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02nd Jan 2022

Raising boys: The beautiful words every boy mum needs to hear

raising boys

Up until the very moment my little boy was born, I was convinced I was only cut out to be a girl mum.

Also, to be fair, I genuinely though I would only ever have girls, as we really are a family where everyone just keeps having girls.

All throughout my pregnancy, I was certain that my little girl would be getting a sister, and that my husband and I would be welcoming yet another daughter. Even in the throws of labour, the midwife kept saying things like “she’ll be here soon” and “have you thought of a name for her?” Which, you know, did little to prepare me for the 10 lb 1 oz boy I then moments later gave birth to.

It was such a “what do we do now” moment – maybe more so for me, as my husband comes from a big family where they are half and half boys and girls, so I suspect he was less shocked than me that you can actually give birth to boys too.

I remember feeling a little worried. I only knew how to be a girl mum, I mean – girls I get, but boys? Boys are into all the things I am not, like football and diggers and dirt and – God forbid – wrestling and dinosaurs, and aren’t they always very loud and break things and what is up with the constant fiddling with their private parts?

I literally had several moments of panic before I (very quickly after he was put on my chest, all new and gorgeous and perfect) fell head over heels in love. And when I say that crazy in love feeling just got stronger from that moment, you’ll know what I mean.

I soon discovered that raising boys is pretty darn similar to raising girls. And that while a lot of the warnings are indeed true (the breaking things, the constant loud-ness, the love of dinosaurs and diggers), what they forget to tell you is that boys will love their mum so, so much. Literally – I wasn’t prepared for this, and it melted my heart in so many ways. Because sure, my little girl is also a mama’s girl and loves me, but my boy? I am his world. And it both amazes and scares me, this responsibility, raising him – and her – into the people I would like them to become.

I recently came across this lovely text by Kayla Friehe on Her View from Home, and it stuck with me. I think there is this presumption in society about boy mums that they will have to try for ‘the girl’ – as if raising boys isn’t quite enough. I have friends who are raising sons and they are forever asked when they’ll be trying to add a girl to the equation, and it must be both annoying and frusterating having to explain that they are happy with what they got – that raising boys –raising only boys – is pretty darn amazing.

Here is Friehe’s text in full:

God gave me sons

God gave me sons.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to shop for pink dresses, and oversized bows. To have tea parties or baby dolls scattered across the house. To feel the responsibility of raising a strong woman, in a world that sometimes feels built for men.

But, God gave me sons.

So I fold tiny superhero underwear and give daily reminders about putting the toilet seats down. There are trucks and tractors packed into every crevice of our home. Giggles when the slightest noise sounds like a toot, and moments where spontaneous wrestling matches break out, pretty much anywhere.

Yes, God gave me sons.

Sons to teach empathy, kindness, and love to. Sons to remind that the dishes, and the laundry, and the cooking and the cleaning are not just for a woman to do, but for a man as well. Sons to snuggle, so they know embrace is more than just something physical, and one sided—there is an emotional power that comes with touch. Sons that I can remind to be vulnerable because it’s one of the bravest things you can be. Sons to be husbands and fathers – ones who don’t walk away or quit when it gets hard. Sons to be men, to be respectful, responsible, and encouraging, no matter your race, gender, or beliefs.

That’s why God gave me sons.

Not because they needed me, but because I needed them. To remind me that sons need a mother’s strength, a woman’s love—because I will always be their first example of how treat a lady. I believe few things in life are more powerful than that.

God gave me sons, and if he ever gave me another, now I know why.