Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm A Better "Boy Mom"

So, I was reading Raising Boys vs. Raising Girls: Who Drives Mom More Insane? She had a very interesting standpoint, but experience with my own children have been quite different.

As you know, I have nine kiddos. And maybe that's why my experience is so diversified. While I couldn't possibly tell you whether girls are easier than boys or vice versa, I have a feeling that we, as their parents, tend to cater to gender stereotypical roles, as well as subtly imply them to our children.

In my newly released book, Breaking the Rules, I explained how parents subtly and overtly influence their children regarding gender specific behaviors. I'm not going to go over all of the studies and expert opinions that I cited in my book - it's only $2.99, so if you want the extended version and a good read, you should check it out.

Anyway, the condensed version.

When we wear our lipstick and our heels, we are subtly exhibiting gender stereotypical cues. A ponytail, long hair, or wearing a fuscia colored tank top. Gender stereotypical cues.

Dads do it, too.

We can't help it. We're talking about centuries upon centuries of gender stereotypical roles and ingrained beliefs.

Women fought for equality, but we still haven't given up our heels and our jewelry. Perfume. Whatever, you get my point.

Go to the stores. There's a women's section and a men's section. Ladies and men's bathroom.

Subtle cues.

Then, there are the overt "Boys don't play with dolls!"

Back to my kids. I have 6 boys and 3 girls. I do think I'm a better mom to boys.

I want to say it's because I'm not really girly. But, then again, I guess I am. I like my sweet smelling candles, lotions, and perfumes. I like to dress like I'm going to the Oscars, but I rarely do. I don't exactly know why, but I feel like I "mom" better with boys.

My girls are tougher. Tough like me. Contrarily, I have some awfully sensitive boys! Incredibly sensitive. Tears and all. Even some of the grown boys. They are very in touch with their feminine sides.

Drama only a girl thing? Come visit my house. My boys could have their own reality show with their dramatic interactions and shenanigans.

My girls are louder than the boys, too. Whether it's singing or screaming or simply talking. Just big, loud voices. All over the house. The boys can get loud here and there, but they're not constantly and consistently loud.

I don't need to list all of the differences, but basically, even grouped together like I just did, these kids are all so different.

A child could drive me nuts one day, and then the next day, that same kiddo can be my best helper. Every day brings something new in our house, our family. These kids evolve more and more each day.

I can't help but to succumb to the subtle clues I give off, but the overt things, like telling my boys they can't wear dresses or pink...I'm not big on that. Let them be kids.

So, let the boys cry and get it out and learn how to manage their emotions in healthy ways, rather than making them "man up." Let the girls be tough so that they can handle all of the stress we women take on as adults.

They're only children for so long and then they have to conform to all of the rules in the adult world. Gender stereotypical roles are not for children.

As far as pitting boys against girls and my insanity, the truth is, the boys are at a disadvantage with 6 of them versus 3 girls in my brood. So, of course, there is a better chance the boys are getting more on my nerves than the girls any given day.

Usually, I can pinpoint the individuals, and when it all boils down, it's often a mixture of boys and girls who have driven me over the edge and pinched every single deeply imbedded nerve in my body.

I would hardly resolve the question as a particularly male or female answer. It's not a boys vs. girls topic - it's the fact that every single one of our children can push our insanity to the edge and watch it teeter there, while they laugh at us behind our backs.

It's their job to keep our insanity level fluctuating. They take turns. But, neither gender is any better on their best day or any worse on their horribly bad days.

I've learned to expect the unexpected and hold on dearly to the bit of sanity I have been able to preserve. Because, as far as I'm concerned, they can all be equally driven to test our mental soundness on any given day.
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