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30 Comments

  1. Love this! Every time I read something about Mom of boys, I have to roll my eyes. My daughters Charlie and Lucy both love to run, fart, climb trees and play with superheroes and legos. We need to quit assigning what is a boy thing to do and a girl thing and just say it’s a kid thing.

  2. In so many ways I agree with this article. The bottom line is there is more overlap between genders than not. But…..

    As a staunch feminist, I’ve have questions about how to talk to my boys about feminism. I have questions about raising boys immune from some of the more harmful characteristics deemed masculine in our culture. Just as girl moms I sure feel the same way about their daughters, wanting them to become empowered women. But are the tactics the same?

    I observe that more boys are outside at parks by a margin of 2:1 than girls. Why? Do girls not need to run as much as boys? I assume that’s not true. Then why are girls always outnumbered at public parks even in the summer? I have questions. Why are there so many books about raising empowered girls and so few about raising nurturing boys? I am not raising girls. I only know the raising boys experience.

    Ideally, I agree with everything in this article. And before becoming a “boy mom” I thought such labels ridiculous. Humans are human.

    But now, in practice, raising boys my shoulders relax when I meet a mom of boys or a mom who has a mixed bag because often I feel judgement from “girl moms” about my frenetic, loud boys who make toy guns with their hands, call each other poop names, and are generally rough & tumble.

    Do I encourage this play? No. Do they watch anything other than PBS Kids? No. But still guns, poop talk, physical play its all there. And with each boy the “boyness” seems to compound.

    I love this topic and I find it fascinating. I don’t think boys and girls are very different. But I do firmly see our culture REACTS to boys and girls very differently. It’s in that space, I find comfort in the camaraderie among boy moms.

    1. I agree!! Very well stated! ?

  3. Oh my gosh – I love this SO much! I have three girls and so often I hear people say I don’t know what it’s like to have boys. I do. My middle just does all the “boy stuff” in a dress.

  4. Yes!! I have 1 girl and 2 boys (and #4 on the way)…I will admit my daughter is more of a “girly” girl but and my boys are “all boy” but they all gets bruises, romps on the furniture, play with trucks and legos, cannonball onto the bean bag, fart, dress up, play with playdough, and color pictures. My 4 yo son changes his clothes way more than my daughter did or does (apparently multiple outfit changes is a “girl” thing). My 2yo and his 3yo friend walk around daycare in princess shoes. They are all kids!!

  5. I have two boys and a girl. I can say that my daughter is much more like the stereotypical “boy”. I think it is more accurate to compare kids personalities over gender. You never know what you are going to get but all of us love them.

  6. I’m so glad you wrote this! I have two girls (no boys yet), but they are rambunctious. A lot of my best “mom” friends are moms of boys and our kids are quite similar. I believe it is harmful to put other moms in boxes of “girl mom” or “boy mom” because who needs extra division? I’ve read several articles about how much of how we view boys and girls is all on us, and that in the early years, most boys are girls are nearly identical in behavior. Love how you promote bonding between moms of all types. :-)

  7. Thank you! I hate ‘boy mom’ stuff – as the mother of a sensitive, emotional boy I find it irritating to be told things like ‘he’s a boy – just put him outside with a ball, he’ll be happy’ when I talk about finding things to do… no, he won’t. He’s not sporty in any way, he loves to run, but only with someone, and he’s more likely to pick dress up than climb up. I don’t know why he and I have to be labelled because of his gender and my best friends are the ones that see him for who he is, or listen to what I’m saying rather than assuming that he’s ‘a boy’.

  8. Kelly, this is so well written and so true. I love how you advocate removing the line in the sand. Every word had me nodding the whole way through.

