I Think About Men all the Time

Elke essays

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I think about men all the time. Mostly in a maternal raising sons, why is there pee everywhere, they are so sensitive, the world wants them to be aggressive, clean your junk, is testosterone poisoning a thing—kind of way. But I do think about them.

All the time.

When I was in high school I had a group of guys that I hung out with—I dated some, babied some, taught a few how to weld, worked with some and listened intently to Bob Dylan with all of them. I was a combination of Wendy and Tinkerbell. They were my lost boys.

I have maintained this status in groups of friends my entire adult life. I love my guys.

I was stunned to have sons. My apparently terrible maternal instinct assured me I was having a daughter both times. But now looking at it with some perspective it is little wonder I have Lost Boys of my own.

I worry about them. The lack of programs to ensure their self-esteem stays intact in spite of the conflicting media images about gender and sex. I worry that boys are struggling in school in droves. I worry that their gifts are so often portrayed as negatives—momentum, energy. I worry.

I worry about my husband and his contemporaries—being a man these days is one big old pile of contradicting expectations. So is being a woman. Basically we are all completely set up to fail. Expectations suck.

I don’t have answers. I have witty sound bites and a few zingers, but mostly I have no words. I need words to show the melting around my sons’ eyes when I implore them to make 10 seconds of eye contact with me at bedtime. I have no words to show you how much they love everything—me, life, mess, toys, each other. I feel like I am raising emotionally complex humans who are taught everyday to bottle it up. I want it to spill all over. I yearn for the right words to explain to the world how vulnerable my boys are. How vulnerable my husband is. I get that there are a million examples of people more exposed or threatened than my family, but this is my little crew, I want to protect them anyhow.

And so, I think. About men. About my Lost Boys. About your Lost Boys. I think and I think and I think. And I often have no idea what to do.

Pirates abound. What is this Wendy to do?


About the Author


Elke Govertsen is a entrepreneur and founder of Mamalode. She has been featured in Real Simple, Forbes, Where Women Create, Ad Tech, and listed as one of Origin Magazine's "Top 100 Creatives." She has been a speaker at The Girls Lounge, Adweek, C2Montreal, HATCH, TEDx and (her favorite) in classrooms. She speaks on a variety of topics from entrepreneurship to overcoming obstacles. She loves consulting in the areas of community design, storytelling and brand building. Her special skills include extreme bootstrapping, overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities. Of the many things she has learned by doing Mamalode, her ability to work with absolute chaos/kids/mess just might be the best. She is learning that slowing down creates more impact.

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