Sheesh… as if I don’t carry enough weight on my shoulders already, just add more. That’s not to say that my husband isn’t going to be an amazing role model, because he is. But he can’t offer them a woman’s perspective, and my boys don’t have sisters who they’ll be able to confide in and ask questions when they’re older. So really, it’s up to me to provide them with a strong base and give them the knowledge and confidence to know how to treat girls properly and with respect while still being able to stand up for themselves.
In today’s day and age, it’s a fine line between being emotional and in touch with your feelings and being a bully. How do I ensure that my boys are confident while being emotionally intelligent? I want them to learn how to properly treat their friends that are girls, who will become their future girlfriends and maybe even future wives.
I plan on teaching them what a real woman’s body looks like. Not the super-model, air brushed, I starved myself for days women who grace the covers of magazines. Instead, I’ll show them my body whenever I can. As most mothers know, there is no alone time, including shower or bath time. Meaning, the boys often see me naked. They see me with all of my imperfections. Not only will I show them what a real woman’s body looks like, I want to show them that I love it, even if in my head I curse my tummy and thighs, my nose and curly hair. So when their future wives complain about their bodies, they will earnestly speak up and say that they love them just the way they are.
Our boys are definitely “boy boys”. They love cars, sports and roughhousing. My oldest son wouldn’t even look at a doll, let alone hold or play with one. Playtime among my oldest two includes hockey, rolling around the bed wrestling or racing around the house. I’m not sure they even know what quiet time means. While I’ve learned to embrace this lifestyle, I’ve also learned that it’s important to let them know when enough is enough and when hitting, which started off as play fighting, has gone too far. Often, my oldest son gets so fired up he ends up hitting someone. While his hits are not hard, it’s only a matter of time before they get stronger. It’s important for my husband and I to teach him that it’s not okay to hit, even if he’s being “gentle.” We teach him about personal space and provide him with alternative ways to let out his energy and / or aggression. Most importantly, we focus on explaining to him that if someone says “stop” or “that’s enough”, he must listen and respect their request. This is a lesson that I hope he remembers through adulthood and most importantly, when he interacts with the opposite sex.
I also find that my oldest son is curious about the female body. While I don’t want to hide anything from him, I want to teach him about boundaries. It’s good to know the real words for both the male and female body parts, but it’s not okay to shout them out randomly whether we’re at home alone or out in public. While I let him see me naked often, it’s not okay for him to touch my female parts. Most importantly, I want him to stop when I tell him to stop. I hope that by listening to my needs he’ll grow up to respect the needs and requests of other girls.
I want my sons to be strong, independent and self-assured, but I also want them to respect others, especially girls. As a mother of boys, it’s my hope that I raise boys who are sweet and kind yet strong willed; gentlemanly yet determined; affectionate yet respectful; emotional yet maintain high self esteem. I know that hope alone isn’t enough, and that’s why it’s important for me to take the time to show, act accordingly and teach. After all, I am my sons’ first female role model.
Maya Fitzpatrick is a SAHM of two very high-energy boys with a third on the way. She blogs about the ups & downs of parenting, their family travel adventures, health & wellness tips, and family-friendly product reviews & giveaways. Join her and her family on this crazy, yet fun, adventure they call life at www.mayahoodblog.com.