Men do not cry, that is a phrase I have heard so many times. Before I had my son, these were words I would hear but they hardly moved me. Heard them from my friends when they would complain about their overly emotional boyfriends etc. Now that I have a child, a son to be specific, those words haunt me.
To give you a back story, a week ago, I found my maid telling my son that men do not cry. These words specifically
Mamuna salira, amalira ndi mkazi.
This means, “men do not cry, but women do.” In that instant, I froze. It never occurred to me that my son would be subjected to those words. I had never said them to him, neither had my mum. So, it came as a shock to hear such a phrase being said to him.
The first time, I never reacted. But then, I heard the same words being said the next time she was trying to calm him. Immediately, I told her never to say those words to him again. She was shocked about my reaction and told me that such words would make him be strong-hearted. That is what prompted this blog post.
Of Men Do Not Cry
I took some time to think about her reasoning, and also to think if I was overreacting. After a while, I realized that I actually was not, I was thinking sanely. And this is why…
As women, we tend to complain about men being emotionally absent. Most men do not know how to properly express themselves emotionally, and that is because they have been trained like that. And who does that training, we do.
They are trained from such a young age to suppress their feelings and emotions. They do not know to share but to keep them in and go through the pain alone.
When I sat down to think of the words that were being subjected to my son, I realized that this was not the route I wanted him to grow in. Making him aware of his feelings and emotions is not making him weak, but making him stronger.
There are a lot of men dying inside because they grew up being told that they cannot cry. It is sadder that even at funerals of their loved ones, they are expected to be the tough ones. They sit there with their dry eyes and emotionless faces.
All because society told them that women are the ones expected to be more emotionally in touch.
At that moment, I realized that I wanted a son that was emotionally present. A child with a big personality who can cry if he wants to. I did not want to raise a child that will suffer inside on his own just because if he shares his pain, he will be viewed as weak and a sissy.
I also realized that the reason we have children being abused by maids or others is that we raise them not to sound an alarm. Because we are teaching them to be tough in the wrong way.
It came as a learning moment that I have to be very aware of the things my maid say to my child. And very important to train them on how you would want to raise your child. Because they will bring in their thoughts based on how they raised their own.
I went ahead to ask some of my mom friends, specifically those raising sons to give me their thoughts. I will keep updating this post once all contributions are in. You can also chip in in the comments below:
Mommas Thoughts on Men Do Not Cry:
Vanessa Banda-Chidhumo from Reverence
It’s an area of conflict for my husband and me. I wish for my son to be more expressive emotionally. We cuddle a lot. When he cries most of the time, I try to understand why he is crying. But he says I’m spoiling him and it’s going to affect him when he’s around other kids.
I have now noticed that he is not rough like other boys, he’s more sympathetic and protective. I’m both proud and worried because he gets beaten sometimes and runs to me. My hubby will be like, see what I mean, he’s weak.
But in the end, I would rather have him be expressive than rough and tough. I would not want a depressed child hiding under toxic masculinity.
It is also the reason why more men commit suicide than women. Women have mastered the way to express thus owning control over their emotions.
Such words can affect a child in a huge way. It is important to allow your boys to be human, that’s what I do with mine. They cry if they have to.