Raising my Son.

I tucked in my son for the night and realized again how quickly he changes. He goes in and out of the bed at night by himself to use the bathroom and is able to switch on the lights. But he could not do these things about a month ago. Kindergarten will start in September which is another huge, new chapter in his little life. He looks forward to it, without fear but rather excitement; I learn so much from him almost on a daily basis. My baby is not a baby anymore and grows up too quickly. Do I raise him in a good way? Am I a good mom? Can I raise him in a way to fight stereotypes later? The other day he told me what he wants to be when he grows up. He switches from pilot to doctor to astronaut (all fine with me, ha!) and I basically tell him he can do and be anything he wants to do and be.

If you followed my blog for a while you know that I love to listen to playground talk. I don’t really engage but I listen. [I always carry my moleskin notebook with me to get my thoughts on paper, especially stuff like this because it initiated this blog post]. So two mom’s spoke about how they hate it when their sons bring up any interests in let’s say “feminine things”. “This is not good for my son and he most certainly will not become a hairdresser or use makeup. He wants to use my makeup all the time. I think he is so weird because he wants to use my nail polish,” one mom says and I am inhaling and exhaling deeply. Don’t ever tell your son he is weird just because he wants to use your nail polish! Why not just raise my son to be a kind, a gentlemen and a confident person who is free enough to follow their dreams? Whatever they might be. 

I want to share a couple of things that work for me in this never-ending struggle or battle to educate and raise my son. We mothers signed up for this challenge when we got pregnant and nobody warned us. [Even if someone would have told me how difficult it will be sometimes, I would not have believed it since I know and will make everything better and different, duh!] This is one approach how I educate and raise my son: I let him cry if he wants to. I never tell him that he should not cry because he is a boy, or “only girls cry” and BS like this. I don’t want to raise a robot. He has feelings. He can cry. I also want to be his role model and I see and feel how he observes me. Questioning things, asking, researching, he wants to know what is going on. I can see how a certain type of behavior like heavy smoking and drinking, domestic violence etc. within a family can really mess these little people up.

Further, I think another important point is to just let him be himself. I let him chose what color he wants and won’t buy blue toothbrushes for him just because. The last time we bought new ones he wanted a yellow glittery one. Cool! It just always amazes me when I buy clothes for him and there is this teeny tiny boy’s section in the story with colors like grey, blue, brown or black and then five floors of girl’s stuff; which is usually a plethora of clothing from the standard (annoying) princess dress to a Carrie Bradshaw outfit for five year-olds. I want my son to follow his interests, I don’t want to put too many limits, within reason. If he wants to play with dolls and his girlfriends at the daycare one day, cool!. Who says boys have to play with trucks, lego and clay only? I never want to reinforce gender stereotypes. For some reason I also think that whenever he plays with girls he communicates differently. Different in a problem-solving kind of way. I encourage friendships with girls. [Must be a women-thing, I reckon]. Also, I think it is important to never use the word “girl” as an insult. [Or use “grab them by the pussy”]

I also teach him to take care of himself and others. He has certain little chores that need to be done. We clean together, do laundry, wash dishes, cook, go shopping. My son observes that there is a certain type of routine which is not a bad thing. The house can look like a mess when he plays but he cleans up when it is time to go to bed. We have a lot of elderly people in our neighborhood and my son observes how I talk to them and help them occasionally. He loves to take care of the neighbors cat when they were on vacation because I taught him. And now that he is “older” we can work together and he can help me with little tasks. I show him how I fold the laundry and he tries to fold his. So cute. 

I was not too good at teaching him that “no means no” in the beginning but I learned along the way and he respect me. This is the key I reckon. He knows the power of the word “no” and he mostly complies. One last point I want to add is reading. I love reading and so does he. I read to him almost every night and most certainly not only “boy-books” but also German “princess stories” like Rapunzel, and Snow White. I don’t want him to think that women need to be saved either. Being a mother and raising a child is not f*****easy. Far from it. 

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