It was my 20 week scan which ended my thoughts of all things pink.
Despite the fact that pregnancy no. 2 had been completely different to my first (which had got me wondering, as you do), when the sonographer pressed the ultrasound in to my belly, there was no mistaking it – confirmation that I was having a baby boy.
Another baby boy.
So I was only going to have boys.
That afternoon, I walked wistfully down the Barbie aisle in the toy section at the local shop and said a silent goodbye to the daughter I’d never have. Dreams of hair plaiting and fairy wings replaced by a sudden realisation that it was going to be just me, and a house full of testosterone. This would be a whole new way of life that I needed to map out in front of me. I’m a girl. What the hell do I know about raising boys?
When I thought about it though, having had an older brother, I was actually more of a tomboy than I remembered. I hated pink (still do), didn’t play with dolls, and still can’t stand wearing any sort of heels. I know how to climb trees, and to kick a football. I played with cars, went to the football every week, wore my brother’s old clothes and I know the rules to every sport that my dad used to watch (pretty much all sports, then). And, once I re-embraced my tomboy side, I realised that life with boys was going to be great.
I do worry though.
Parents of girls tell me that boys are easier, because they’re not emotional like girls. But I don’t agree.
My brother, for a start, has a beautiful, sensitive soul, and my oldest boy seems to have a similar temperament.
It worries me that boys are told that showing emotion is a weakness. And don’t get me started on their notion of invincibility and willingness to jump off sheer cliff faces just for the hell of it.
So, with all of this in mind, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I can raise my boys to be good men, and I have come up with ten nuggets of wisdom that I wish to impart on my boys as they grow up:
- Be yourself. Of course, you’ll find friends with shared interests, but don’t change to be something that you’re not. You’ll take a while to figure out who you are, but that’s okay.
- If you find a sport, or a hobby, that you really enjoy – stick at it. Your life will be more fulfilling if you do something you enjoy.
- Being academic isn’t everything – if you want to be a builder, go for it. I’d love to have somebody practical around who can fix up the house!
- Keep talking to us. Talking to your parents will become excruciating (and there will be plenty of things I don’t want to know about!). But, if something is worrying you, or getting you down, you need to tell us. Don’t be too proud to reach out and ask for help.
- Don’t be completely fearless. You’re not invincible, no matter how much you think you are. Please listen to that small voice in your head that stops you from going too far, or putting yourself in danger. Boys will be boys, I know, but you can have fun without ending up in an A&E department, or worse still, not being here at all.
- Stand up tall and hold your head up high – you will ooze confidence. You should inherit your dad’s height, so use it to your advantage!
- Find a role model – it could be a sports coach perhaps, or a family friend. Listen to what he has to say. And learn from him.
- Travel. Learn from other cultures. Get to know your family. You have an entire family history on the other side of the world that I want you to know about.
- Talk about girls in a respectful manner. I get that guys talk about girls, and that the language they use can sometimes be pretty derogatory. Don’t be that guy who talks about girls like that. The nice guys ALWAYS get the girl in the end, believe me.
- Fall in love. I don’t care who you fall in love with, as long as that person treats you well and loves you back. You might have a broken heart along the way, but believe me, if you do all of the above, you’ll be a catch.
Oh, and I just remembered one more thing –
- Remember my birthday AND Mother’s Day. You can never spoil your mother enough!