I announced to you last night that Walter and I are having a boy! While I am over the moon excited, I wanted to share some things that have already been on my mind about raising a boy. I want to be sure to instill feminist ideals that Walter and I both live by in Finn, and make him the best friend/ally/coworker/whatever that he can possibly be. Here are some of the things that have been on my mind lately. I’m not at all claiming to know it all, or that this is a comprehensive list. It’s just some things that strike me as really important now that I know what I’m having!
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: So many men have absolutely no emotional intelligence whatsoever. I never want Finn to feel as though he can’t express himself, that he has to bottle things up, or that he can’t show emotion. This makes for damaged men who look to women to take care of them or act out. Not on my watch. I want him to be open and honest about his feelings, use descriptive verbal communication, and encourage him to keep us informed as to what is going on inside of him. I also want him to ask questions of his friends and partner, to get to know what they are feeling, to care, to want to help himself as much as others.
GENDER ROLES: It is so important to both Walter and myself that Finn sees us both doing household chores and taking care of one another equally. Neither of us is there to serve the other. I never want Finn to say “moms do laundry” or something equivalent. Men should do all of the things that women do. Walter does laundry, cleans, cooks - we help each other. My hope is that by showing him a household stays managed by 50/50 efforts, he won’t have expectations about what men do and what a woman should do.
GENDER NORMS: Another important thing to me is that Finn is raised without the concept of concrete genders. Everything is fluid, gender norms are stupid. We are buying him just as many blue and red things with trucks on them as we are things with pink, floral, fruit, etc. If he wants me to paint his nails, dye his hair purple (kid safe!), WHATEVER - I’m on board, let’s do it. I don’t want him to be robbed of even a second of happiness because he has to conform to what people find “normal” for little boys. I want to buy him all kinds of toys, including dolls (why do kids get raised that only girls take care of children, or that it’s boring for boys?) and other stereotypically girl toys. He will choose what he’s drawn to. If he wants nothing to do with sports, that’s fine by me. If he is into it, I’ll be at every game. I think this will be the most difficult with people outside of our little family, but I want him to be strong and show other people that it’s cool to be into whatever you’re into. There aren’t boy things and girl things, there are just things.
CONSENT: I want to raise him with a knowledge of consent from an early age. I think it’s easy for little boys to assert their dominance over little girls. As he gets older, I want to be sure that he knows that ONLY explicit verbal consent counts as consent. There is no grey area. If someone isn’t 100% telling you that they are on board with what is happening between you sexually, AND they aren’t 100% as excited as you are to be moving forward, you stop. There’s no need to try to coax someone into feeling differently. Just tell them that it’s okay and that you can do something else instead. I don’t plan on doing anything to gate keep his sexuality, but I want him to have the tools to be sexually active in a way that is safe and responsible. You can’t take back a moment where you pushed someone beyond their boundaries, so don’t get yourself in that position to begin with.
I can't wait to raise a happy and emotionally healthy little boy! Moms, help me out - Let me know in the comments how you are raising your son to be an ally, or what you would like to see from someone like me!