Worried about bringing up a boy (anyone else?)(184 Posts)
Hello! I’m 25 weeks (first pregnancy, I’m over 40) and we found out 2 months ago we’re having a boy. I know it sounds ridiculous but I was shocked. Literally all the women I know who are like me in personality and interests have girls, and I always believed mums naturally get what they’re best suited to. But I’m just stereotypically female in every way. I hated maths/science, terrible with technology, useless and disinterested in sport, very cautious and terrified of risk-taking behaviour (I was that child who wouldn’t go underwater, rollerskate or climb anything), have no sense of competition, I never get angry so struggle to ‘get’ male emotions, I’m not a physical person at all, I like to verbalise everything, find action films and video games mind-numbingly boring, walk out of the room when Formula 1 is on as the car noise grates on me, no spatial awareness, I don’t have male friends and prefer to gravitate to women at work events etc.
On top of this, everyone keeps telling me I’ll ‘obviously’ have a girl as they can’t ever imagine me with a boy, which puts me off telling people. We did tell my siblings but they instantly said ‘it will be nice for [various male members] of the family’ rather than saying why a boy would be nice for me. I’m assuming they couldn’t come up with any reasons and that made me sad, for my baby as well as myself!
Both sides of our families are all nephews- I love them but despite trying hard I find their boisterous behaviour/violent superhero talk frustrating. I’m sad I can’t find things in common with them. By contrast, I get such joy from chatting to/playing with friends’ girls and they love spending time with me, we just ‘click’, but sadly I don’t see them often. I really crave a chance to play with dolls, read girly books, decorate pretty things, style hair and share all the things I adored as a child. The usual advice is to do these thing with a niece but I don’t have one.
In honesty I cried for weeks (judge away!) but I’ve now adjusted, realised I need to be grateful. I don’t think I’m a bad person, I just think I had a lot of particular skills to offer a girl and was far too over-excited to be the mummy my little girl would dream of. I will love this baby because he’s ours, I’m excited about the baby stage and it will be fine, but I feel a bit ‘wrong’ and like I need to change my nature to be any good at bringing up a boy, which is scary. I just don’t know any women as extremely girly as me with boys (the boy mums I know like at least some ‘boy’ things, even if it’s Star Wars or Lego; or they’re the no nonsense alpha female type) so I wonder how I’ll manage when he’s older or if he’ll find me annoying/boring.
Online I find hundreds of lists of ‘reasons to love having boys’ that are just catalogues of things I can’t relate to, like getting dirty/the outdoors, the joys of ‘more interesting’ mechanical toys, ‘hilarious’ fart jokes or ‘cheaper clothes’ (if you don’t care….but I’m seriously into fashion and I’m finding nice boys’ clothes hard to find and cost twice as much).
My DH was happy with either and will be the great male role model our little one needs, but after we found out he did say he’d secretly felt a girl might suit us better as a couple (he is the ‘protective daddy’ type, he’s fanatically hygiene/clean-conscious and we live in a tiny flat with no garden- all the boy mums I know say they need a lot of outdoor time), so that didn’t help.
Are there any ultra- girly mums out there who can relate to my experience? I really need some advice and help.
I think you need to stop thinking of your son as a future friend (who you can share common interests with) and more as a person in their own right with whatever likes and dislikes, personality traits and sense of humour they develop. Nuture them to be whoever they want to be and accept that whilst you may not share every interest youre pretty much biologically designed to find joy and happiness in watching them persue their own interests even if the topic isnt something you yourself would choose.
You seem quite sexist to me; but im not sure if you are or whether you are just coming across that way as you make your point quite strongly.
Boys and girls have wide ranges of interests. Please dont presume that because your child has a penis that he will automatically love all the stuff you hate.
Your son will be your son though, he won't be a 'typical boy' whatever that is. My 16 yo DS loves dance, is more interested in cooking and clothes than his sisters, hates football and chose to see a Sondheim musical with me recently. He's also intensely physical and active and doing STEM A Levels
and drinking and dating girls
I'm sorry you're disappointed but unless you make him a stereotypical boy, by telling him not to cry, dressing him in football strips and denying him rôle and doll play, he'll turn into a balanced lovely product of his parenting and you'll love him for all his non gendered qualities and faults.
You're looking at gender stereotypes and online articles and assuming your son will conform to a stereotype. Life isn't like that. Your son will
Be what you bring him up to be. There's as much chance he'll want a pram and doll as wanting cars and spaceships. Don't think of your son as a list of emotions or traits you don't understand, think of him as an autonomous human being who will love you unconditionally.
I was shocked at being told I was having a boy this time as I'd hoped for another girl (I'm not girly and neither is dd) - I get on much better with men and prefer boys toys but it didn't stop me feeling a bit let down that it wasn't what I expected. Regardless I know that I will bond and love my son just as I did with my daughter.
Your son is an individual with his own personality that you will have some responsibility in shaping. Don't write him off because you've read about boys in a magazine or internet list.
