Over the past month I have come to realize how the most beautiful, most special and the most important people in the world are women, and specifically mothers. My belief is if we treat women with more love and respect we will impact the world in a very positive manner.
When I think about the word “masculine” I think about all the men around the world and how they are all masculine in their own way. I think about men that are practicing martial arts with a fight/self-defense focus, whether it is karate, judo, jiu-jitsu or any other art. These are the most masculine of all. Being born in the Gracie family, I was surrounded by extreme masculinity at a young age. As a result, I feel that my views and opinions of women were a little twisted growing up. Primarily that the man is the boss and then the woman. Growing up I sometimes noticed men doing and saying things to and about women that, today, show me the lack of respect and equality. The woman should stay home cooking and cleaning; today I very much enjoy staying home cooking and cleaning. The man makes money and the woman does not; when my wife has an opportunity to make money, I encourage it. Through every year of my life and to this day, I have heard men mock, lie, tease, belittle, and place themselves above women and I completely understand why. The same way a child bullies another because of insecurities, men bully women. Keep the women down and we will stay on top. Growing up I was a victim of these insecurities and made fun of a few girls in my time. Today I also have to be very aware of jokes that I tell and not unconsciously attack women or anyone negatively for that matter.
This brings me to the talk of how men and sometimes women refer to other women as “housewives” & “stay-at-home moms.” I am not certain, but when I hear the term, “She’s a house wife,” or “A stay-at-home mom,” I feel like it is not said with enough appreciation and with a small amount of judgment. Its almost as if that woman has it easy or that she is not strengthening the image of women by not following a career.
We can agree that, more than ever before, society is accepting that women are equal to men, yet, there are still some who give the impression that this is not true. This, I believe, is largely what causes women, who would otherwise be perfectly happy as a stay-at-home mom, to feel pressured to go find a job with hopes of bringing some significance in the eyes of others. I believe that because we do not uplift the housewife or give it a status symbol, like a model or TV celebrity, many women do not aspire to have this role. Recently, one of my students informed me that, in Japan, when a mother works outside the home, she is asked “Why?” as if they are confused. And when a woman says she is a “stay-at-home mom” people are impressed and give them the utmost respect.
Last month I was fortunate enough to become a father to a beautiful baby girl. What I’ve witnessed so far is unbelievable. Everything from peeing to pooping to crying to more crying to spitting up to farting to runny noses to burping to feeding to bathing to diapers to lack of sleep and most importantly a huge responsibility that brings so much significance and joy to everything that I do. What caught me most off guard since becoming a father is how every time I go to work I feel like I’m on vacation. Keep in mind that my job involves me getting thrown to the ground, arm locked, choked, crushed and more. I believe that most men who have a child quickly realize that there are few things more demanding than caring for a child.
I believe that if we acknowledge the truth, and we treat women with more respect, it will reduce their need to prove their equality, which needs no proving. The truth is we could not be more equal, and women could not be more valuable. A female should grow up feeling so equal that she does what she feels like doing, not what society pressures her into doing. If she wants to work, great! If she wants to manage the home, wonderful! If this could happen, I imagine more women would decide to stay home and dedicate all their time and energy to the home and child because that is a child of the future.
-Men: First thing that we have to do is “keepitplayful,” tap out, and treat every woman like you want your mother, sister or daughter to be treated. If you think one day you would like a wife that will take care of you and your children, start acknowledging that the mother’s job is the most important job in the world. Realize how fortunate you would be if you found a woman that could see the value in taking on the role of a mother 100%. If you already have a “housewife” or “stay-at-home mom,” be extremely grateful that you are able to provide for the family while she stays home and puts her dreams or career on hold. Remember, compared to full-time parenting, any job is a vacation. I say vacation yet I am very aware that the weight that is carried by the one providing is also a big one.
-Stay at home dads: Now that I have a daughter I am beginning to envy you. As much as I love my job, nothing brings me greater joy than looking after my little jiu-jitsu princess. I am happy that you have an arrangement that works for your family. Make sure to teach your children the Gracie bullyproof program from home.
-Working Mothers: Keep up the great work! I am very aware that you have a lot on your plate and your income might be necessary for the household. On a separate note, I understand that, like me, you get so much satisfaction from your job/career that working is like therapy. I am excited for the day when my wife and I feel it is best for her to go back to work.
-Stay-at-home Mothers: Never for one moment feel that what you are doing is not enough, and don’t feel like there is a rush to get back to the work force. I could not ask anything more from my wife than for her to put her career on hold and give all her time and energy to our daughter in her years of infancy.
Being part of the largest martial arts family in history that is primarily male dominated and super masculine I am so grateful to not only have a wife that is so feminine but to now have a daughter that will hopefully one day be a wife and a mother. Everything happens for a reason, I feel like more than ever it is my responsibility to be an example of how to treat women. Everything starts with appreciation and I have never been so appreciative.
To all the mothers around the world, thank you for your love and patience. Happy Mothers Day!
Thank you to my mom for teaching me so much about how to love. Happy Mothers Day!
Thank you to my wife for starting this journey with me, the love you give our daughter is so beautiful and I could not ask for anything more. Happy Mothers Day!