  9. I’m a mum to four … Boy, girl, girl, boy. I seem to have a bit of everything. I even had two natural births and two c-sections, bottle fed and breast fed. I’ve tried it all. Lol. My kids were all born within 5 years and so are very close in age. I think this has a big influence on what stereotype boy/girl things they do. My first son loved running around with his sister’s pram and matching handbag when he was two but has always been drawn to cars and Lego and playmobil. My youngest son loves to cuddle and give kisses and snuggle but also loves rough play. They all love to snuggle up and listen to stories and equally all love getting out and running and climbing at the park. My younger daughter is very ‘through other’ … she has long, curly tangled hair as she hates having it brushed, she grabs the first items of clothes she comes to even if they don’t match, she loves her bike, skateboard, fliker, cars and legos, she is always playing with them and playing with her brothers. We even got her her own hot wheels transporter and cars for her birthday so she had some she could call her own. Any dress up opportunity I know she won’t be going as a princess. At a superhero and princess dress up party when she was 4, she went as a knight while every other girl was a princess. For World Book day over the years she has gone as a farmer, a princess and a ‘thing’ (from Dr Seuss) and for a Spanish day at school she went as Zoro while her big sister went as a flamenco dancer. My older daughter is much more typically girly … she’ll dress up as a princess or fairy, she likes dresses and doing her hair and music and singing and dancing. My other daughter likes these things but not as much. My boys love to dress up, always have. They like to play cars and legos and be out on their bikes but they also like playing pets or shops and all kinds of role play etc. I think having boys and girls so close together has helped them not be bound by the stereotypes society tends to assign them as they learn and copy from each other and so have had the chance to be themselves, and decide for themselves their likes and dislikes. Hopefully that makes sense. Lol.

  10. The only thing I know that will remove sharpie is nail polish remover. You should test a spot first, because sometimes it will also remove color from the carpet, but sometimes it doesn’t. It also has toxic fumes, so you’ll need to wash it out really well after you’re done dissolving and blotting out the marker. Hope this helps. :)

  11. I’m a mom of 4 boys, ages 9, 8, 3 and 1. They are all different. I agree we need to be more pro-mom instead of #6boymom girlmom. In general, I think Moms need to be more understanding to each other and not judge. Life is hard enough. Coffee and wine cheers to all of you.

  12. This post totally resonates with me! My oldest is a girl. A very rambunctious, climbing everything, always upside down, covered in bruises, girl, who loves Paw Patrol, Pokémon and Transformers as much as she loves MyLittle Pony and Princesses (or more!). Every time I would describe her antics to my “boy mom” friends, I would hear something along the lines of “Just wait until you have a boy!”. Sure enough, by the time she was 4, she had 2 younger brothers. Her first brother had severe colic, and quickly taught his 19mo sister how to be heard above the din, but other than that and his preference for cars over animals, she fits at least as much of the typical “boy” description as he does, if not more! They both potty trained within a couple months of turning 3, but my son skipped over the phase of painting the carpet brown with poo (which his sister had done several times, much to my dismay). If anything, my son is the more cautious of the two! She even got mad when I took her “pet” spider outside, whom she had been having a nice conversation with, apparently. I guess if you only have experience with one gender, it’s easy to assume that there’s some black and white difference, but that’s FAR from the truth! Thanks for sharing your experience and wise perspective!

  13. You daughter sounds just like my third son! Maybe they could cause trouble together while my other two boys read, color and do all those other calm activities they enjoy…. Oh and if you figure out how to get sharpie out of the carpet… let me know ? Thanks for writing this! I do have three boys but I hate the disconnect it can create just because I don’t have a girl too! We’re all moms!

  14. I am the mom to three girls and my youngest is my “boy” too. She is active, crazy, strongwilled, and loves fart jokes and potty humor more than my brothers do—and that’s saying something! My experience with her has made me realize that while girls and boys have their stereotypical things that are true for many, some cross that line and are not stereotypical at all.

  15. As a parent of both genders I can say this: my daughter loves sports, legos, star wars, baseball, hates pink, and only has friends who are boys. It’s who she is. My son loves to cook and is often gentle. My point being that while there are some basic generalizations between the sexes, each kid is different and we are only undermining them and sticking them in boxes that don’t always fit if we insist on playing to stereotypes. Even if, as moms, we are doing it in an unknowing, sharing kind of way, it still reinforces false stereotypes. My daughter would sooner stay in bed then wear something with rainbows and pink and is horrified by the toy aisle that she’s dolls, pink, horses, and ‘sassy’ girl attitude. So yes, sometimes we are wired differently but honestly, we know enough now to say that it really does depend on the kid. I really appreciate your article and I wholeheartedly agree that we need to support each other and not divide up, both for our kids and for ourselves as parents.

