I would first like to thank all my friends who have been reading my blog posts recently. It means so much to me when I receive a text message or comment from one of you encouraging me to keep writing and keep on keepin’ it real.
When I first decided to start writing about my new journey into motherhood, I was extremely worried about the opinions I would receive. I know that what I write is public and I may offend or unintentionally hurt people’s feelings. I mostly get concerned with what my family would say if they read my posts…I know it isn’t easy to read something and be able to infer it might be about you and your behaviors. However there is a much larger part of me that just needs to write to explain that while I may seem to have perpetual stank face, there is a reason behind it and I just don’t know how to verbalize in a polite way what I am feeling. I am working on. I promise.
So there it is, thanks for reading, and I hope you all keep on reading and I make some sense!
I have been wanting to blog, but I wasn’t really sure what topic I wanted to tackle next, until I attended a birthday part on Sunday…Sunday Jacob, E and I attended the birthday part for our friend’s two children. Both their daughter and son were born on the same day, so they have joint birthday parties. During the present opening portion of the party, I sat in the back and noticed a trend: a majority of the presents for the little boy were balls or sports related. His sister on the other hand received a variety of gifts; sports stuff, play doh, clothes, coloring books, etc. At one point the little boy picked up the new football he received and went off to play with it. One of the grandparents remarked “looks like we will have another linebacker in the family.” It really got me thinking about our children and our dreams and expectations for them.
I know that we are living in a culture where women don’t make as much as men in the workplace, and I am all about equal right, but what about our sons? What are we doing for our sons? I feel that while we are encouraging young girls to become interested in science, mathematics and things traditionally thought of as “masculine,” we aren’t doing the same for our sons.
Within hours of E being born, comments about how his large hands and feet would make him an excellent basketball player were being thrown around. Dreams of him becoming an all star athlete are being talked about like it is his destiny…but what if he doesn’t want that?
What if E decides he wants to play the piano and pursue music instead of athletics? What if he decides that he would rather learn dance than pick up a baseball bat? Why does he have to be defined by “sports” to be an ideal little boy? Will our family love him any less because of his choices?
Jacob and I have discussed this at length. For Jacob he hopes that E chooses a sport of some kind, whether it be football, basketball, cross country, tennis, he doesn’t care. For Jacob the discipline that organized activities creates is more important. As in the lessons of hard work and the fact that you can’t always win, sometimes in life you will lose but you can work harder next time to be better prepared. Jacob is okay with whatever it is E chooses to pursue as long as he does it with a full heart and determination.
I agree with this approach. I dream that my son feels comfortable in his own skin to tell us what it is he wants and likes to do. I don’t want to pick an activity I like and force him to learn about it and develop it if that is something he doesn’t like. I dream for E that he will be a young man who is sensitive and kind to other people. That he can empathize with those around him and be willing to be there for his friends. I dream that E will respect women and understand their value as a partner and not as an object or commodity. I dream that E will live a life of truth and integrity and be honest. All of these things are more important to me than his ability to play sports.
I am sure if I told people that, they would agree, but the thing is do they realize that they need to verbalize that just as much? The more a child hears how much you want them to play sports or expect certain things of them, they will internalize it and feel an expectation to be that image you are telling them you want to see. So instead of being so one dimensional when it comes to our sons, maybe we should be multifaceted and allow them to come into their own. Maybe we should tell them from birth we want them to be an amazing individual that is kind and compassionate. That we want our sons to be okay pursuing their own dreams, whatever that may be. To offer our sons an apron as well as a football. To encourage him to play pretend in the kitchen as well as run in the grass and scrape his knees. If we are encouraging our daughters to be more than the antiquated gender stereotype, than we should be doing the same for our sons.
For Jacob and I, we will try our best to do that, and to let E be who he wants, and not who we expect. I am sure this will be harder as he gets older and we secretly want him to be a child genius who invents the groundbreaking cure for childhood diabetes or the next Tom Brady, I am at least starting my journey trying to allow him to grow into his own person and being.