When I say I’m a #boymom

How my use of the boy mom hashtag has nothing to do with gender inequality. #Boymom

Image Credit: Pixabay

I usually don’t write reactionary articles, but I read this post  and it is just really bugging me today. In it, Mandi  shares that she is offended and annoyed by the #boymom hashtag.

To be honest, I was quite surprised to learn that calling myself a boy mom could possibly be offensive.

I don’t have any girls. I am a mother of boys, hence the #boymom hashtag you might find on some of my tweets, and instagram pics…(when I remember to post there, that is).

Mandi, however, finds this hashtag offensive.

Here is what she has to say about it (condensed for space):

Our girls are about frills and fashion, but they’re also rough and tumble…So when I see one of these activities labeled with the #boymom hashtag — as if they’re things that only boys do — I get more than a little annoyed… the #boymom hashtag is used liberally for activities that plenty of girls enjoy.

Here’s the thing…My days look a lot like this:  swinging on the swingset, baking with my boys, playing legos, playing with hot wheels, dinosuars, and other toys, homeschooling, playing in the mud…and lots of jumping, climbing, and being rough. Some days, like today, it also includes sewing up pink-eared stuffed animals.

Some of the things my boys do are typically considered “boy” things and some are typically considered “girl” things. While I believe that gender differences are real, I also believe that no one fits perfectly into any little box. And that’s okay.

Because I grew up a little girl, I know that my days could look very similar if I were a mom of girls.

But I’m not. I am a mom of boys.

I think the biggest problem here is our society’s fascination with taking a positive statement and implying a negative.

When I tag something with #boymom, it doesn’t mean, as Mandi implies, that girls can’t or shouldn’t do those same activities. It doesn’t even mean all boys do them. It means that my boy does. Plain and simple. It means this is a little glimpse of my life as a boy mom. 

So lets make a deal? When you share a picture of your little girl donning her apron in the kitchen and tag it #girlmom, I’ll just comment about how cute she is. I won’t think that the fact that your girl enjoys baking somehow means my boys can’t.

And when I share a picture of my boys doing something, please don’t twist that around to mean that your girl can’t or shouldn’t do that thing. It doesn’t mean that at all. And to be honest, I think the whole idea is a bit absurd.

But, the truth is Mandi has the right to read whatever negative connotation into my celebration of motherhood that she chooses. Jon Acuff wrote a great post a while back about how I can write what I write, but I can’t control how someone else chooses to read it.

But, isn’t it exhausting to be looking for offense in everything?

Motherhood is hard enough. Life is hard enough. And the mommy wars have been raging for far too long about far too many things for us to be inventing insult and offense where none was intended.

I agree with her that we should let our kids be who they are.  I’m just confused about how my sharing about my boys doing that somehow prevents her girls from doing the same. When I browse through the #girlmom and #boymom hashtags, I don’t see moms who are trying to somehow oppress the opposite gender. I see moms who are celebrating their children and motherhood.

Let’s just all agree to enjoy and celebrate our kids…and let others do the same.

Comments

  1. Sally Webster says

    YES! I read that same article and could only shake my head. I have both boys and girls, so everything is all smooshed together at my house, and we have a little bit of everything.

  2. says

    Wow, Crystal, this is the first I have heard of either, the post or the hastag #boymom…probably because mine are grown and out of the house :( But when My Three SONS were home, and I didn’t have girls either, my days were filled with all of the above, just like yours, they had stuffed 101 Dalmatians, and Beanie Babies too! They liked to mess in the kitchen, you couldn’t really call it cooking, lol. And they have grown up to be wonderful Christian men!

    Use whatever hashtag you want and enjoy every single day with those boys…you blink and they are gone :( Blessings!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Nannette, yes I am already seeing how fast they grow as my baby is turning 5 this Saturday. Makes me more determined than ever to fully savor all those moments.

  3. says

    Well, I suppose one could look for opportunities to get offended by such insignificant things…or one could choose to overlook a hash tag that so obviously has nothing to do with her family (since she has girls and no boys). Some people simply will not be pleased no matter what. We have become a society with our hearts on our elbows and our hands on our hips. Seriously – every time you turn around someone is offended by some hashtag, tweet, comment – and they are excoriated for daring to speak something – no matter how innocently or not. Great post! I agree with you 100% Thanks for the great party!

