I absolutely love being a mom. I honestly believe that motherhood was God’s personal gift to me which lifted me from self destructive behaviors and a feeling of worthlessness. Nothing says “I need you” quite like the voices of your innocent children. Not only am I a mom, I’m also the mother of two, a boy and a girl. It’s very true that there are differences in gender and I’m thankful for the opportunity to observe those differences first hand. I never had a brother so it’s interesting to see my son and daughter interact.
Their personalities are so different. Whereas, my son is very thoughtful and thinks ahead, my daughter tends to be a tad bit more selfish, sometimes downright diva-like. lol!
For the most part, I believe that my children behave age appropriately. What I mean by that is although I recognize my children are not always angelic, their sometimes naughtiness is not what I would consider to be a major issue. I’m still able to control them. There’s no biting, scratching and spitting going on. lol! Nobody has set anyone or anything on fire and sadistically laughed about it.
My children are ok.
I consider myself to be a good, loving parent and for the most part, I try to look out for every single need of my children, particularly their mental and physical health.
But I had no idea that my son’s gender identification would become my sole responsibility and burden.
Let’s face it. Few moms wake up in the morning with a check list of “boy specific” rules to follow. We find ourselves instinctively gravitating to the things our children show interest in. My son LOVES cars and trucks which makes my life so much easier because there are some moms with boy children who want dolls and wear the color pink.
But the thing that I find disturbing is that both single and married moms are finding themselves in the cross hairs when it comes to the behavior of their little boys. As I stated just a second ago, my son likes cars and trucks 90% of the time. But for maybe 10% or less, he wants to comb mommy’s hair while I braid his sister’s hair. He and his sister play in my closet and occasionally, he’s been known known to slip on my shoes. If his dad ever caught wind of this, there would be hell to pay and of course, it would be my fault that his son wasn’t displaying manly qualities at all times. REALLY?
Okay folks. Let me weigh in on the whole subject of gender roles and children.
I heard on the news today that a famous clothing catalog featured an ad of a mother painting her young son’s toenails a bright shade of pink.
I don’t think that’s cute.
At all.
Whereas I don’t advocate disciplining a child for showing interest in another gender’s activities or apparel, there is no need to encourage or even support this type of behavior in small children. When my son walked out of my closet in my shoes, he was disciplined, not for being a little boy in women’s shoes but for making a mess of my shoes and strewing them all about the house. There’s a difference. When he asks me if something is “for boys” or “for girls”, I answer clearly. My daughter also asks the same questions. My son has watched me painting my toes before and asked if he could paint his. After saying, “No”, that was the end of it.
I do realize that there are some children who this answer will not satisfy. There are little boys who want to wear girls clothing and BE little girls, not just imitate what appears to be interesting and fun for one sibling and not the other.
As a single mom, I don’t harp on my son about being a “little man” or exhibiting masculine characteristics. He’s doing that quite well on his own. My job is to be a guide and that’s what I do. When he plays with his sister and picks up her doll, I don’t freak out. She’s his only playmate. I don’t freak out when she zooms through the house with one of his toy cars. When he puts on my shoes, I ask him calmly to remove them. I don’t lecture him about why it’s wrong for little boys to wear women’s shoes. He’s five and I doubt he’d rake good notes anyway.  I just stand my ground and do my job as mommy. For him, all he needs to know at this point is that mommy says yes or no to certain things and his little life goes on and he finds something else to do.
What gets me is when men who put the “single” in single mom and were the creators of the uber-degrading title “babymama” are often the biggest critics of how women raise their sons. EXCUSE ME?! That I don’t get. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to actually DO your job than to sit up and criticize someone forced to fill in for you?
And let’s face it. If it did not take the contribution of both parents to ultimately raise a balanced human being, God would have never structured it that way. We’d lay eggs in the sand, cover them and walk away. lol!
It can be scary to think that the burden of establishing a male child’s gender identification rests solely on your shoulders as a mom but fear is not from God. He has given us the grace to make it this far. Certainly, with His counsel and wisdom, it is possible for a woman to raise a responsibly masculine man.
There’s so much more to the makings of a man than how big his trucks are and how far he can pee and spit.
Character and integrity are the foundation of strong men. That’s something that both parents can and should contribute to.
So yea, it may be a bad idea to paint your son’s toes and show him how to apply lip gloss, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting him explore and guide him. It’s my job to show my children the path. It will one day be their choice to decide whether or not they will continue their journey on it.