All babies present their own set of challenges, but they also bring a unique sense of tremendous joy. Tickle fights? Awesome. Explosive diarrhea? Not so much. While it's important to recognize that gender is a social construct, and that children and/or adults may later realize they’ve been misgendered at birth, I think it's also worthwhile to acknowledge how assigned gender influences our kids in a number of ways.And when I asked moms to share what they love most about raising boys, their sweet and celebratory responses simply proved that while every kid is different, there are some commonalities we can all appreciate and enjoy.
I’m the mother of a young boy myself, and because I assigned him male at birth I know that he has been treated a certain way by society. For example, his family and friends gifting him blue and neutral-colored clothing, or sending him "boy toys" like cars and trucks and sporting goods. I also know that he’s becoming more and more observant of the world, and noticing how boys are treated differently than girls. I think my favorite part about raising my boy, though, is teaching him again and again how much gender stereotypes are for the birds. I love that he enjoys making necklaces with me and I love how he’s always willing to have dance parties with me. I love that he is happy playing with cars and Legos, even if they’re in “traditionally girly” colors like pink and purple.
I also love checking him when I notice some useless gender norms getting in the way, like when he says boys can’t wear dresses and makeup. I relish opportunities to nip this outdated way of thinking in the bud, and have constructive, age-appropriate conversations with my son. Basically, I love that I have the opportunity to raise a boy that grows to be a happy, confident, well-adjusted adult who understands the need for social change and social justice. But I know I'm not the only "boy mom" who loves her job, so I asked other moms to share what they loved most about raising their sons and, well, prepare to get hit square in the feels:
“I have three sons. I love the sense of adventure and their gallantry. I also love their softness and sweetness, and bringing it out in a world that expects boys to be made of stone.”
“I have two boys. I love teaching them to be wonderful human beings and how much they love their mommy.”
“When I was growing up, I was, what we called in the '80s, a tomboy. I felt like I was dissuaded from indulging in my interests because they weren't girly enough. Being a mom of two boys gives me the opportunity to reboot my childhood and play in the mud, climb trees, play LEGO, and fart with abandon.”
“When I realize that it’s really no different than raising girls. Stereotypes about gender are totally not accurate in my house.”
“Mine always made me laugh. Like the time I caught him, when he was maybe 2, standing on a chair with the fridge door open. He was picking up eggs and dropping them on the floor. Had already done a half dozen before I caught him. But I had to laugh. He said he was dropping bombs.”
“I came from a family of girls, but I'm not in shock over here. Kids are kids. My son plays with the same bucket of LEGO my sister and I had. He likes to have his nails painted, each one a different color. I love building wooden train tracks with him and I'm sad that he has no interest in baby dolls. The best thing is that he's his own person doing things his own way.”
“Before getting married and having two sons, I probably spent 90 percent of my time with girls and women. So I have enjoyed learning about boys, thinking about what it means to be a boy or a man, what their traditional roles have been in society and how that is changing. I think I understand men and boys far better than I did before.”
“So much to love. I love that I can be the example for them on how to interact with a female, love a female, learn about females, help them accept emotions and accept themselves, etc. I love how silly everything is, and how funny farts are, and how little boys really seem to bring out the silliness in everything!”
“I love my son’s kindness to people, even people he doesn’t know. I love his personality and he’s got such an imagination. [I love the] silly comments he makes, and his relationship with his father. I love seeing them play together, and he always has a smile on his face. But mostly, I love how he always needs me, and I know when he gets older it will be less.”
“They love to wrestle me, doesn’t matter that I’m a girl. And they are so loving and love to cuddle. At this age, they choose me over dad all day, everyday... and I eat it up!”