becoming Amy children momday

I means “I love you!”

The other day I was busy working on a project, and the kids were having fun playing with blocks.  My youngest son came into the kitchen and said, “Here, mom, this is for you.”  I asked him what it was for, and he said “it’s an I, I is for I love you!”  He wanted me to take a picture so I would always remember what it meant.  He is such a sweetheart.  When I tuck him into bed at night he asks me to pinky swear that we will love each other forever.  It’s not hard to agree to such a promise.
I worry about how our culture frowns on such sensitivity in boys and how, even though we love them when they’re sweet little boys, we usually ask them to grow up into tough and guarded men.  Why do we tell our sons that “boys don’t cry” and to “get tough”?  We fear for our sons if they are perceived as weak, but I wonder how much would change if we learned to embrace strengths other than physical ones?  My boy has a strong heart- full of love and kindness for other people.  He teases and torments his little sister, but he is also the first one to try to cheer her up if she’s sad.  If I embrace his empathy and his inclination to help and serve- and stop asking him to “get tough” I think he’ll become an amazing man.
I would love to hear your perspectives on raising children, embracing who they are and fighting against long held stereotypes and unrealistic expectations.
I’m off to go work on raising my children. 😉
p.s. Hope everyone had a Wonderful Easter Weekend!  Happy Monday.

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  • Catherine
    April 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I also think it's important to embrace and cultivate a level of sensitivity in our boys. I have a 6yo who I always refer to as "soft hearted". He is rambunctious and known to start trouble with his brother, but he is also incredibly loving & thoughtful.

    When he cries, I hug him and say there's nothing to be embarrassed about. When he does something loving, I tell him how nice it made me {or his brother, friend, grandma, etc.} feel.

    I understand that my husband doesn't want our boys to grow up to be crybabies or whiners {neither do I!}. That being said, I also don't want totally testosterone filled manly men void of sympathy, sensitivity, or love.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. It was smart of him to ask for a picture – – such a nice memory.


  • PootleFlump
    April 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Awwww that must have melted your heart! I have to say that IMO any man who suggests that boys should not show as much emotion or that they should "toughen up" are living in the dark ages! I personally would much prefer to have children who are confident enough to express emotions no matter what their gender. I think your story was very touching and your little boy sounds adorable! x

  • Gwen @ Gwenny Penny
    April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    What a sweetheart. He will grow up to be an amazing man, Amy, because you are raising him to be one. There is no way to escape the influences of the outside world, so he may come off as tough, but I think deep down (and when it matters), he will be the kind of man you are hoping he will be.

    I can't give you any advice on the whole boy thing. I do know that I make a conscious effort to eliminate stereotyping in front of my girls, but it makes me cringe when one of the grandparents tells them to act like a lady or says that little girls don't do that or that something is for boys.

  • Rachel
    April 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    What a sweet boy!

  • Lu
    April 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    What a sweet boy! My husband and I have agreed that we'll try to not make our boys any "tougher" than we make our girls. So far we just have one little boy and a girl on the way, though, so we'll see how that pans out 🙂 My husband is kind of a softie himself, so I'm hoping my little boy can keep all of his sweet sensitivity since Daddy is still sweet!

    We talk about being "tough" in getting over scrapes and bumps and the tears that are just more crocodile tears than hurt tears. But when our little guy is really sad or upset or hurt (even though it's rare), we try to talk it out with him and help him feel better. I imagine we'll do the same with our little girl… I don't want a diva!!

  • Amy @ Increasingly Domestic
    April 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    My son will lovingly play with a baby doll, giving her kisses and cuddles and then in the next minute throw her down on the ground and step on her head. I ambrace both sides of him. The strong and the loving. When he falls down I give him and hug and then tell him to shake it off. I did the same with my daughter.
    I agree with you that we need to stop telling our boys to be tough, but at the same time not coddle them. Happy medium:)