Raising Little Boys Into Honest Men

My mom has always said, “the bigger the kid, the bigger the problem.” I didn’t really understand that until now–three kids deep and they’re all male.

But we live in a man’s world, right? This should be easy for them! They’ll be at the top of any corporate ladder they climb, they’ll for sure make more money than their female counterparts and the don’t have to worry about maternity leave because they’re not giving birth to babies! Horray!

Maybe it will be, maybe life will be full of wonderful opportunities and surprises and they’ll each be able to truly be who they want to be and do what they want to do. But you know what I can tell you for certain? If life is easy, it will be in spite of the lessons I’ll be sure to teach them. They’re not going to have things handed to them and they’re sure as hell not going to have a “macho man” complex. Want to know why?

Because that type of behavior is on its way out and it’s not welcome in my home. 

We live in a new era. One where I’m proud to see the changes, albeit small, small, smalllllll changes in society. We live in an era where I have this huge responsibility. Not just to myself, or to them. Not just to our family name but to society. I am raising little boys into honest men and the foundations I set at home are going to shape them into the men they’ll be in the future.

HOLY HELL.

I mean, all children grow up and become adults, right? So why freak out?

Well, little boys are cute. They think farts are funny, they like to play with dirt and they love their mommies. But then they grow up to be men and frankly, men grow up to do weird ass shit. I’m here trying to figure out what to make for dinner while simultaneously trying to figure out how to explain to my three year old that no means no. And not just for eating 16 Oreos at once, but for everything. No always means no. I’m trying to engrave in their brains that they need to respect every single person that is in their life, no matter in how small of a capacity, while also teaching them they shouldn’t take crap from anyone.

I’m here teaching them that they can cry in my arms or be upset if they feel left out. I’m teaching them that boys do cry but if they don’t want to cry that’s OK too. I’m teaching them that no one has the power to make them feel embarrassed about themselves except for themselves. If they fall and bump their knee, I run to them and let them cry in my arms. Crying is good–it’s a sign that you’re human and have emotions. But sometimes, when they don’t cry, I give them a high five and applaud them for being brave. So what message am I sending there? I need them to have emotional intelligence. Is anyone else suffering from this balancing act?

I mean, I wing it. I am the queen of winging it. But I can’t wing parenting. Not on this level, not when they have the potential to become people that we can’t stand. People who say they don’t believe in double standards until it’s being applied to them. I want the people who surround themselves with my kids later on in life to congratulate me on a job well done. I want my kids to be completely baffled by ignorant, selfish and racist people. I want my kids to be inclusive, sensitive, brave, sweet, funny, giving, respectful, all of the above. I want my kids to be happy and to understand that everyone is their equal. I want to do this so that when they’re grown, they’re good, honest men. Men you can depend on, men you can feel safe around, men you can love.

This is a lot of work for someone who can barely convince her son to say hi to people without turning into his alter ego “The Hulk”, but I’m trying just the same.

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