Dear fellow parents, grandparents, friends, family, the girl on the tills at Asda, and the man down the bottom shop.
By now you can probably see – or more likely hear since they aren’t exactly quiet – that I have two boys. Yes, boys. Other than me and a tiny zebra finch named Mocha, there are no girls in our immediate family. This is not necessarily the way that I pictured our family looking (I’ll admit, I imagined hair bows and twirly skirts when I was younger), but alas, this is the family that I have. And I LOVE it. I LOVE THEM.
I do not, however, love some of the comments that are said to or about my sons.
Let me start by saying that I understand that many of your comments are innocent and well-intentioned. Like when you ask us if we are trying for a girl – no, we’re more than happy with the children that we have. Or when you presume that because we have boys we don’t deal with drama queens or sensitivity – believe me, there is plenty of eye rolling and door slamming, dramatic tears and rage-filled outbursts, around here.
I also understand that many of the things we hear are small talk, chit-chatty things, like when you ask my son what sports he’s interested in. Some things might even be meant as a compliment, like when you say, “Wow, you sure have your hands full!”
I won’t get into all of the other comments that sometimes rub me the wrong way. Admittedly, I have been known to be a bit oversensitive at times. And the comments are nothing new, either; there are countless what-not-to-say lists out there. So instead of focusing on what not to say, let’s talk about what we can say, shall we?
There really is only one thing – ONE THING – we mums of boys want to hear. In fact, it’s probably the same thing that every parent wants to hear. And some days we’re downright desperate to hear it. There are days when we feel like we have no idea what we are doing. There are days when we’re just so sick of the noise and the fart jokes and the pee-covered toilet seats. And there are days when we can’t imagine not having boys.
When you get down to it, we just want to do right by our sons. We want them to be strong, sensitive, confident, curious, loving, kind, and caring boys, and we want to help them grow into strong, sensitive, confident, curious, loving, kind, and caring men. We want to know that we aren’t alone, that we aren’t totally f*cking this all up.
So what should you say to a mum of boys? It’s pretty simple, actually: Smile, ask how she’s doing, and then, regardless of her answer, tell her: “You’re doing a great job. You have wonderful boys, and they are so lucky to have you.”
We will more than likely smile back and say “thank you.” We might blush a little or even brush your comment away.
Or we just might just hug you.
Because you have totally made our day.
It’s just that simple.
A mummy to two beautiful boys x