I always figured I would have daughters. I won’t go so far as to say I envisioned myself holding bundles of pink and sparkles, but in the back of my head I looked forward to raising kick-ass girls who would rock and roll — girls who would build on the momentum of a righteously feminist mother and hopefully one day leave me sputtering in the dust.
Then I went and had boys. And I’m here to tell you I am that mom of boys.
You know the one I mean, right? (Don’t lie. I can see you rolling your eyes from my couch.)
I’m the boring mother who insists that if they’re talking about a female over the age of 18, they use the word woman. I’m the one who jumps on any chance to point out how we use words differently when we talk about boys and girls. And yeah, I stretch it a bit far sometimes to make a point. Usually, it snaps back and hits me in the ass, but there you go.
I’m the one who lectures them until I’m sick of the sound of my own voice about listening when people say, “I don’t like that,” or “Stop touching me” — even though my youngest is only 8 and has no interest in girls. Or boys. Or animals for that matter. But over and over, I say, “Look at me when I’m talking to you. This is important. When someone says not to touch them, you must stop touching them right away.”
I’m that boring-ass mother who’s constantly bringing up the achievements of girls and women. I’m the one who’s teaching my sons to hold the door open for everyone, not just girls — because it’s not about being a gentleman, it’s about not being an asshole.
I’m the one who’s constantly harping on about how even though boys and girls are different, and men and women are different, one is not better than another. I’m the one always reminding them you can’t tell if someone is a boy or a girl by the length of their hair or the color of their shirt, by what they like or don’t like, or by what they do or don’t do.
I’m the over-the-top mom, the one continuously pointing out stereotypes.
I’m the one who doesn’t let my kids play video games that objectify women. I’m the one who made sure they know what a period is, what tampons are for, where babies come from, and what boobs are for. I’m the one who taught them the word “vagina.” I’m the one who, when they’re ready, will be explaining that yes, women like sex because it feels good.
I’m the overzealous mom who sat down with her second grade son when he started going to school dances about how to respect girls, and what to do if a girl asked him to dance and he didn’t want to. I’m the one who told him that it wasn’t okay to laugh or make fun or disrespect, even if he wasn’t interested — or in his case, terrified at the thought.
I’m the one who has told them if I ever find out they’re making fun of a way a girl looks, I’ll take them down. If I ever find out they’re demeaning a girl, I’ll take them down. If I find out they’re using sexually charged insults, I’ll be over them like white on rice. I’m the one who sounds like a whining drill that when I keep saying things like “cry like a girl” it is insulting, unfair, and untrue.
I’m that annoying mom who doesn’t excuse aggression just because my kids are boys.
I’m the slight nutcase who has endless dinner table conversations about how women are underrepresented and how history only tells the story from one point. I’m the one who quizzes them on history facts about women and voting rights. (Yes, I really am that mom.)
I’m the one that will sit their asses down and give them talk after talk about sex and consent and how if they are ever unsure, the answer is no.
I’m the one who is boring them to tears with conversations about the roles women have played in history.
I’m the one who is passionately ranting about how to make things equal, and how it is important to value people for who they are and not assume they’re better just because they are a boy or a girl.
I’m the one who’s not worried so much about raising my sons to be gentlemen. Your daughters don’t need gentlemen. They deserve boys and men who view them as equals.
I’m the pain in the ass, you-are-sick-of-hearing mom who is continually pointing out that not only can girls do anything boys can do, but boys can do anything girls can do — well, except for the birth thing.
Yes, I’m that mom.
I’m a pain in the ass. I go on and on. I am a record stuck in a groove. I’m that mom.
I’m the one who is raising boys to view your daughters as equals, as partners, and as people. I’m the one who’s doing her damnedest to raise men who don’t worry as much about holding open doors as they do about making the world a more equal — and thereby better — place for us all.
I’m willing to take the fall, to be the patsy, to ignore the rolling eyes and huffing sighs…if it works.
I’m that mom.