  16. Mom of 5 Boys says:

    I think the thing with being a boy-only mom is that it is lonely. Culturally we are told the best thing we can do for our children is to get out of their way, to not raise “mama’s boys” and be ready to completely step aside and wait for our future daughter-in-laws to dictate what our relationship with our children and grandchildren will be like. When we talk about being boymoms it’s more a way to bond over the fact that our time with our children is so much more limited than girlmoms. And even though our individual sons may be very close to us we will never be publicly celebrated they way every other parental relationship is. Until you have been overlooked for father/son ball games, mother/daughter teas, and father/daughter dances with no event for mothers and sons you really don’t get it.

    1. Wow that’s sad :( ! You make some good points. They need to start making “mom/son” things into a thing!

      I think women sometimes are practically made to feel guilty they aren’t men if they have little boys, Since men are so unrepresented in little boys’ lives women can be undervalued since we are so commonplace and present (as mothers and care providers and teachers) .

  17. Even moms of girls wont have the same experiences with their girls same with moms of boys. Parenting is just something that may be hard sometimes but so fun. So cheers to all the moms out there. :):)

  18. this is very true – there is great variability in children no matter their gender – they are first and foremost little humans – children! I am from a previous generation and although the boy/girl debate has always raged we did not have the divisive aspect of making critical comparisons on social media! Using this amazing technology to encourage cooperation and sharing support rather than competition and rivalry between well-meaning and often struggling parents is a much better idea!

  19. Mackenzie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was just talking about this yesterday. I have one daughter. No sons, but maybe in the future. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when moms say, “I have no idea what I would do if I had a girl. I’m a boy mom.”

    Really? No idea? I could have a boy tomorrow and know what to do. Would that child be different from the one I have now? Yes, because they would be two different human beings.

    Yes, obviously, there are differences between girls and boys, but you’re limiting your child if you only expose them to things that are “girl things” or “boy things.” Or only praise them for things that fit into their gender stereotype.

    I work for a private K-12, and I gave a tour to two moms of boys the other day. As we walked into our art building one mom said, “This is a beautiful building, but we have boys, so they probably won’t be interested in art.” It took all of my power to respond with, “Your son may not be interested in art because he doesn’t like art, not because he’s a boy.”

    I have an older brother, and my mom will be the first to tell you, I was the trouble maker. I was the one that got into things. I was the one my mom caught walking across the dining room table after she turned her back for just a minute, and the one who climbed the walls, and the one who routinely climbed out of her crib during nap time.

    My doctor routinely commented on my bruised shins at check ups, and was glad to see I played constantly.

    So yes, mom’s of girls understand kids who never stop moving and play hard. Just like moms of boys understand the sweet moments of cuddling and hugs.

  20. Madelaine says:

    Hello, mom of boys here, my oldest son is 7 almost 8 and my youngest is 14 months old. I think the difference between moms of boys and moms of girls is our style…the momma’s style. I have friends who only have girls and they are more girly looking,dress up in a cute way. I also have friends who only have boys like myself and our style is more like jeans, converse, no make up on. I don’t know ladies, that’s what i’ve seen so far but i’d like yo hear your opinions!

  21. Nope. Sorry. Not the same. You’ll never clean urine off the wall because your sons got in a literal pissing contest. And one day you’ll have a daughter who will come to you and you get to give her your real life woman to woman experience. I’ll never have that. So don’t take what I do have from me.

  22. Julie Hahn says:

    Mum of two of each, here. You’re spot on. Families need each other, no matter what they look like. And my experience tells me that no parenting expert has more than 2 children. Once you have that third, all preconceived ideas fly out the window. Boy, girl….doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we care for each other

  23. I am a mom of 6 boys and one girl and I do not totally relate to this article. My boys are VERY different from my daughter and until I had my daughter I could never REALLY understand what its like to be a girl Mom. Very diffetent worlds, but both equally awesome

  24. I think what boy moms are saying is “I’m alone in my house full of men who sometimes don’t get a women’s perspective. I’m alone in asking that something be a priority when they just don’t get it. If you have two females they connect on a level that you don’t get with boys. Of course they love their mama but sometimes they ALL just don’t get it

  25. Thank you! I needed to know I wasn’t alone in thinking the hashtag should be #mom instead of #boymom or #girlmom. The boy mom craze is everywhere and I become very frustrated because most of the things they say make up being a boy mom are the same that make me a girl mom.

