I recently read a great blog called "The Great List of Things I Can't Do Because I Only Have Daughters." It was by a father of two daughters who has taken a big baseball bat and punted out of the park any suggestion that there is a long list of boy-only activities that he and his girls are missing out on. It made me think... As a "that's it, no more" mother of three young boys, what is on my list of special things that I will never ever be able to do with my children? Sniff!
I've racked my brain and come up with a list of stereotypically "girly" activities to see where I sit with them. Here goes:
1. Go shopping. The boys love choosing their own outfits. Admittedly, it is not a marathon session, but that suits me, as I am not a huge fan of spending hours searching for clothes.
2. Do their hair. OK, there are no clips or ponytails (well, not so far), but there are specific requirements regarding style, straightness and cool spikes, which require precise hair drying.
3. Play with ponies, babies, kitchens and other things that aren't cars. We have them all. Whoever made the decision in the past that cars were for boys and ponies were for girls has clearly never visited my house. From horse toys to fancy dresses and yes, even My Little Ponies, we are well-stocked! (See photo above.)
4. Watch a Disney princess movie together. We haven't seen them all, but in the words of Elsa from Frozen, I can "Let it Go" because I have lost count of the times we have watched that princess movie. We know all the songs!
5. Dance. We do. A lot. We love music.
6. Craft and bake. Yes, we do it all. Drawing, painting, gluing... then baking everything from muffins to cakes to bread.
7. Go for coffee and chat. We do this already and I look forward to continuing to do so as they grow.
8. Be happy and so proud of my family. I truly am.
9. Teach them to wear high heels. I concede I don't and (probably!) won't in the future, but they are more than welcome to parade about the hallway in my shoes should it take their fancy!
10. Show them how to pluck, wax and shave every inch of their body hair. To be honest, this is a relief!
There is a difference here between my list and the list Mike Reynolds posted. Whereas his list ended on the bright note that, apart from multidirectional peeing, he was not missing out on anything with his family of girls (and I agree), there is a "but" to my story.
It is cool for girls to like Spider Man. It is trendy for them to wear blue. Parents love watching girls try out for traditionally male sports. But, while I don't think it is right, there seems to be a short list of activities for my boys that, as yet, are not so socially acceptable.
1. To dress up too "girly." I use this term very loosely, but I suppose it means my boys will be judged for dressing like a fairy, a princess, or in top-to-toe in pink -- though a little "salmon pink" seems to be fine.
2. To paint their nails. Even if they think a color would be cool, what would their friends think?
3. To try out for traditionally "female" sports. There are a few boys doing it but, for example, girls still dominate activities like ballet, netball and even some elements of gymnastics.
4. To show too much emotion or their soft side and risk being called a "wimp."I have a real fundamental issue with this one, and will defend to the end of my days my boys' rights to be able to talk openly and display their emotions. However, there are many parents who hold quite different views in relation to raising boys.
If a father of girls risks his daughters never wearing a dress as they grow up because they played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (unlikely!) I suppose I run the risk of my boys skipping through fields armed with a basket of baked buns on their way to a tea party, and what is wrong with that? More fundamentally, the worry with regards to boys seems to be that by allowing them to partake in all that girls do, I will somehow diminish their masculinity. Ultimately, I know my boys will be who they are meant to be and I hope that having a rounded upbringing will make them confident and strong individuals who are also emotionally connected and great fun to be with as friends and partners.
So, as to the great list of things I can or can't do... I really do believe that if it is your choice and you are blessed to have a family, then the experiences it will bring will be perfect for you. Differences are not dictated by the sex of the child, but rather by the unique personality of the child themselves. It would seem I have proven what I already knew -- I am indeed lucky to be a mother of boys!