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There once was a boy whose favorite toy was a scale. He got it from his mom, a loud divorced woman who always showed her independence. He hoped that one day, he and his wife would never divorce. They would be aligned in everythingin perfect balancejust like his scale. One day, he grew up and became a man. He met a woman who told him he would marry her if he gave her the scale. He happily did and proposed. Everything she wanted, he did, and he felt they were aligned.

Five years passed, and he noticed the scale seemed out of balance. The man started to pay closer attention to it. Around the same time, he and his wife began having differing opinions, but when it happened, he didn’t mind.

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Time passed, and the man confirmed the scale was swaying more toward one side. But it was important to him that it was balanced since it was a gift from his mom and a gift to his wife.

He tried to fix it but could never get it to work properly again.

Ultimately, he and his wife did decide to divorce. The man was sad; she left him nothing but the scale. When he returned to his childhood home, his mom asked why he had divorced. He broke down, telling her how he and his wife started to have more arguments, and the man didn’t know why because everything she wanted, he did. He felt they were aligned. He even told his mom he gave her the scale and how when it broke, he couldn’t fix it.

His mom replied calmly . . . 

My dear son, the scale was not a toy, and it could never break. But it was stable when you married because you were stable. The scale is, and always will be, your beliefs. 

When you gave it to your wife and did everything she wanted, you willingly gave up your beliefs. What’s worse, in giving your wife the scale, you ironically robbed her of the right to be married to the man she fell in love with: the boy and his beliefs.

The man cried and admitted to his mom he did those things because he didn’t want to be like his mom in his marriage, loud and independent.

She smiled and told him . . .

When I married your father, I gave him my favorite toy, a bullhorn. He said if I did, he would have a child with me. I also thoughtjust like youthat I should do everything he wanted.

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When we had you, I gave you those scales. I wanted to give you the bullhorn, but by that time, your father couldn’t find it. Later, after we divorced, I realized people could barely hear me when I talked. I learned two things: to speak up so people could hear me and to learn to do things on my own in the event they could not. 

My bullhorn was my voice.

I wrote this in short story form about marriage to teach that you never know why someone acts the way they do, and you never know what someone once had to give up.

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Christine Michel Carter

Featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Christine Michel Carter is a best-selling author, award-winning advocate, and the #1 global voice for all moms⁣. She helps women navigate the significant impact of motherhood on their professional careers. She elevates the honest truths of working motherhood as a Senior ForbesWomen Contributor, the author of the children’s book Can Mommy Go To Work?, and the author of the adult novel MOM AF.

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