Don’t Call Me a #boymom

I have two children, Charlie and Patrick. They are bright, energetic, silly, and kind.  They love trucks and coloring and Paw Patrol, painted toenails and mommy’s necklaces, going to the pool and crashing into things and laughing hysterically. Sometimes they happily smear mud in their hair, and sometimes they don’t want to paint because it will get their hands dirty. They are just as likely to make me swoon and take a million pictures of how adorable they are as they are to make me want to tear my hair out and run for the nearest locking bathroom for a breather.

And yes, they happen to both be boys. But they are children first.

Now that every milestone and moment is splashed across social media for everyone to consume and comment on, it seems like moms are increasingly being categorized, either by themsleves or by others, as a #boymom (cleans up a lot of pee on the floor, buys stock in air freshener, knows the names of all construction equipment ever, stain removal expert) or a #girlmom (throws tea parties, reads books and gazes lovingly into her perfect daughter’s eyes, has a separate closet full of bows and makeup).

I’m here to say stop it, guys. It’s just not necessary.

When I read anything relating to the culture of “being a #boymom” or similar, it all seems to revolve around the following scenarios:

  • “Dirt on their knees, no shirt, popsicle smeared face! #boymom” Except girls can, and should do this too. By categorizing this as something that “boys do,” you are reinforcing the cultural message that girls shouldn’t be messy and active.
  • “Trucks and cars and trains and Star Wars toys all over! #boymom” Toys are for everybody. Girls like playing with those types of toys, too, and some boys may prefer to play with toys more traditionally seen as “girl toys.”
  • “Look at my kids running wild and wrestling and play fighting! #boymom”  Sex or gender isn‘t an excuse for bad behavior. Creating a “boys will be boys” culture only hurts women in the long run. Teach ALL children to treat others with respect.  It’s not okay to be violent because you have a penis.
  • “Boys love their mamas! #boymom” That’s all well and good, but if that’s true, my poor husband has gotten the shaft twice. Both of my kids go through mommy and daddy phases in equal measure and for different reasons.
  • “The house is such a mess when I come home! #boymom” Again, girls are not magical neat freaks, and we are not responsible for cleaning up the messes that men make. 

Not only does #boymom culture excuse any number of sins that our sons commit, but it reinforces outdated and untrue stereotypes of girls and women. And what mom wants to be characterized as passive, as delicate, as afraid? What mom wants her daughters to be characterized that way? And who wants to marry a man that pees all over the bathroom floor, forgets to wipe his face after a meal, and thinks all women are delicate flowers?

So, don’t call me a #boymom. Call me a mom. And you be one, too.

, , , , , ,

9 Responses to Don’t Call Me a #boymom

  1. Lindsay February 11, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    Wow…I think we have very different definitions of what #boymom means. Just because someone else’s definition of “boymom” seems negative to you doesn’t mean that definition applies to everyone who uses the term. My boys have play kitchens and dolls and like to paint their nails on occasion. I am intentional about teaching them that boys and girls can play/say/do the same things, yet I still like to call myself a boymom because that’s what I am…a mom of two boys. Don’t let your negative association with a term give you a negative association with everyone who uses it.

  2. Heather February 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    I can agree with some of this, but the play fighting comment is ridiculous. Rough play, or big body play, is a normal and healthy part of child development. Of course it needs to be monitored, and if its too rough a parent needs to step in. Its not difficult to teach that rough play is fine, but if one if the participants is no longer having fun the play needs to stop. Making the statement that rough play will lead to violence against women, or anyone, in the future is just as silly and stereotypical as all of the “boymom” comments you complained about.

  3. Jessica February 19, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    I am a #boymom (im also a #girlmom) and I’m raising my boys to become men. I don’t see a mom of boys as being delicate or fearful or whatever… and I don’t see that as being the definition of girls in general. But, I DO want my daughter to be a girl. I want her to be kind and gentle and passionate and loving in the way that only women can be. I want my boys to be protective and kind and messy and loving in the way that only men can be. It’s not making an excuse for any behavior, it’s acknowledging that the sexes are different… parenting involves being hands on and teaching our kids to be respectful and kind to others in the process. By being a #boymom, you have a duty to raise them to be men and sometimes, as a mom, that means stepping out of your comfort zone. To me, #boymom means that I am a WOMAN trying to navigate this world of little dudes, loving every moment of watching them be a BOY (because that’s what they are) and hoping that through their big body play we don’t end up in the ER and praying that through all of this they become loving men and father’s just like their dad is.

    • Lindsey February 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

      Jessica – I loved everything you said! You put into words what was going through my head but couldn’t articulate.

      Also, I see the #boymom movement to be more uplifting and helping me feel less alone as a mom. I don’t have daughters but 2 amazing boys. My friends all have both and comment how much they love having a daughter and all plan mother/daughter activities together. I’ve even had complete strangers tell me how sorry they are that I don’t have a daughter. I like the sense of unity from other #boymoms. They embrace it and don’t look at me with pity.

  4. Kara February 19, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    I’ll respect your wishes not to be labeled a “boymom”, please also respect my choice to LOVE it. Also, please know that “play fighting” (of course within healthy boundaries) and running around wild and free is SO GOOD FOR ALL KIDS. “Boymom culture” as a label is ridiculous. Choosing to enjoy my three sons as they run around in their underwear, brandishing pool noodles and pretending to be knights doesn’t make me a bad mom. I think it makes me a pretty darn good one.
    But if you choose to live a different way, more power to you. I’ll also choose to not ridicule you for it.

  5. Amber February 19, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    I think the #boymom movement comes from the fact that there very, very distinct differences in little boys and little girls. I have three boys and I see this every time I go to their daycare, their preschool or when we have playdates. The little girls are always content to sit and play, while the boys are jumping and wrestling. Just because I characterize as this does not mean I would excuse their sins- I make them wash up after dinner and teach them to be kind to one another. Articles like this are the reason why the #mommywars are such a problem- let’s focus on lifting each other up and not taking life so seriously!

  6. Emily February 19, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    I understand your point that typical #boymom tags are very gender stereotypical. I have 3 boys and we have many stereotypical girl toys in our playroom. Just the other day I was at the dollar store with my three boys and I was buying three pairs of fairy wings with glitter. The check out clerk asked me if i had daughters at home and I replied no without realizing why she was asking. When she asked who the wings were for I looked at her and told her “My boys. The ones they have at home are broken because they like to play with them so much.” She just stared at me. So I definitely you on the toys are toys front and even kids are kids. But I do think having all boys is a special thing because it’s the mom I am and the family I have so I celebrate being a #boymom to my boys in my own way. And if that means playing outside with sticks with fairy wings on then that’s what a #boymom looks like. I really enjoyed your piece. 🙂

  7. Rebekah February 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    We live in a society now where people are offended by gender stereotypes. Yes, children are children and there things that girls and boys do alike but it is OK for us to recognize that some behaviors are more boyish and some more girlish. I am a proud #girlmom!

    No, they don’t run around shirtless with food on them or play fight. Yes, they do like to be princesses and won’t go to bed if their room is messy because they like things clean. Is this true of all girls? No, but that doesn’t mean when I talk about it I can’t use #girlmom

    God created men and women. That does not mean that all stereotypes are true of each gender but lets not get offended so easily to say I don’t want to be labeled #girlmom because boys can play dress up too. Or labeled #boymom because they play with cars when girls can too.

  8. Jessica February 19, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    Take a Xanax! Proud #boymom of 3!