I was disappointed with Netmums’ article on ‘Things Mums of Boys Will Know‘. As a mother of a boy and a girls, I know that most of these are silly, and a couple are just plain ridiculous.
1. Nappy changing needs to be done super-fast – I challenge you to find a mother of a girl who has not been wee-d or poo-ed on. Not just mothers of boys have to be fast at nappy changes!
2. Wiping the loo seat is a necessity – um, don’t you just teach your boy to lift the seat? Yes, I’ll admit to some issues of target practice, but mainly during the night when he was half asleep. And again, I taught him to clean up after himself if this happened.
3. Your house will smell of wee. My house didn’t smell of wee. See above.
4. Diggers are truly fascinating. Now here’s a thing – I noticed that I often said ‘Oh, look at the car/digger/airplane’ to my son, and ‘Oh, look at the view/painting/baby animal’ to my daughter. Even though I tried not to, I steered them into gendered directions. Therefore, I question how much of this is actual interest from the kids, and how much is ‘learned behaviour’.
5. Crazes are all-consuming. Nope, can’t say that they are. Yes, both kids have favourite toys or activities, but neither have been totally single minded about anything.
6. Boys zoom around, girls do craft at playgroups. HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. Right. From my experience, it’s the mums doing the craft work while the kids quite rightly get on with zooming around.
7. Wheels fascinate them. No, not really. Much to my husband’s disappointment, neither of his kids are particularly interested in cars. When we lived in Düsseldorf, we went to see the DTM racers in the city centre, and our kids were more interested in the flags than the cars.
8. Wrestling is the best. No. NO. NO. NO. I was at a family event a year or so ago, and watched the boys of a family member wrestling, shoving, wrangling, grappling, and was struck by the fact that my son has NEVER been like that. He and his sister used to do rough and tumble play with their dad (what we call ‘Toben’ in German) but he’s never been (play) aggressive with other boys. We’ve never accepted or allowed ‘boys will be boys’ rough behaviour.
9. Rude words are super-hilarious – barely existed in our family until he met his best friend who found them hilarious. And even then, he wasn’t fascinated by them, and didn’t use them a lot, other than when he was having fun with his friend.
10. They love boobs. Just NO. I don’t really know where to go with this one, other than to say that I find it inappropriate and distasteful to make a connection between breastfeeding and sexual attraction in later life.
11. They’ll ask where your willy is. No, not been asked this either.
12. Phallic toys are the tops with boys – see #10 … I’m all just WTF by this point in the list. Did Netmums ask for 19 points and you were beginning to run out?
13. Boys will play guns. Sometimes – mainly when imitating film heroes or video games. I found this increased slightly when we moved from Germany to Geneva, and am not sure if thats to do with his English friends in Geneva, or if it was moving from toddler TV to Ben 10 etc. Giving boys guns was pretty frowned upon in Germany, and we didn’t encourage it.
14. Climbing is compulsory – yes, if you are my daughter. She LOVES climbing. Went for the first time when she was 4 years old, and easily climbed to the top of a 30m high wall, to the amazement on those watching. I was looking for photos to add to this blog post, and most of the pics of my daughter involve her hanging upside down from trees or climbing frames.
15. A&E becomes a second home – nope. We’ve had a few bumps and scrapes, but [knockonwood] nothing serious, and due to #14, I’d say that we were at docs more often with daughter than with son.
16. They are loud. Yes, they are, but then so are girls. And when they get together they can be very loud. Both have a current habit of singing, humming or whistling, which I find irritating, but again, not limited to boys.
17. You go food shopping a lot. I do, but my daughter eats as much as her brother. And more expensive stuff too. Avocados and fecking Dragon Fruit.
18. People are harder on boys. Yes, I do agree with this one, but maybe if we didn’t perpetuate such ridiculous stereotypes such as ‘boys are loud and rough’, then society would be less hard on boys.
19. One day you’ll be glad you have a boy. Every day I’m glad I have my boy, and my girl.
What I hate most about this list is that it’s a list of ‘norms’. It gives the impression that boys who fall outwith these norms are … well, not normal. Odd. Strange. The boy who is a little bit sensitive, or who would rather be drawing or reading rather than climbing a tree.
Stereotypes don’t just harm girls, they harm boys too. How about we accept and love our kids as they are, and stop trying to put them in pink or blue boxes?