Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boy mothering

I am the mother of two sons, almost 3 and almost 5 (I didn’t plan well – I have 2 birthdays, a wedding anniversary and Christmas all in the next 3 months). #familyplanningfail

When I was younger and hubby and child-free I always wanted three children – two boys then a girl. I actually didn’t much focus on the husband aspect, given that I always knew it was easier to fall pregnant than to find a male to want to spend the rest of my life with. Fortunately for all involved I found one (in hindsight single-motherhood is not something to opt into if given a choice). I imagined that the two older boys would be the protector of their younger sister – pseudo-bodyguards of a sort.

So life goes on, meet lovely man, fall pregnant, have son, get married, fall pregnant, have another son. Second son not a sleeper, little high maintenance and within 6-8 weeks I turn to husband and say ‘you need a referral to a surgeon, get that thing snipped – we are not going again’.

There was NO argument.

And I wonder sometimes how I’d cope with a third child (answer: I would but probably not well) and especially a girl. I’ve been a girl. It’s tough. I’m glad I don’t have to raise one. In wanting sons perhaps I remain blissfully ignorant about what it takes to raise boys. I probably thought it was a little like husbands and dogs – keep them fed and rub their tummy occasionally.

Whatever awaits me, I know it isn’t as easy as that – I’ve read Steve Biddulph’s ‘Manhood’ (and there is another book about raising sons given to me by my mother-in-law somewhere – she must think I need the help). I have the usual fears about boys and their increased penchant for risk – fast cars, faster women but overall I am loving the boy mothering. Here’s why:

• I’m the special one in our family. The only one without a ‘doodle’. Thankfully they haven’t asked for a name for what I do have, they just point at my absence (I could write a whole feminist essay on this quoting all the relevant French theorists, but I can’t be arsed). I am the ‘other’ but am happy with it in this instance.
• I get to show them and teach them about the right way to treat women. Politely and respectfully. I will soon teach them that diamonds are the answer to every problem.
• They like being physical – running, jumping, lifting, wrestling, playing in mud – they make full use of the bodies they are given and are sensible risk takers.
• They’re extremely happy in their own skin. Mostly naked. Sadly most of the funny things they do is when they’re naked which means I can’t share it with their family over the www because one or the other of us could be arrested.
• They have good imaginations – they ‘fish’ off the top of the rainwater tank – not into the tank which is fully enclosed, please don’t send DOCS.
• They don’t panic or get too frightened of anything. The other month our property caught fire, slowly moving up the hill. While the Rural Fire Service put out the fire, my boys were demanding crumpets with honey and the making of a Thomas the Tank Engine track. If two fire trucks and 8 firefighters don’t get their attention I’m not sure what will. But we don’t have any nightmares.
• They’re just as happy to get a $2 Hot Wheels car as anything else. Cheaper and healthier than lollies – although slightly more difficult to pass through the digestive system
• They like to ‘help’. No #1 son thinks he’s old enough to work the microwave and the electric frying pan. No #2 son thinks he has the knife skills of a Japanese Tepanyaki chef. However, he also loves to clean the toilet with the toilet brush (score 1 for Mum!). Turns out Toilet Duck isn’t a childproof bottle.

For all the arguments, roughing up and aggressiveness that can sometimes be the life of boys, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Seeing the gentleness of my boys with each other and with their friends, and for all the cuddles, kisses and raspberries on my tummy – for all this I am a grateful boy-mother.


  1. I'm a girl-mother. And I reckon we are both very lucky! Girls-boys same-same, but different!

  2. I've got two boys, six and three, and I love it too. Now I'm not sure what I would have done with a girl if I'd had one. I think with kids you love what you have, right? But I'm also worried about fast cars and fast women. Fortunately, I've got a few years before either enter our lives. Great post!

  3. I have blue ones as well. But I feel one might turn out rainbow. xo