Boys Will Be Boys: A Mother’s Plea For Help.

Sigh.

I can’t wait to talk about my weekend trip to WOW Summit but this seems to be more pressing given the circumstances.

As many of us have, I have been watching the recent news about Donald Trump’s comments with horror.

Just as I read in horror the coverage of Stanford University’s Brock Turner.

Just have I have sat in horror reflecting many, many comments which are explained away with statements like “boys will be boys”.

Yes, boys will be boys.

As you may have noticed… I’m surrounded by quite a few boys.  In addition to having 4 boys of my own and having been married for 10 years, I have a father and a brother and grew up having many male friends. Regardless of whether or not I had any of those, I live in a society dominated by “boys”.

Boys Will Be Boys A Mother's Plea For Help - A Multifaceted Mama

Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about boys:

I have learned that fart jokes are almost always funny.

I have learned to tolerate a little rough housing as long as they move the coffee table out of the way first.

I know that no matter how much I clean the bathroom it might never matter.

I know that they may have trouble expressing themselves, or freeze when you do. Boys might say things that make your eyes roll, because it’s gross or dense or just plain annoying.

I know a lot girls like the above too.

But I know something else about boys:

I know that they can listen.

I know that they, like girls, look up to role models.

I know they can control their behavior.

I know they can control what they say.

I know they can think of others before themselves.

I know they can treat people with respect.

I know they can understand the meaning of the word ‘stop’.

I know they can be caring brothers, and fathers, and friends.

I know they can tell the difference between right and wrong.

I know they can be emotional.

I know they take cues from their parents and our society.

And I know that boys can live up to the expectations we set for them.

These are the type of boys that I hope my boys will be.

Every day as I raise my 4 boys I remember this. Every day there is some example, somewhere that I can set for them… and every day there is some example somewhere that makes that job more difficult.

Sure, we all have our flaws, but being a boy doesn’t have to be a flaw. Being a boy doesn’t mean that they will be vulgar, or disrespectful. It doesn’t mean that they can ignore people’s boundaries. It doesn’t mean they can take what they want without asking.

We TEACH them what being a boy means. Every day. We show them what it means when we give them passes for bad behavior because they are “just being boys”.  We teach them that it’s okay to behave poorly when they see other “boys” get away with it.

And so, I am asking you to help me.  Give my sons the credit they deserve. Don’t write them off, hold them to a higher standard.  Give them role models who set the example of who boys can be.  Help me show them that boys can be strong without being cruel and that kindness and strength are not mutually exclusive.

Hold boys, including mine, accountable. Start when they’re little. They can take it. Don’t let them get away with being less than what we know they can be. They are better than that. I promise you I will do my absolute best to make sure that my boys live up to the standard we set for them.

Help me teach them what it means to be a boy.  Because, yes, boys will be boys… but eventually these boys will become men.

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Raising boys. Boys will be boys.

I already have all the stuff.

It is now perfectly obvious that I’m pregnant. It’s no mistake, you can’t miss it.
A lot of people ask me if this is my first, and when I reply that it’s my third it eventually comes out:
I’m having another boy.

Three boys?!
Yes. Three boys.

And you know what? I’m looking forward to it.  No, I’m not crazy.

Here’s a typical conversation with a stranger, client, or acquaintance:

“Do you know what you’re having?”
“We’re having another boy”
“And your other two are…?”
“Both boys”
“Wow. Three boys. You’re going to be busy.”
“Yes, it should be lots of fun. We’re looking forward to it.”
“Whew. Well good luck. Do you think you’ll try again for a girl?”
“Thank you.  You know, honestly, I was hoping for another boy, so it all works out. If we decided to have 4 we’ll be trying for a 4th, not specifically for a boy or a girl”
Pause “well I guess that makes sense, I mean boys are easy, and you already have all the stuff”

I already have all the stuff?

Do people really hope for one gender or another because they already have the “stuff”?

I should say, I’ve always understood boys a little better than girls. I relate to them a little easier. I appreciate their humor and the way they look at life.  Admittedly, I was always a person who related to my male friends better than my female friends (if I had any) and it wasn’t until I became an adult and after I was married that I established more close relationships with women than with men. I’ve found having a house full of boys feels quite natural to me.

But not only do I have the “stuff” for boys… I actually like raising boys.
Yeah, the parenting part.

Now, I wouldn’t have been disappointed to have a girl either. I can see the appeal. Yes, the clothes are cuter. But also, it would be nice to have someone to “pass down” things that are unique to being a woman.  There is a bond there and I can certainly appreciate that.

At one time I imagined having a daughter, and teaching her to be a strong, confident, feminist woman.
And yet, it is just as important to start teaching our boys to be strong, confident, feminist men. It seems to me that raising boys who value and respect women is just as important than raising girls who assert themselves. Imagine if we put the same amount of effort into raising confident, feminist boys as we spent empowering our daughters.

So, I’ll take my thoughtful, affectionate, sweet and sometimes overly energetic boys. We’ll knock down the biggest block towers, build cities out of Legos read adventure stores and watch superhero movies.  I’ll break up the game war (where they kick each other until one of them cries), spot them when they use the bunk bed as a jungle gym, laugh at the fart jokes and play tag. I’ll comfort them after they’ve fallen doing exactly what I just told them not to, and occasionally, if I’m really feeling generous, we’ll even battle with action figures.

I’m ecstatic about having another one in the mix. I wouldn’t change it for a thousand tiny dresses.  I have plenty of things about being a woman that I get to pass on to them, just, in a different way.

And besides, I’ve already got the stuff.