Most of us inherit some personality traits from our parents (whether that is nature or nurture). It is likely your son will have some similarities with you and your DH. He will also have plenty of differences, same as if you were having a girl. You will find things to do together that interest you both, tolerate other things and let him do other things by himself/with his dad/with friends. Once he is born you won't care because to you he will be the best baby ever!
I can sympathise up to a point OP. I was weirdly devastated when we found out we were having a boy. Totally took me by surprise how upset I felt. I cried it out and discussed my fears and sadness with DH and in a much better place now. DS 6 weeks old and I love him to bits! Your LO will be his own person so don't worry about sharing interests, you will be able to facilitate him doing the things he enjoys. Boys can certainly thrive in a flat! Are there parks near where you live? For running around outside!
The gender steriotyping in the op are really sad. I didn't think people still existed who had such arbitrary lines for what constitutes "boyness" and "girlness".
I struggle to get past that but feel I should offer some practical advice rather than just judging.
Several of the leaders who volunteer with me in Girlguiding are mums of only boys. Girlguiding is a girl-only space, if you feel you need that outlet on a personal level.
I do understand what you are saying but in all honesty you are overthinking problems/behaviours that haven't/ might not occur.
I have 2 boys. Yes they are 'typical' boys but they also love musicals, craft, singing and shopping. He will be your child and it is likely that he will love the things he's brought up with.
Also, when your baby pulls you in for a spontaneous hug, you will have forgotten all about these worries.
Stop worrying, 'enjoy!' your pregnancy and just know that most mums feel guilty about something from day 1.
I think you've made some assumptions here about boys that could be read quite negatively. My lovely boys are not really into much of the stuff you describe above. You seem to have quite ridgid gender ideas. They are all people with there own interests and quirks. My youngest is obsessed with books and stories and we have lots in common there.
I still fantasise about having a girl and feel sad that it's not very likely. I also do sometimes feel left out in a boy household. So I do get that feeling but think you might need to not start off with the expectations you've put above as they very likely won't be the reality of having a boy.
I find your OP really sad.
You should be excited that you are having a baby. And I assume a healthy one at that.
Do you have any idea how many people would kill to be in your shoes?
I have a daughter. She loves mud, tool set toys, dinosaurs, superheroes and many other things that stereotypically are considered 'boys' things. Whether you have a boy or a girl, the sex does not determine what they will like and dislike.
You really need to get a grip and look forward to having your baby, or this obsession with it not being a girl will not only ruin your pregnancy, but your relationship with your son.
It's bollocks o/p.
Bring up your child how you want to, not according to stereotype.
there are many boys out there that dislike sport, love shopping, and don't like rough and tumble play. They pretend the opposite, because it's what their peers and adults expect.
I have a girl who likes climbing trees and running about. Boys don't "need" active play more than girls, its just girls are expected to sit and play quietly, boys aren't.
foldedtshirt- thank you. Your son sounds lovely. There's less than zero chance of me pushing mine to be a stereotypical boy. I am actually more worried I will bring him up too girly because I've been told I talk to boys 'like they are girls'- it was a joke but it stuck with me as I didn't realise I do that. If you gave me a little car I would make it talk to the other cars or park it so it colour-coordinates with the other cars. Making a broom noise and racing it would just feel really weird to me. I just really worry about this stuff!
Napqueen. I'm not sexist, although I admit do find myself moaning about the 'typical' male behaviour of men in my office etc. which I would be very careful to stop in earshot of a little boy, and I do notice big general differences between the genders of kids I know- all I can go on is my own life experience. I feel gender equality only really goes one way because of the stigma attached to girls' things. It is considered ultra cool these days to be a tomboy girl and if we had a girl I was hoping DH would get her into football so he wouldn't miss out on sharing his interests, but even people who think they are very modern and non-gendered do judge boys who play dolls, make-up etc. and I am very conscious that if I did buy him dolls house (which I'd love to), it would get comments about how I was trying to turn him into a girl. I don't live in a vacuum and I do have to consider my DH's feelings about this too. Regardless, I'd let him play with anything.
Aww thanks Golden he is lovely but, as I always say about relationships in general, I didn't win him in a raffle. DH is on board too as are my friends and family- any man I know being sexist would get short shrift from our peer group- the sons of our friends and family play rugby and musical instruments 😉
You seem to have really rigid ideas what men and women are like. If your line of thought were true, then all men and women on this planet would be exactly the same: all men without exception would be into football etc., all women without exception would be into fashion etc. You realise that isn't the case of course, so perhaps this helps you realise that having a girl wouldn't automatically mean you would have loads in common? You also might have a girl who shares your interests, but has a very different personality to you, so you might not end up being as close as you imagine.
If I were you, I'd get a big pile of books on gender stereotyping, sexism, feminism etc. from the library and read them all before your baby is born. It sounds like you really need to open your mind a bit.
Stop listening to other people. It sounds like you are surrounded by some very bigoted people.
Bringing him up "too girly"? Are you worried he'll catch the gay? Or turn in to the kind of man that does his share of the housework and childcare?
People treating boys and girls differently make this whole crap shoot worse. Talking to boys "as if they are girls"? Are you asking them about periods? If not boys and girls should be spoken to like they are children, not completely different species.
