Wednesday, 18 September 2013

I'm A Boy Mama

I was fascinated by a blog post called '10 Ways to Embrace Being a Mother of Boys" by Chelsea on the Moments A Day site (if you're not familiar take a peek - it's a fabulous parenting resource). She is the mother of two boys and experienced gender disappointment firsthand. Go take a read of the post, I'll wait; I've lots to do in the meantime....

Done reading? So, if you're the mother of boys, and solely boys, does the article resonate with you? Did you always envision you would have a daughter one day?

When I read Chelsea's post I sat with my mouth open, never having contemplated that being a mum to only boys could need some getting used to and extra work. It never crossed my mind that a job as mama could be made tougher by the fact that you're the only female in the house.

And never having dwelt on the fact that parenting only boys requires a mind shift for some I guess I hadn't really thought in depth about how I feel being a mama to three boys. Until now.

Photo Credit: Shannon Pifko
I can honestly say I love being a boy's mama. I can't imagine being the mother of three girls. Or a mixed bunch. Aside from the fact that I have had nearly two years to get used to being the only female in the house, I don't feel like the odd one out.

When I was pregnant for the third time I had a sneaking suspicion I was carrying a baby that would give me a trio of young males to mother. The twenty week scan showed my hunch was right. Was I secretly hoping for a girl? In all honesty, I thought it might be nice to have a little girl to add to the pair of boys I already had but when the sonographer said, "clearly a boy," I wasn't disappointed. It wasn't a surprise. And I liked the idea of another little boy - plus it made our hectic life that little bit easier as our ready supply of boys clothes was endless and boys toys already filled our home already.

Once he was born I had a fair few people saying,

"Oh, another little boy is also okay."

As if there was a possibility that it actually wasn't. For us a third boy was no way a disappointment - we could already vouch for the fun you can have raising little boys. Three boys was more than okay with us.

Then we had a run on questions like,

"Will you try for a fourth? For a girl?"

Er no. We're okay thanks.

When I read Chelsea's piece on it being hard to be a parent to only boys it started me thinking. Why don't I have a problem with having three children who are all the opposite gender to me?

I think it's because I wasn't really a girly girl. At least not as a teenager. My best friends from age fifteen onwards were generally male. Not in a tomboy way, but I preferred their straight talking, honest company. I have one brother. No sisters. In short, I've been more comfortable in the company of males for as long as I can remember.

Photo Credit: (StockXchng) Melodi2
So the leap to being comfortable as the mother of three males wasn't such a big one I guess. I would much rather be on the floor chugging a Thomas the Tank engine round the tracks than singing a K3 song into a toy microphone (if you don't know what I mean with K3, count yourself lucky). Pink bedrooms, dolls houses and Hello Kitty doesn't stir any wistful longing for female company at home. Plucking stones and sticks from jeans pockets before they head into the washing machine is okay with me. Kicking a ball around is fine too. Probably because I really like football, it was me, not my husband that was part of football team growing up. I spent my childhood standing on football terraces. Football has been a part of my life for more decades than I care to admit. So kicking a ball around with my sons? No problem at all.

I'm certainly not saying being the mother to boys only is easy. It's not. In her post, Chelsea has great tips for connecting to sons if it doesn't come naturally. I struggle with the endless questions on topics outside my remit like dinosaurs, Spiderman, volcanoes and bugs. Google has become my best friend. And believe me I'm dreading the teenage years which will hit before we know it. Testosterone everywhere. I'm guessing moody, pimply, hormonal males in the house may not be the most fun you can have as a mother...... but I know from experience a teenage girl is no more an inviting prospect than the one I face - my own mum will testify to that!

Of course, there are advantages to being the only female in the house. The girly things I want to do means I get to have me time, like a monthly escape for a facial for example whilst the boys drag their father skateboarding and to train museums.

And I take heart in the fact that we, mothers of boys, have the chance to show and teach our sons about what are considered in society to be feminine traits - like it's okay to cry, to show emotion, to not like rough, physical contact on the school playground. We can help shape their sensitivities and be role models to our sons, not accepting the stereotypical view of boys that society tends to have. That's our important role whilst papa does the active stuff. (If you want an excellent read about sensitive boys then you can't go wrong with Ted Zeff's book - see affiliate link above.)

For now, whilst my three are so young, I'll take the toy cars and Lego over horses and pink jewellery boxes. I'll keep Googling about T-rexes and beetles and scouring the internet for a Spiderman costume. I'm more than contented with my lot and I guess if I'd have had three girls I'd probably be writing my own version of Chelsea's post....


  1. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a girl and then I remember I was awful as a teenager and had been very much a Tomboy due to the propensity of brothers in my house - I don't miss it as I've never experienced "feminization" of a home.... my mother wasn't a girly girl either. I think my son's lucky as he got a mum who knows boys and like's being friends with men. However in some ways I'm not preparing him for the onslaught of girly girls the flirting and manipulation that can happen... hopefully he'll meet a straightforward girl with lots of brothers :)

  2. That's another good point - my mum wasn't a girly girl either. My family life wasn't overly feminine - my mum kicked a ball around with rhe rest of us, we stood on the football terraces as a family. I just wasn't raised girly - i had a doll's house, dolls, played being teacher & shops just like anyone else but never turned into a girly teenager. I'm guessing my sons will feel the benefit of that :)

  3. Really interesting read - I do not have children yet, but have had friends in the same situation. We often discussed it but I did not fully understand it until now.

    Molly xo

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your article about this topic, and linking to mine :-) Experiences are so varied and for so many reasons, I love to hear different perspectives.

  5. While i am a mother of 2 girls, i can say i can relate to the article. I think having boys does take getting used to. When i was pregnant with baby monkey, everyone said i was having a boy, something i couldnt get my head round. I couldnt and still cant imagine myself with boys, funny isnt it.And thanks for the new blog to follow.

  6. Hi Rosalind, glad you can relate. I guess when you have two girls it is hard to imagine having a boy - the other way round for me! But had I had a girl I wouldn't have found it strange either - you get used to the gender you have. Curious what it would have been like to have a boy then a girl or the other way round - how different would it have been then?