I feel like this article should come with a disclaimer stating that I am in no way saying parenting all boys is harder than parenting all girls. I am a woman; I know this not to be the case. However, I am blessed by three children. Three beautiful, healthy and wonderful boys. I can only speak as a mother of all boys. They light up my soul and bring me so much joy it hurts. Like literally, it hurts. From the ache of my jaw from uncontrollable laughter to the head butts, knees to the gut, and yes, the occasional hurt feelings. I thought all three of them were going to be girls. I was convinced, without a doubt that I would have a daughter or two. Then in that ultrasound room times three “oh, yep, definitely a boy!” With my first, I was overjoyed to hear the news of a son and my husband, and I quickly announced it to the world! When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I will be the first to admit there was a slight moment of disappointment when seeing those boy parts on the screen, but relief soon followed it. A huge sigh of relief. I had already spent the past 2.5 years raising a boy; I knew I could do it again. I also would save a fortune on clothing, toys, and various other gender specific items.
Soon after that, the concept of building a brotherhood sat well with me, and I was ecstatic that my oldest would have a brother to walk with through life. When I got pregnant with my third, I think I was somewhat indifferent to the gender of the growing baby, and although we did hope to add a daughter to our family, I knew deep in my soul it was a boy. In the ultrasound studio, we sat and waited for the technician to find those male-specific parts, and she said, “another boy!” my oldest flew out of his chair, threw his arms up in the air and let out a huge “YES!!”. Again, I felt the split second of sadness followed by immense relief and happiness to continue the brotherhood. The truth is I used to be a little pissed off about being a woman. After struggling with hormones, rape, sexual harassment, physical assault, bullying, miscarriages, pregnancy, and childbirth, I found it hard to think about bringing a female into this world. I doubted that I was healthy enough or whole enough to nurture a girl into a strong woman. That may sound like a less than the feminist statement, but it was my truth. It wasn’t until a year ago that I felt my sense of “girl power.” It wasn’t until I had a life with all boys and men that I found my femininity.
Men are physically and mentally different than women. This is science, and there is nothing anti-male or anti-feminist about saying so. I have known many good men, and I have also been robbed and stripped away of so many things by bad men, perhaps lending to a phase in my life that created an anti-male mentality. Having all sons has forced me, literally forced me for the sake of all our survival and sanity to confront my issues regarding men. These lively children of mine are non-stop intensity. It is go-go-go from the sun up until the sun down. There are no breaks; there are constant injuries, extreme temper tantrums, and seemingly mindless accidents.
Perhaps the most challenging thing for me with raising boys and men, in general, is the lack of sensitivity to what is going on around them. I am a communicator on all levels. I love having deep and meaningful conversations, and I like to be heard just as much as I like to listen. Living with all males (even my dog is a male) I realized that they had this tunnel vision. If they are focused on something, they will not notice anything around them much of the time. So it got me researching the biological difference between males and females. Fascinatingly enough I stumbled upon this article from Psychology Today that confirms my observations.
“Male brains utilize nearly seven times more gray matter for activity while female brains use almost ten times more white matter. What does this mean?
Gray matter areas of the brain are localized. They are information- and action-processing centers in specific splotches in a specific area of the brain. This can translate into a kind of tunnel vision when they are doing something. Once they are deeply engaged in a task or game, they may not demonstrate much sensitivity to other people or their surroundings.
White matter is the networking grid that connects the brain’s gray matter and other processing centers with one another. This profound brain-processing difference is probably one reason you may have noticed that girls tend to more quickly transition between tasks than boys do. The gray-white matter difference may explain why, in adulthood, females are great multi-taskers, while men excel in highly task-focused projects.”
I found this incredibly fascinating, but it got me thinking. What about those men that I do know who are sensitive to their surroundings? What did their parents do or what did they do that nurtured their empathy? Whatever it is, I want the secret! Or do I already have it? Do I already, through my struggles, through my research and my life lessons already know how to help these boys be more sensitive, to feel the power in their sensitivity and take pride in their empathy? I think I do. I think part of this is breaking the societal norms for our sons. Taking away the need for them to be this “tough guy” that society finds attractive. What if our future generations are going to evolve and break the DNA chain? This is not robbing them of their masculinity it is empowering them to be complete humans capable of compassion and empathy just like women. They will thrive. Empathy is an empowering attribute. To be able to connect with people emotionally is a quality that has always helped me in life.
When asked to define Empowered Parenting the first thing that comes to my mind is confidence. An empowered parent is one that can break away from societies standards and expectations. They are parents who are in touch with their intuitions and who trust themselves to make the right choices based on their family’s individual needs. I am an empowered parent of 3 sons; I stand in this power. I love them unconditionally and endlessly. I flow with the ever-changing rhythm of my children as they grow and develop into men. I empower them to be true to their nature. That is Empowered Parenting.
I would love to help empower you on your parenting journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to connect!
Endless love and gratitude,