Dear Boy-Moms… It’s a Big Job

Dear Boy-Moms,

We have a big job.  It’s a daunting task. To know we are raising someone’s future husband seems so far-fetched when they are little fella’s playing in the mud and building forts in our living room.  But our little boys grow up and become big boys and big boys become young men and young men become men who are fathers and husbands.  Our job goes beyond the walls of their childhood home- it reaches their school, their friends, their relationships and their view of the world.

Like I said, it’s a big job.

One of the most important parts of our mom-job is to raise men who respect women.  Period. Mic drop.

Kids absorb what they see and hear (think cute little sponges) and it’s critical they learn early on that respecting women isn’t an option, it’s an expectation. It’s our job to have those conversations with our sons that mold them into young men who remember that every girl is some one’s daughter and someone at home loves her dearly.  Women are not hoes or bitches. We are not sluts or skanks. We are treasures. Every girl and every woman deserves to be treated like the queen or princess she is. 

Before you attack me for comparing women to princesses, pause and think about it. Why do you think little (and big) girls love princesses? Because they want to be treated like one.  Because they want to feel special.  Because they want to feel beautiful.  Because they want to feel elegant and important.   Because they want to be the heroine of their own story. Wanting to be treated like a queen or princess is not a bad thing—I hope my daughter eventually finds a partner who makes her feel special and valued, like royalty.

Little girls become teenage girls and sadly, they eventually realize that life isn’t a fairy tale and that not everyone is charming or prince-like.  It’s a disappointing day when you find out not everyone thinks you are as fabulous and amazing as your family does. And when someone mistreats or disrespects you, it can be devastating.  This moment, often “forgotten” about minutes after it happens, can be life changing to the one who who experienced it. Feeling disrespected, devalued and damaged can have a major ripple effect in someone else’s life.

Like I said, it’s a big job.

I’m not trying to take away from the monstrous job Dad’s have, but our mom-job is vital.  We are the first woman they will ever love and ours will be the first love from a woman they ever feel. And let’s be honest, there ain’t no love like a momma’s love.

Let’s teach our boys to value girls and respect their boundaries.  Let’s remind them to be gentlemen to all girls, not just the ones they are interested in.  Let’s model kindness to others and not be judgey of people’s differences- be it in how they look, how they dress or how they carry themselves.  Let’s teach them to choose their words wisely and not to degrade women or their bodies.  Let’s ask our boys, “If someone said that to your sister, how would you feel?”

We need to have the uncomfortable conversations, discussions and dialogues that will eventually become the building blocks of how our son treats other people for the rest of their lives.  How do we do that? We model it, we preach it, and we live it.  We view ourselves not only as mothers but also teachers.  We remind ourselves that parenting doesn’t stop once they can drive themselves to school. We treat them with the same respect  we want them to show others and make them feel loved and valued. We aren’t afraid to challenge, call out or confront a choice or decision they make.  We know that’s part of our job.  We face parenting head on (yes, it can be exhausting!) and while we can’t protect our kids from the world, we can make them strong enough to handle whatever hurdles or choices life throws at them.

Like I said, it’s a big job.

Boy moms often tell me that it’s the girls who are the aggressors, the instigators, and the provokers. And I’m sure—in many situations- they are correct.  Somewhere along the line, many young girls lose their self-respect and think that throwing themselves or their bodies at the boys will get them attention or affection.  It’s disheartening, but it happens.  It’s a lot to handle as a teenage boy with an impulsive brain and a whole lot of hormones rushing through your body. That’s when we hope (and pray) our sons can set boundaries, be respectful and handle themselves appropriately. 

Like I said, it’s a big job.

Here is a little example: nudes.  If this word causes you as a parent to wince, it should. Sadly, for today’s teenage generation sending nudes is common. To be honest, it’s epidemic. Yes, I know both genders send nude pictures to each other, but it’s more common in my office to talk with girls who have “loved” a boy, thought a boy cared about her, or just wanted to get a boy’s attention and sent them a nude picture–only to get dumped or ghosted after or to find out that picture was shared with others. Often girls justify it with sentences like “I didn’t send my face” or “I did it on Snapchat, so it would go away” as if that exonerates the poor decision. The truth is, it’s disrespectful to themselves and makes them incredibly vulnerable to shame and hurt.   Adults know the how emotionally damaging this can be so we talk to teenage girls, over and over, about respecting their bodies and protecting their sense of self but the talking needs to go both ways. If we want girls to stop sending nude pictures of themselves, we need to teach our boys to stop asking for them.

I know that good kids from good parents make bad decisions so I’m not expecting our sons to be perfect humans (reminder: we aren’t perfect parents either), but I am hoping we raise the bar and stop allowing them to think that asking for this is okay. Have the conversation, as awkward or uncomfortable as it may be, about why the emotional consequences are so damaging.  And please, don’t turn a blind eye and call it “just a phase” if you find out it is happening.  Be proactive and do something about it. As a boy mom, we have an obligation to take this seriously.  We have a duty to teach our sons that about equality and that women are not objects, they are people with feelings, intelligence, power, skills and strength.  We need to remind them that asking for a nude picture is not only disrespectful, it’s degrading and demoralizing.  We need to teach them to raise the bar not only with regards to their relationships but to raise the bar for themselves and how they treat all people. 

Like I said, it’s a big job.

Fellow boy-moms, I am not a perfect mom and nor do I ever claim to be. But every one of us signed up for more than trucks and trains when we gave birth to our precious boys. We signed up to raise a man of integrity, a man of honor, and a man who respects others, especially women.  We signed up to teach our sons to be gentlemen, kind and caring, who know that “being” a man is more important than just “talking” like one.  We signed up to teach our sons the difference in flattery and genuine compliments.  We signed up to have tough conversations and to keep talking even if we get eye rolls or heavy sighs as we impart our wisdom– a wisdom  they will not appreciate until they are mature enough to know that we cared enough to have those difficult discussions.  We signed up to not only love and support our sons unconditionally, but to know that good men don’t just show up fully formed–they are molded and nurtured and sometimes pushed in hundreds of thousands of small ways. We signed up to teach our sons that it’s easy to be a guy, but we want them to become a man.

Like I said, it’s a big job… that matters more than we ever knew it would.  It’s a big job but the love we have for our sons is even bigger. Its a big job but we are badass moms and we can do anything. Love your precious sons, love your self and love this amazing opportunity you have to make a difference in this world.

A Fellow Boy-Mom

3 thoughts on “Dear Boy-Moms… It’s a Big Job

  • It is a very hard job. As a mother of 4 sons there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel absolutely astonished at how wonderful they turned out. I guess I can take a little credit for that. It took me awhile, because I was a tough Mom and had all those tough talks. Keep telling it like it is Kelly.

  • As. You know Kelly I am a daughters mom and know they have talked to their sons about respect. All five grandsons are to be proud of as young men.

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