Emily Giffin once said, “A son is a son until he gets married, but a daughter is a daughter all her life.” As a mother of two sons and one daughter, I find this sentiment heartbreaking. I want my sons to be able to find the love of their lives and know that they are still a part of this family. There is no reason to choose their partner’s family over his. We are, unconditionally, always here.
By implementing this saying as a natural part of relationships, we are allowing our sons to believe that they have to pick one or the other. That it’s okay to put his family on the back burner. But it’s not okay. He shouldn’t have to decide between the two families. Why is the bond between his family less important than a daughter or partner and her family? It isn’t. But, society pushes onto our sons that they must make the sacrifices to prove themselves to this new family they are becoming a part of.
As a wife, I’ve been balancing the world of multiple families for over fourteen years. I couldn’t imagine pulling my husband away from his family to cater to the needs of my family. Is it tricky? In the beginning, it was. But, we’ve developed a union that works while maintaining meaningful relationships. Of course, there will be times when we feel compelled to decide between one or the other. But, these relationships are about more than holidays and birthday parties. It’s the moments in between.
So, why are we telling our sons that one day, the bond for his family will be less valuable? Our sons are pressured on first dates by dads joking that they know how to use a gun or threatening harm if things become physical. While none of these should be tolerated, it seems that our sons are doomed from the beginning when starting a relationship.
He’s repeatedly told, make a good example, and impress. He loses himself to this new family. As the relationship grows, we are no longer the first person he reaches out too. And, this is okay. As mothers, we need to understand that there will be a shift in the person that is providing the nurturing to our sons. We won’t be the first person that they reach out to when they’re sick or need advice. But this is about more than daily phone calls and texts. Our sons will be a part of us, forever. The relationship will shift and bend as he grows, and we will mold to the new dynamics.
Let’s stop telling them that they will need to choose. It’s equally important that parents recognize the importance that his family develop a relationship with the person in his life. Her family is not more significant. Partnerships should be about a harmonious balance. Let’s allow our sons to navigate these journeys without the pressures of deciding who deserves his love and time. After spending a lifetime of raising him, I’m okay with letting go and watching him create a family. But, I’m not okay with feeling like an afterthought to the family of his new partner.