Raising two girls and a boy
Navigating the world of willies came as something of a surprise after two girls. I was not prepared for the mother-son bond. People had generalised that boys are so much more loving than girls, but I didn’t expect it would be quite as different as it is.
I feel as though my girls were born to be independent, whereas this gorgeous boy, who we’ve affectionately named The Lovebug, relies on me for so much. At 20 months old, he still wants to be cuddled all the time. He still cries when I leave him at nursery, five months after he first started. And he still hurtles towards me with his arms outstretched, when I pick him up.
I’m glad he’s not my first. Because I think he would have me wrapped around his chubby little finger. When you have girls, you’re ever so slightly on your guard. Always. Possibly because you’re the same gender, you feel like they might always be one step away from trying to play you. This is certainly true of our eldest daughter. I hope that having two girls will stand in me good stead not to go overboard with the boy. Not to spoil him. Make allowances. Or do things for him that he can do himself.
Because mums of boys, we know how tempting it is, don’t we? To mother them. Not just in the traditional sense of nurturing but to do too much for them. To unintentionally stop them from needing to find their own way. Learning their own skills. And standing on their own two feet.
He’s only 20 months old. I’m not about to kick him out of the nest yet. But I do want to raise a self-aware, respectful boy. Who learns responsibility and will one day be a capable young man.
So, my boy, to this end I promise you this:
- You will always be loved and supported.
- You will always have your own, very important role in our family.
- I will not allow you to rely on your sisters to do stuff for you, just because they are older and bossier.
- I will always be here to talk to, about anything at all.
- But I won’t pry when you wish to stay silent (unless I feel you are in trouble in which case I’ll do whatever it takes to protect you).
- I will expect you to do chores, pick up your dirty clothes and hang up your towel.
- I will ‘nag’ you when you don’t do these things. You’ll thank me one day, honestly.
- I will insist that you live independently before settling down. There is no better way to find your way than living your way.
- When you find the love of your life, I will step aside and do everything I can to support you in your life as a husband and father, if that’s what you choose to be.
- Finally. You’ll always be my Lovebug (but I promise not to say this out loud beyond an appropriate age. Does seven sound ok?).