  26. I agree with most of this 100%. My daughter, my firstborn, was constantly climbing, farting and laughing about it, talking about bums and loved playing in the mud. I also have 2 boys. Interestingly, my boys were fully potty trained before 2, talking in sentences by around 18 months, and have always been far too concerned with what they wear each day. My girl was late to train, and didnt ditch diapers until close to 4, had zero interest in talking until she was nearly 3, and would have worn the same clothes for a week if I had allowed it. My oldest boy (now 7) loved babies and has had a special baby Kyle doll for almost 5 years now. He loves to bake with me and he could sit and talk for hours with nearly anyone.
    But, there are definitely differences.
    I never once had to ask my daughter to please remove her finger from her vagina while at the dinner table, but I’ve had to ask my boys MANY times to please remove their hands from their penises in almost any and every situation. I never walked into the bathroom to find my daughter peeing into the tub/shower, trying to see how high she could get her urine to reach. But my boys have done this, and I’ve also caught them peeing on eachother while in the bath. Being a boy mom means navigating a journey with our sons that we have never traveled before. I can teach my daughter about periods and feminine hygiene, about makeup and leg shaving and prom dresses. I’ve been a young girl and a teen girl and a young woman. I can share my experience with her because I’ve been her before. Or at least, I’ve been in her shoes. But with my boys? I have to learn WITH them. I cannot share certain experiences with them, because my voice never changed during puberty. I do NOT have experience with a random erection while sitting in 7th grade math. And probably the most important thing? I have to teach my boys to respect women and to be good husbands and fathers someday. There is a fine line I will need to tread carefully and my approach will impact his adult life forever. Never lay hands on a woman in anger. But, defend yourself with minimal force if necessary. The 3 strikes rule. A female hits you? Verbally ask her to stop and remove himself from the situation. She assaults you again? Use the least strength and force needed to get away from her. She comes at you again? Well, shove her to the ground and restrain her until help arrives. It is assumed he will have called the police by that point. Someone I once loved took his own life when we were in our mid 20’s, because he was the victim of domestic violence and he chose not to defend himself and felt that taking his life was a better alternative than admitting he was being abused. As a domestic violence survivor myself, this is just such a hard topic and I’m extremely conflicted. But here’s another keynote… My 7yo is incredibly sensitive. He has very low self esteem, calls himself ugly and fat (he is neither), thinks he is “stupid”. He isn’t. At all. He is emotional and empathetic and while I find these characteristics to be positive, as a male, he ALREADY AT 7, thinks he should have tougher skin. There are support groups local to me, for girls. None for boys and I was turned away when I asked if they’d consider him. There are ZERO workbooks or coloring books to empower boys. Zip. Nada. And his pedi is working to help us find him a counselor or therapist, but somehow, those locally who work with young children, don’t work with young boys, and the only 2 within a 20 mile radius are not accepting new patients.
    Being a boy mom, to me, doesn’t mean that I’m raising the holy grail tiny humans with penises. It doesn’t mean that my life is more chaotic than my cousins who has only daughters. To me, it means that I am raising humans who will, at so many various stages, be faced with challenges that I simply cannot identify with.
    This is similar to the father/daughter bond. It’s one that both of us are facing together for the first time.

    1. I just wanted to add that as a boy mom, we also know our time being the most important woman in their lives is limited. My boys both love to hold my face in their hands and kiss each of my cheeks and tell me constantly that they want to marry me someday. And I have to let them down each time and remind them that I’m married to their daddy and that when they grow up, they’ll fall in love and Marty someone else. And that she will become the most important and significant woman in their lives. I already dread the day knowing I will gracefully step aside as his wife takes my place by his side, being the woman who means the most to him. But my daughter will always need me. For advice, for comfort, for lunch dates and helping with her own children. She will call me at 1am and ask me what to do when her own little one spikes a fever. My sons wives will call their own moms. I worry every single day that I am doing something wrong and that I won’t have prepared him properly for marriage or fatherhood. I do also worry the same for my daughter, but as I said, I know she will always reach out to me when she is struggling. My boys won’t. And as someone else stated above, there are no mother/son events. There are no tea parties or lunches for moms and sons. There are no mom and son dances and there are no mothers vs sons ice hockey matches. Fathers and daughters and fathers and sons and mothers and daughters have many different events and opportunities.