Of course preparing myself to have a baby boy has me thinking of a lot of different ideas. I always thought it would be easier to raise a girl than a boy — for the simple fact that I am a girl and it felt more relevant to me. Having said that I have never really been a girly girl (nevermind the few years growing up that I was adamant that my sister play Barbies with me). Then I had to grow up fast and, well, my most girly girl self was replaced with real live survival.
Of course I enjoy a bit of dressing up — you know once every year, where I bring out those uncomfortable high heels, and Chris oohs and aahs, and then those shoes collect dust in the back of the closet. I am and always will be most comfortable with myself when I am comfortable. Flip-flops, comfy outfits, and hopefully all that just falls in the background so that others see just me. Not what I am wearing or how it fits. As none of that really matters. I digress — this blog post’s intent is nothing about that at all.
Over the weekend, I came across this article “Why Boys Need To Play With Girl Toys Too” and I thought I wonder what Chris thinks of that? No matter at the moment, because whether he is okay with it or not, the message that I left with that I want to bring in to our parenting (we’ll talk Chris) is that I want to teach my son to care. For some that may mean a boy playing with a doll, or maybe it is about nurturing an animal or pet, whatever the vehicle I want to make sure to show my son how to care. That in my mind starts with Chris and me. For a long time he will watch us, emulate us, and learn the way of the world from our example. If he wants to play with dolls and we do not let him, that sends him a message. You get the point.
And in the end, while I have not really even started this raise-a-child thing, I can tell you I was one (with not the best childhood), and I spent from the age of 9 – 23 babysitting, working in day cares, and nannying — what matters most is that you show them you care. You do this by being present, listening, and appreciating what they have to say. By showing you care, they respond and show that to others. To me that is what matters most.
Great thoughts! My 3yo daughter pretty much only wears boy underwear at this point. I prefer the characters more, as does she. She has a couple of girl pairs but, just tonight, while she was wearing a pair of girls undies they started riding up her rear…that doesn’t happen with boys undies as they’re not designed for limited coverage – even at a 2T/3T size!! But, if she wanted to choose girls with specific characters, I’d let her.
I’ve “sheltered” her from princesses to some degree but she’s starting to be exposed and interested. I’m not telling her no or ignoring it, hoping it will go away, but I’m not running out and plastering her room with princesses characters either. I’ve bought her some dress up clothes and she loves them, but isn’t all she does.
There’s a balance one needs to strike and it does start with the parents. Is what they’re interested in something that will help them grow and understand – be kind to others and learn to care? Or something that let’s them express themselves? Or something that’s just a little “mindless” fun? It’s easy to want to push or direct them but sometimes what’s best is for them to find out for themselves. And we can be there to help along the way.
I know it will be more difficult to have a boy that wants to play with girl toys, etc. rather than the other way around and I commend you on your thought process. The world is changing and there’s more acceptance, which is great – parents don’t have to feel so conflicted in their choices to let their sons play with non-traditional “boy” toys. I’m grateful you’ll be raising him today rather than 10 years ago.
Whatever his likes are, it sounds like you’ll approach it with great thought, love and care, and that’s all that matters. He’ll learn to be himself and to be comfortable in his own skin and we need more of that in this world – Kids not obsessed with clothes, makeup, toys, fads, status, etc. Go outside and play with your big wheels or find a pile of dirt to go dig in for heaven’s sake!
Kudos to you!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I love that she wears boy underwear! I so agree – kids need to be out in the mud and playing and away from all the fads, technology, and comparisons to others.