-in-law died 35 days before our youngest son’s first birthday. But as I was hanging out the washing, I hung up a jumper that I am fairly certain my mother-in-law bought for our eldest. Look, it doesn’t matter if she did or not, but I thought about her and her generosity, and having that happy memory of her is the point I am trying to make.

I miss them. Both of them.

A month after our first son was born in 2008, I was made redundant from the job that I had. Publicly I blame the Global Financial Crisis, privately there’s more to it. After a few months of looking for a new job my mother-in-law suggested that I don’t restrict my search to the Big Smoke and that I should consider looking further abroad, maybe closer to where she lived. My wife grew up in a regional city which is 254 kilometres (158 mi) west of Sydney. I took a job in sales and had a territory greater than the country of Liechtenstein and almost as big as the Maldives. It was a vast area with some customers almost an hour from each other, and some days I was travelling more distance before lunch than what I did in a whole week working in a major city.

During those long drives between customers, I would put my phone on speaker and have conversations with my mum. Sometimes it would be almost an hour of travel to get to the small town where I was due to call on less than half a dozen customers before driving some incredible distance to the next small town, or head back to the office to do some paperwork. It was not uncommon for me to speak to her twice or three times a day and the conversations could go from a “quick” ten minutes or that whole hour long trip. And this was every single day that I worked out in the country.

Off the Reserve Bench: Mother-In-Law, You’ve Been Substituted Into the Game

After my mum died there was a hole in my heart.

I am still in sales now but living back in Sydney. While I am out on the road I talk to my dad. We can talk a few times a day too. We bounce ideas for things we are working on off of each other. I talk “shop” with him as he spent his entire life in sales too before he retired and I can draw from his years of learned wisdom.

With the absence of my own mother, and just because being such a great distance from us I could handle talking to her on the phone rather than having her “drop in unannounced” like I hear so many other mothers-in-law do. Sometimes we could have long conversations, sometimes just a quick chat. Working shift work most often nights  (she was a nurse) it was sometimes hard to get in touch with her during the day, but when she called me back it was always at the right time. In all honesty, she could be a pain in the butt sometimes, but to have her complain to me about the long and arduous shifts she had just completed, or how such-and-such was ruining this and that just one more time, that would be awesome.

Words With Friends Mum

My brother-in-law, my wife’s sister’s husband, would definitely argue against that “saying” too. He loves his mother more than anything. I know this. Every night, or sometimes, any opportunity he gets, he whips out his iPhone and opens up the game Words With Friends and takes his turn against his mum. He doesn’t play against anyone else, he has other priorities. He just plays against his mum. He might not admit it, but I am sure he wouldn’t argue the point with me; it is less about the game, it is less about the competition, it is more about the connection with his mum. Living 250 kilometres (150 mi) from his parents, I am sure that those brief moments when he is looking down at that screen and seeing the player name his mother has picked as her avatar, I am sure he is not thinking “take that mum, 50 points. Eat my shorts…” It is not about the competition…

A son is a son ’til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

I prefer my rhyme.

I miss my mum, I really do. I also miss my mother-in-law too…


5 thoughts on “Not a Mummy’s Boy, But Always Her Son

    1. And as a Modern Man of the Cloth, would you attribute the rhyme with that passage from Mark which some people do, or would you think it (the Bible passage) is merely promoting that the son really needs to leave home and be a good husband notwithstanding that he is also still his parents’ son? That’s my take on it.

      1. I think the passage is descriptive rather than prescriptive. A lot of son’s tend to shift their focus from their family of origin to their new nuclear family.

        I think the bible is saying the bond between husband and wife is so strong that it supersedes parental bonds. Which is think is more or less right, and when that isn’t the case that is where you can see a lot of wife and mother-in-law clashes.

  1. Great post! I disagree… with you. Mostly because I`m in a rather unique position. I am the youngest of 4 Boys. My wife is the 2nd of 5 girls. Her mom (well, mostly her dad) can get the 5 girls to show up no problem once a week. My divorced mom has to contend with all the wives and every time she want to plan a dinner, as they all have to check with their parents first. The parents of boys just have it harder. Here is another saying for you: “Happy wife. Happy life.“ And most men get this. Most moms of sons get this too as they feel useless (or used to feel useless) after the birth of a baby (my wife actually preferred having my mom in the room to her own). Mostly, I think it`s that wives are more often the long-term planners in most families still and they organize the calendar (birthday parties, play dates, when your mom is going on vacation), and thus guys don`t even know where they are going until the night of. And THAT is why this saying is more-often-than-not true. But Great post, again. – Adam

    1. With my first wife it was a bit like that; whatever her family’s plans were at Christmas time might have been the “go to” for plans and what my family wanted to do was secondary. But mostly we planned joint things. Only living a short drive from my parents when we first moved out, I would go back there at least once a week but when they moved away then it became a call at least every second day but we’d only see them once a month. But then her parents moved 2.5 hours away so that worked out nicely as far as only seeing them four times a year and seeing my parents more often.

      When I started a new family (and luckily there were no kids with the first one) there was a balance between both parties leaning more towards my family as my wife’s family is either 3.5 hours west of the city or 2 hours north. But distance makes the heart grow fonder, so it is nice to see them when we do get the chance.

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