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Mother to son: There's a vast difference between 'mansplaining' and 'momsplaining'

If a woman want to be spoken to as if she's a child, she'll head to the auto mechanic for a dose of "mansplaining."
If a woman want to be spoken to as if she's a child, she'll head to the auto mechanic for a dose of "mansplaining."

Well, I never thought it would happen to me – a strong, forceful, competent woman — but yesterday my son attempted to “mansplain” in my presence.

At first, I was incredulous. Had my 21-year-old taken a fall? Was he concussed? Because there had to be an explanation for his behavior beyond the obvious conjecture that he had a death wish.

How he thought, that I, still being of sound mind and body and female, would welcome his lecture disguised as chit-chat baffled my maternal mind.

About three minutes into his “splaining” I stopped him mid-sentence, gave him some serious side eye and asked, “Do you realize your mansplaining to your mother?”

He looked confused and attempted to defend himself by saying that we were just “having a conversation.”

I sighed and told him that a conversation is two-sided and usually not perceived as one person talking down to another. He still didn’t get it and that’s when I had to have “the talk” with him.

I thought we had already covered this territory in, I don’t know, high school, but apparently, it didn’t sink in.

I slowly began to explain that no women – ever – needs anything explained to with air of condescension because if we wanted that we’d go to an auto mechanic and ask a specific question about our car repair bill.

When I finished this mother-son talk I expected a thoughtful response and a thank you, but instead I got a “right back at you.”

As in “maybe you should take your own advice.”

I look confused and asked, “What does that even mean?”

He laughed saying, “Mom, you're the queen of talking down to people, but even worse than that you add in an over-share, making it awkward and creepy.”

I was furious. I had no idea what he was eluding to. I’ll admit I love a good over-share. I feel like the over-share has gotten a bad rap recently. In many cases the over-share serves as a very meaningful conversation starter.

To defend myself I stated that my over-shares bring people together. “

“Yeah, as in people come together to talk about you.”

I proudly retorted that I made peace with people talking about me a long time ago because stuff like that happens when you’re fascinating (or at least that’s what my dad always told me). So, there’s that.

I then adroitly zig-zagged to his other statement that I’m condescending, which, I’m not. I emphatically announced that I’m very sensitive to being condescended to which renders me unable to condescend to others. I then asked for empirical evidence of me being condescending.

He rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, I don’t know try the last 5 minutes of this conversation.”

And then it hit me. This poor child was mistaking motherly superiority with being patronizing. I dutifully explained that always knowing what’s best for one’s family and sharing those unfiltered thoughts isn’t condescending it’s called being a mom — as in mother knows best.

"So," he said, smiling, "if you’re, as a mother, a child’s primary role model, and we grow up with you, let’s call it 'momsplaining' or 'mom-descending' than doesn’t it make sense that we would emulate this. So maybe mansplaining is just an off shoot of momsplaining?"

With that ridiculous statement, I had no choice but to announce to my son that he had about 10 seconds to vacate the premises because I was about to leave momsplaining and head straight to full on crazy mother.

Yep, that scared him. He ran right out of the house. Good luck, mansplaining that.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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