When I was pregnant with my first child, I was certain that we would be welcoming a little boy into our lives. After all, my husband was one of five boys. I also wasn’t a mom that dreamt of little bundles of pink, tea parties and playing dress-up. I dreamt of playing catch in the back yard in the evening light (just as I had with my Dad), wrestling after dinner and cheering them on from the stands as they scored their first touchdowns. As the youngest of four, with two older brothers, my childhood revolved around playing sports, building dams in the neighborhood creek and swinging wildly out of tree forts from a home made trapeze. I always played more with the boys at recess, and was more comfortable in my soccer cleats than my patent leather shoes I’d have to wear for Christmas Eve mass. Being around boys was my comfort zone and I always thought I’d be a better mom to boys than girls.
A week before I my due date, I finally came to the terms with the idea that maybe this baby was actually a girl. In all my preparedness, I had not one girly item of clothing ready. In a panic, I drove to the local thrift store and bought a pile of dresses, pink onesies and socks with lace trim. Soon after, we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world on a hot August morning.
Now that I’m raising girls, I’m intrigued with my friends tales of what it’s like to be a mom to boys. In a world where I’m constantly looking for ways to support my girls’ self-esteem, promote positive body images, and push them to be strong leaders, I wonder what I would be doing for boys if I had them instead? Moreover, it makes me wonder what elements of parenting I’m engaged in that will help my girls grow up to be women who will understand and encourage the MEN in their lives.
This month, we published stories around the theme 'MEN'. Here is a look back at a month of stories about the relationships to the MEN in your life, in all its complexities.
You wrote about what it means to be a man and how your boys have healed you. In the last weeks of your father's life, you talked to him on the phone every day, and will always call your baby boy My Litte Man. How being different is okay, and that being Mr. Mom isn't always a picture of perfection. And sometimes, a little humor is best, even if you feel like the bad wife.
A father wrote about what dads really talk about when they go out for dinner. You pushed yourself and learned the lessons others can teach us. You even decided to stay when you didn't know if you could.
Sometimes you need a punch in the gut to put things in perspective, or a college boy to make you want to change the world so that no one has to be afraid to walk alone.
Becoming a stepdad means lots of different things, and you might pay the price for your husband's six pack.
You wrote about how it takes a village to build something whole, and how one little girl was born again to a new mother.
Mothers think about the men in their life all the time and some wait their entire life for just a few hours with their fathers.
The matters of the heart can be so real, like the vasectomy that brings up feelings up fear, sadness, worry, and relief.
You thanked your warrior mom for their courage in tough times. You knew deep in your soul that your family would be better together and kept fighting against the cancer in your husband's lungs.
You wrote about the ripple effect of a runaway dad and what it's like to raise children in a world without waiting. You told the mom sitting across from you in the hospital that she is not alone.
Seeing a loose tooth made you cry, and somedays you feel as if you've just failed as a mother. You're working so hard to raise sons who will dismantle the rape culture. And you're not sure how to answer the tough question; “Are you my real mother?”
You make your case for why the world needs more men who cry. You distincly remember the day you saw your husband truly become a father, and the day your daughter did the unthinkable and ate her own poo!
Life can bring big surprises when the timing just doesn't work. The longing in our hearts is powerful, especially after those we love pass on, leaving a huge space in our lives.
You showed us how teenage boys aren't always what they seem and that there is always a way through the obstacles we face in life. In lieu of a mom, you respected your father, and collaged the memories so we have them forever.
This Thanksgiving you found hope in cooking a meal with your family and found gratitude in your every day.
These were amazing stories, and in all of them you wrote about the cards that life has dealt you. And you wrote about how being a parent, in the end, might have just made you a better poker player.
November 2014's theme men is brought to you by
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