It’s nearly impossible for me to go out and about with my boys without people asking me, “Are you going to go for the girl?” or “How does it feel to have only boys?” Frankly, it’s getting pretty annoying. I will be the first to admit that I was a little disappointed during my first ultrasound with my youngest son when I saw his “wee wee” waving at me, but it was for only a minute. Okay, maybe five minutes. Instead, I was so thrilled to hear that I was growing a healthy baby boy to cuddle, kiss, and love. And he had my nose!
Now that my boys are older, I have adjusted to the life of a boy mom. I know a ton more about construction vehicles than I ever thought possible, have a knack for knowing just where the worms are hiding in our garden, and realize that there is nothing sweeter than the love between a boy and his mama. But as much as my boys are rough and tough, it is my duty to also raise them as gentlemen…and feminists. Why? Because as time has shown, women consistently get the short end of the stick, and I want to do my part in raising the generation that combats gender stereotypes and FINALLY equals the playing field.
Yes, that’s right, I am raising my little boys to be feminists. Because I am one. And so is my husband. As well as other members of our extended family. When you look up the definition of the term “feminist,” it is someone who believes that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. There is nothing taboo about that. Or political. It’s just realizing that your reproductive parts play no role in how amazing you are. And I want my boys to realize that at an early age.
A few months ago, we had our first play date at a little girl’s house. How it took so long for that to happen, I simply don’t know. Maybe I was afraid that my rough and tumble boys would destroy someone’s house. Or I was simply naïve to think that kids of all genders wouldn’t be able to decide what to play together for a two hour span. But let me tell you, it was a typical yet fun play date that actually inspired me to start putting feminism on their radar. It was also perfect timing, with all of the Women’s Rights Marches that have been taking place all over the world and the word persist taking on a whole new meaning.
How have we been including the ideas of feminism in our parenting? Well, like all other values we try to instill in our children, through simple dialogue. When my boys told me that I couldn’t come hang out in their tent with them because of their “No Girls Allowed” rule, I simply questioned them about it. They had no reason for it, other than that they saw a sign that said that in a book. Seriously.
So I did what any other mom (and Reading Specialist) would do, and brought home a bunch of books that highlighted how boys and girls are equally creative, kind, and amazing. Some of my family’s favorites? Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, as well as I Dissent!, a book that celebrates the journey of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the US Supreme Court, written by Debbie Levy. You can find other great book recommendations to open minds of readers of all ages here.
Now that major retailers like Target are highlighting the strength and power of women (I mean, there’s a reason why those “Strong Like Mom” shirts sold out in just a day—we ARE strong!), there are tons of adorable and affordable ways to incorporate stylish and powerful graphic tees into your family’s wardrobe. Since I am a vigilant supporter of local, mom owned businesses, I am thrilled that I can stop by One Strange Bird to find the perfect tees for my boys and I, or seek out wearable art from the talented Monica Zanetti. They generously provided the wardrobe for our fun photo shoot.
My boys and their sweet friend taught me that they don’t particularly care about gender roles…all they care about is being around fun, kind and respectful people. And I mean…who can argue with that?!?!
I want to give a special thank you to the amazing mom bosses I collaborated with for this post, from the talented Lori Sapio to the creative Nicole Northway of One Strange Bird and Monica Zanetti. I can’t recommend them highly enough.