I never really understood what people meant when they would refer to themselves or other people as “boy Moms.” To me, if they were a mother of a boy, they were just a mother, not necessarily categorized by the gender of the child.
Growing up, I was one of four girls, so our house was filled with everything pink, Barbie dolls, Cabbage Patch dolls, strollers and doll houses. My sisters and I would play house, push our dolls around in strollers, and play dress up. However, my parents never seemed to box us into anything truly girly. We had puzzles, educational toys, and TV watching was very limited. Instead, we played outside on the tire swing, in the sandbox or riding our bikes down the street. We had the ability to roam free and imagine as we pleased.
We didn’t refuse when two of our friends who were boys would ask us to play Legos or Cops and Robbers. We would gladly make mud pies, play soccer or throw the ball around without hesitation. They would also volunteer to play the “Dad” when we played house or dress up when we decided to put on a play. To us, it was just being a child. Playing with other children and letting our imaginations run wild was the essence of fun. We didn’t have gender boundaries when it came to who we played with and what we played. We just were what we were.
My father would take us fishing, and although we would seldom see other little girls casting their line, my sisters and I were catching fish, learning to gut them and how to properly bait a hook. It never once crossed our minds that this activity could typically be seen as something that boys would do. We just did what we enjoyed doing.
Jumping in a muddy river, looking for salamanders and making forts were also favorite past times.
I recall begging and pleading with my father to build us a tree fort or a play house. Our own little retreat for us with our friends for snacks, sleepovers and a perfect hiding place when playing capture the flag. One summer, he finally gave in and got to work on our tree house. Within a few weeks, we had the tree fort of our dreams. I helped my Dad with moving the 2 x 4’s, nailing a few nails and pouring the concrete for the stilts of the house. A special project that I would not give up for anything. Another generic thing that is cast out to being a “boy thing.”
There was always a joke in the family that if anyone should have had sons, it should have been my father. He was handy, creative and could do anything. To us, he was Superman.
One year, my father began his own business where he did contracting for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc… and needed a magnetic sign for his truck to promote his business. When a friend got the sign for him, it read his name and underneath it, it read “and Daughters.” He never looked at us like we were too delicate to learn or do things with him. He just wanted to do things with his girls the best way he knew how.
The bottom line? I don’t really consider myself to be a “boy Mom.” I just want to support my son in whatever makes him happy. And right now, he is happy playing with his puzzles, a doctor kit, watching some Sesame Street and Fresh Beat Band and cruising around on his digger and dump truck.
I will always be Mom to my son, but that’s it. I am just his Mom.