Teaching my boys about girls as an ambassador for my gender
Having two sons and no daughters has changed how I see my role as a mother in some ways. I always thought it would be tough to be a mom of a girl, since I’d be her first role model of what it is to be a woman. That’s a lot of responsibility. She’d look to me for clues about how to dress, behave, respond to society, interact with friends, date…In some ways, while I would have loved to have had daughter, I felt like I kind of dodged a bullet, so to speak. I had the job of being a good mother, but the role-modeling was more my husband’s job than mine.
Then, the other day, I realized I was very wrong.
I was touching up my make up while the boys played in my room, getting ready for a family weekend roadtrip to New York. I tried on five or so outfits, looking for something to pack, and had a minor “none-of-these-jeans-look-good” meltdown. “I look AWFUL!!!” I sighed as I balled them up and tossed them on my chair. “I HAVE to lose the last of this baby weight!” I muttered to myself out loud. “You have to lose weight?” my four year old asked. “Yes…lots of it. Mommy’s pants are too small, and I am a mess!” I responded (clearly) without thinking.
Then it hit me. Ugh. I may not be modeling to my sons how to be male, but I am modeling to them what it is to be female. Me, a mother who is proud to write for a website that celebrates postpartum bellies and promotes positive body image, was sending a clear message to my sons: Women hate how they look and are never happy with it or comfortable with it. This has to change. Now.
I don’t want to send my sons into the world expecting girls to be ashamed of themselves, unhappy with how they look, and feeling like they’re never good enough. Goodness knows that message is already out there loud and clear, and it certainly doesn’t need reinforcing! So I’ve decided my mission, as a mom of boys, is to be a positive ambassador for women. I will stop the negative comments immediately and end my remarks about weight/diets/jeans/muffin tops. I will eat healthy “real” food, not disgusting, crappy diet drinks. We will be active as a family, and I will show them that women do things like hike and camp and go to the beach and have fun without being self conscious. My boys will learn from me that women aren’t ashamed of themselves, but that they are happy with who they are. Suddenly, being a mother of boys is seeming pretty important for womankind!