"Mom, when you get married do you have to love your wife more than you love your Mom?"
"No, you love them the same, just differently"
"I'm probably not going to get married then"
And just like that I was done. For life. Heart on fire.
My 3rd boy - he was 5 years old when he asked me this - the boy that when I was pregnant everyone would say, "awe, were you hoping for a girl?"
Side Note: Please don't say this to a woman who is having another baby of the same gender. First, it's rude and second, it's insulting to the child she is carrying inside of her. I remember feeling so defensive of my little man by the time I had him, constantly having to assure people that I was OKAY he was not a girl.
When my third son was about one I remember feeling totally outnumbered by these boys in my house. Outnumbered and overwhelmed not just from having ALL boys but also by the love that can only come from a boy when he looks at his Mom - I had this times 3.
I was also overwhelmed more often than not by the craziness, the wildness, the testosterone that accompanied all these boys literally from birth!
Why did they seem to grunt before using actual words?
How could every single object they picked up somehow be turned into a weapon?
Why did every great story they told end with someone dying?
Was it just MY boys or was it the case for most other Moms out there raising boys too?
How were my husband and I going to raise these boys to be well mannered and all around awesome humans without losing OUR minds in the process?
Because in the big picture, that's what we ARE doing. We aren't just taking care of our boys - we're raising boys who will turn into young men who will turn into grown men. Boys who will likely one day become Fathers and Husbands.
So not to put TOO much pressure on ourselves, but if we look at it that way than MAYBE we will look at how we are raising our boys differently.
Maybe if we look at it as raising future husbands, fathers and all around good people we would change our game plan.
My husband and I raise our boys in what some might call a more traditional way. Boys and Girls are different for a reason. Equal? Yes. The same? No.
Chivalry is alive and well in our home and I wouldn't have it any other way.
If I ever saw my son walk through a door without holding it open for a girl I may literally faint of despair.
If I ever saw my son watch an elderly person struggling to do something and they didn't offer a hand, I'm pretty sure they may LOSE THAT HAND at the hands of their loving Mom.
Do I expect my daughter to have similar behavior? Absolutely. But if she ever goes on a date with a boy who doesn't hold the door open for her I hope that she turns and runs.
I remember when I was growing up and my brother or I would complain to my Dad about a rule or punishment we thought was unfair we would say, "it's only because he's a boy" or "it's only because she's a girl." He would say, "you're right, it is, what's your point?"
Boys and Girls are inherently different - their genes say so from the beginning.
If you have a boy than you know that they can go from a ferocious super hero that wants zero help or affection from you one minute to a cuddly mamas boy laying in your lap the next.
It's confusing I think, being a boy I'm sure. We raise them to be strong and tough, we put a football or hockey stick in their hand from the time they can walk. Before they are even talking we are teaching them "how to be a man."
When they fall down and scrape their knee we tell them to toughen up and keep going. When our girls fall down we scoop them up and tenderly hush them back to feeling better.
Whether we try or not, we DO treat them different from the beginning. Maybe you are someone who prides yourself on NOT treating them any different than you would a girl. Well that's great for you - for real. But society is treating them different, guaranteed.
And as they get older they learn that they will have to pay for what their predecessors did. These men before them that decided women couldn't vote, or work, or have equal pay.
These boys we are raising today are not the men who put these rules into place, we need to stop treating them as if they were.
Who Runs the World? Girls.
Where do the boys fit into all of this? It shouldn't make them less important should it?
How do we raise our boys and help them navigate their way though childhood into adulthood without feeling like lifting women up means letting themselves be put down?
Of course it's possible to do both. How?
We set an example. There is no better way to teach behavior than to exhibit it yourself.
"Ladies first", "No hitting girls", "Respect your Mother" - all rules in our house and all exhibited by their Father every day.
We have always had very clear lines with them (all of our kids really but the boys always tend to push on those lines a little bit more) about what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
If they smell fear, they rebel, and quickly so always be steadfast in your decisions.