Confession: I’m terrified of little boys.
When my husband and I discovered that we were expecting our first baby five years ago, I instantly dreamed of tutus, twirls, and tea parties. He dreamed of football, frogs, and farting contests.
Little did he know his dreams would be stalled not once, but twice, as we welcomed two twirly little princesses within a 3-year span. And although we both agree it might be nice to someday add a man cub to our little tribe, we recently sat at a kiddie birthday party and watched in horror as every boy present gathered in the middle of the room to wrestle, pounce, tackle, and generally inflict bodily harm on one another.
After witnessing roughly 3 minutes of the miniature massacre, my husband leaned over and whispered, “Okay, I think I’m good with girls.”
It’s not that we think girls are somehow superior.
We just have no idea what in the world to do with boys.
I will be the first to admit that I really don’t think I’m cut out to ever be a boy mom. The energy, the competitiveness, the aggression, intensity, total lack of fear…
Boys are awesome.
But they terrify me.
And I completely agreed with a boy mom I met on a playground recently, a woman who exuded peace and tranquility as she watched her sons pump their swings as high as they could possibly go, only to launch out of their seats and free-fall to the ground, landing with perfect tuck-and-rolls.
She obviously noticed the look of anxiety on my face, for she laughed and said, “You can always tell which moms don’t have boys.”
I laughed and I agreed with her, yes, but a small part of me flared with an internal, Hey now.
Because I may be a girl mom. But I ain’t soft.
Yes, boy moms live in fear of broken bones. But girl moms live in fear of broken hearts. (Not to mention splintered identity and shattered self-image.)
Yes, boy moms endure a seemingly endless supply of energy. But girl moms endure a seemingly endless supply of emotion. (Have you ever suffered through a 90-minute sobbing episode because you forgot to cut the crust off the PB&J and how could you possibly forget the way I like my sandwich?? I HAVE.)
And yes, boy moms watch closely to ensure that plastic weapons don’t cause temporary wounds. But girl moms watch closely to ensure that the very real weapons of careless words and immature exclusion don’t cause wounds that are far from temporary.
Can we all agree that no matter which sex we are raising, the job is just straight up hard?
There will certainly be exceptions to the rule, families with boys who are naturally more easygoing and girls who are naturally more rough-and-tumble.
But despite our children’s natural bents, our mission as parents remains the same:
Boy moms bear the lofty and sacred responsibility of training the next generation of men, of raising sons who are both masculine and gentle, both assertive and compassionate, both fearless and tender.
And girl moms daily feel the burden of striking a precarious balance, of shaping young ladies who are both feminine and strong, both nurturing and powerful, both servant-hearted and self-sufficient.
(Those of you who are raising both? Just get on out of here, ’cause you’re making me look bad. How do you do what you do??)
It’s a tough job all the way around, mamas, and I am especially grateful to those of you who are raising energetic little boys to be upstanding, world-changing men.
Because I’m not sure I’m cut out for that task.
But I am cut out for the task of shepherding the dainty hearts in my care, of raising little girls to be upstanding, world-changing women.
I am a girl mom.
And I definitely ain’t soft.