God i hate this. I honestly think we are headed rapidly back to the 50's.
I am very conscious that if I did buy him dolls house (which I'd love to), it would get comments about how I was trying to turn him into a girl.
You will get comments on literally EVERYTHING regarding your parenting. There is always someone who thinks you should be doing this differently.
I am a girl. My mum is also a girl.
We really do not get on. She expects me to behave like a "proper girl", dress nicely, wear lipstick, watch my weight, look after the house. Not only do we have nothing in common, i avoid her because I really don't want to go shopping again, or go and get my nails done. Or go for lunch amd have a discussion on whether x or y is most "slimming".
Your boy may share far more with you than a girl. Drop your expectations and enjoy spending time with him doing things you both enjoy.
Try not to worry OP. You do seem quite gendered in your thinking but honestly I'd say outside of MN this is pretty normal.
My DS is 3, almost 4. He likes all the 'boyish' stuff e.g. cars, engines, muddy play, trains... he also loves cooking with me, painting, playing with my old sylvanian families and dolls house...
I guess what I'm trying to say is try to stop thinking of him as a boy before anything else. He's a person, a human being, who will develop his own interests. Focus on that if you can.
You have had some really good replies already. Indeed, I lot more restrained than I was expecting, as I read your OP
I can only reiterate that you will have a baby. Hopefully they will be healthy and bring you great happiness. Babies do not develop into any of those stereotypes you list. They each come with their own personalities. Then the upbringing kicks in. That's when you choose if you want to bring up a sexist child or not.
I have 1 ds and 2 dds. None of them fit into any of your stereotypes in your OP.
Jamont0ast - I am really thrilled to be having a healthy baby! And he will obviously be the best and most beautiful and perfect baby ever seen. And inherit lots of things from us as a couple that will make him a special individual. I can't even tell you how much I want to meet him. And I'm not 'obsessed' with this gender thing at all. I was initially very upset but now it's just nervousness really.
I have some close female relatives who always wanted boys and just revel in all the boyishness of them, and I see it around me all the time. It does make me feel a bit inadequate.
bendingsppons- thanks, those are really helpful answers.
Mysterycat6- Ah thank you, your son must be so sweet! I think it is hard when I only know one real thing about our child so far, and that is his gender. I know it will be fine when I get my baby in 'real life'. We are not too far from parks but I do worry about the lack of space. I know girls can be really active too but I hear so much from mums of boys that they need to be exercised.
OP you seem to have friends/family who are being sexist. I work with children and talk no differently to them based on their sex! Yes, I will follow their interests but it is good for all children to have balance in how/what they play with. My friend's sons have pink things, prams, dolls, clomp around in high heels etc. My friend's DH was unsure about her son having a pram so she pointed out he was copying his daddy, who pushes him in the pram.
In the nicest possible way, you need to give your head a wobble. Quite a hard one.
This little boy will be your son, and utterly unique. He's not a picture in a Boden catalogue, or a collection of stereotypes. Nor would a little girl be. I'm pretty sure I'm a woman, but I despised having my hair messed around with, wearing dresses or playing shop. My Barbies were stark naked at all times as dressing them up was boring, and were rebels and highway robbers, and I was regularly found up a tree. I also loved poo jokes. If you'd had a daughter and she'd turned out like me, would you have been disappointed?
The people around you sound slightly odd - that talking to little boys like they're girls thing? What? How are you supposed to talk to little boys - should I be giving DS a manly slap on the back and making a joke about bums or something??
You are massively over thinking this and I truly hope a boy will pull you out of your glittery pink pathetic ideas of girl and boy.
Hope your arse doesn't hurt when you bounce back down to reality, and I do look forward to reading your finished article.
I partly get where you are coming from OP as I was quite worried about raising a boy. I now have two. In my experience the majority of supposed differences between girls and boys is down to socialisation - especially TV programmes and adverts.
Boys and girls both need chance to run about outside, do craft and do "small world" play. I had to hunt to find a kit to help my son learn to sew that wasn't dripping in girliness, in the end I found a nice animal sewing kit which he loves. It's awful really, sewing is a basic skill that everyone should learn, it hacks me off to see it being marketed as a "female" activity.
I guess what I'm saying is that you need to put aside the stereotypes which you have grown up with and help your son grow into the person he wants to be.
My son is pretty calm and never hits or fights, but honestly, so many times when I have disciplined him I have had people say "oh boys will be boys...", i.e. expecting a lower standard of behaviour just because my child is male. That attitude is behind a lot of the supposed differences between girls and boys.
Thing is OP, there's no guarantee that any daughter you had would like those things either. You could end up putting a lot of pressure on your child by forcing them to be the girl you want them to be rather than appreciating them as an individual.
I'm a mum of 2 boys and I treat them exactly as I would if they were girls; we bake, sing and dance to Frozen and play with dolls and doll's houses. This is alongside taking them to the park, on their bikes and playing with Lego, activities I would do with girls too. I see no difference between the way I treat my sons and the way my friends treat their daughters. I'm quite a feminine person and don't have many stereotypically male interests but that doesn't stop me being a good mum to boys.
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