If I were reading about a mother who didn't want to raise a son (as you have been for the last week), I would probably be thinking this: Lady, you are pathetic. You have a healthy, growing, thriving little boy. There are mothers all over the world who have buried their sons, yet you are so selfish that you wish you had had another daughter? Get over it.
Yeah, I'd be pretty judgemental. I get it that I am privileged to even have the opportunity to reflect on why I find it difficult to raise a son. Still, how much worse of a mother would I be if I didn't reflect on my feelings and direct my thoughts toward investigating my attitude and healing my past (from which my attitudes come)?
And so I will finish these reflections on gender with the following thoughts:
In May, The Toronto Star ran a story about a couple who are refusing to reveal the gender of their baby in order for the child to grow up without all the stereotypes associated with gender.
I think they are brilliant.
I had first read about gender fluidity (for children) in April and I was really intrigued by it. When I read about Baby Storm who is being raised by possibly the most open-minded, loving, accepting parents on the planet I was absolutely thrilled to learn that there are parents who are so incredible.
I am simply not even mature enough to embrace what they have done--prevent gender stereotyping by not divulging the gender of their baby. But I get it. I totally get it.
You see, I just don't think that sex and gender matter. At least, not when it comes to how I want to raise my children. I don't believe that the stereotypical 'male' and 'female' behaviour that people are so quick to observe in my children actually have anything to do with sex or gender.
My daughters love to wear dresses. They choose pink and purple clothing when we go shopping. They love their Barbie dolls.
AND, they refuse to wash or comb their hair. All 3 of them. They play in mud. Often. They ride on Tonka trucks down our sloping driveway, slamming their feet into the sidewalk just inches before they would shoot out onto the road. They climb trees. They delight in feeding bugs and worms to the chickens.
They are active, curious, busy children and I don't see that any of their behaviours are related to how they identify themselves as girls. And I don't see that any of my son's behaviours are related to being a boy. He is simply growing up the best way he knows how in the environment that he was born into.
The boundaries that I place on Julian will be the same as the boundaries I place on my daughters. We don't tolerate aggression. We don't act with prejudice, arrogance or ignorance. We show kindness and compassion to our family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. We value patience, fulfillment, safety and good health. We choose to live in Freedom and Joy.
What if my son starts hitting or biting? Well, so what. One of my daughters went through a brief aggressive period. We responded with patience and understanding; she doesn't hit or bite anymore. What if my son wants to play with cars and trucks and trains? Well, he can if he wants. He can also play with Playmobil and Duplo and My Little Ponies and Barbies and whatever he wants. What if my son wants to wear dresses and hair barrettes? Okay. He likely won't forever.
I'm done talking about gender.
PART 1: Disappointment after my Son's Birth
PART 2: Gender Stereotypes
PART 3: 6 Reasons I did Not Want a Boy