  4. says

    I heard once that “hurt people….hurt people” and I have learned that those who lash out and take offense easily are probably fighting battles that are not obvious…. and are speaking out of their hurt. That doesn’t excuse them at all and yet, we all encounter those who tend to be looking for a reason to take offense….. sometimes anything we say could be taken wrongly. We can obsess over every little word trying desperately to keep from offending someone(I have done that and it was exhausting)…. or we can be ourselves and walk with the Lord, being kind and thoughtful yet knowing someone WILL be offended sometime. I HATE being misunderstood…. as you were…. but I have learned that no matter what I do, it will still happen sometimes… Thank you for posting this… I have 4 boys and love them so much. They ARE different from my girls…. and I love my girls also-both are such a unique blessing from the Lord. Sorry you were misunderstood and glad that you spoke out on this.

  5. Nicole J. says

    I’m a mom of 4 boys plus 1 more boy due in October. Even my cat and guinea pig are boys, I’m the only girl in our family. . I wold consider myself a boy mom. I have always wanted a girl and was hoping this would be it but God feels I need to raise warriors for his kingdom instead right now. If a mom has only girls I wouldn’t get offended by # girl-mom, it isn’t another mom’s fault I’m only able to have boys. And even though there boys they can be sweet and gentle as well as loud of destructive. I can’t speak about how girls are expect that I was and obviously am a girl. I was into dolls and all things girly so having boys is quite a change from me. Not to mention I was an only child so it is also a lot louder for me then it was growing up. I think your post is spot on for your life right now and I’m not sure why people should get upset about other peoples opinion or how they feel about their own life situation.
    Your # say boy mom not # boy moms are better then girl moms
    Then I could see why someone might be a little hurt by that. I suppose you could get technically correct and name the appendage that boys have that gives no doubt that your a boy mom but you would probably have a lot more people upset with word usage :)

  6. says

    I had never even heard of that hashtag until today, and i think the other person being offended is silly. I will say though, the only time something like this bothers me a little is when moms of boys act like they have it so much ___ (better, harder, more fun, more challenging, more hectic, busier) etc than other moms, or that they are better moms in general because they can “handle” having all boys. Boys can be all of those things and more…and so can girls. I feel blessed to have both genders, so I would love a fun hash tag for us! lol…and #boysandgirlsmom is kind of long.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, you are blessed to have both! I completely understand what you are saying! I only have boys and have had people make those types of comments to me, only the other way around (i.e. it’s so much easier raising boys than it is raising girls, etc.). But, I have nothing to compare it to, so I try not to let it get to me.

  7. Kathy says

    The Mom that was offended by your hashtag needs to take an anti-sensitivity pill. My goodness, lets get upset over important stuff. She must be hard to be around is she gets offended at little things like a hashtag.

    There are some things that boys are made to do and some things girls are made to do. God designed us that way and it’s not going to change. I have one of each as well as a granddaughter. I really didn’t care what they wanted to play with as kids. They’re good productive adults, with kind hearts and good values.

    Keep doing what you do, you’re a blessing to your readers and your family! Go #boymom!!

  8. Jj says

    i am also a “boymom”. you’re obnoxious. there is nothing noteworthy about being a mother of only boys. give it a rest. seriously. get over yourself.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I see that this is your first time commenting. I’m so sorry that the post was offensive, as that was not my intent at all! I don’t remember saying it was especially noteworthy to be am other of only boys, but thank you for weighing in. I pray that you are blessed in your parenting :)

  9. brandi says

    Well, cannot please everyone. And all the girl moms I know have life pretty easy. My boys are balls to the wall, IEPS at school, the works. One year apart and tons of energy. So, um, not for spite (entirely). #boymom #boymom #boymom!

  10. Ashley says

    The error in your post is that moms of girls don’t use #girlmom to describe their parenting experiences. And further, their girls do not have the born societal privilege of being a boy; therefore, even the possible implication that certain activities are gendered is impactful to them.

    You are correct that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your boys and the wonderful gifts and challenges of parenting them, but as a mom of boys you also are in a unique position to raise them in a way that chips away at the patriarchal crap that you and all your mom friends have had to deal with, and perhaps ease the burden on all the daughters out there.
    Your post just makes it look like you don’t care about or empathize with girls (which surely is not true :) )
    Rather than be reactionary and defend your hashtag, why not spend your time trying to better understand your critic? No one thinks you’re horrible for using #boymom, but can’t you at least try to understand how that could make a #girl feel?

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Maybe it’s not clear, but I am actually a girl myself, so I don’t actually have to try to hard to imagine a girl’s situation. What I did not understand, until I became a mom of boys, were the many challenges that boys face. I maintain that gendered activities are MUCH stronger against boys than girls. Growing up a girl, I did all the things–“girl” things and “boy” things and it was completely not an issue. But the same is not true for my boys. A girl likes blue and no one blinks an eye. A boy likes pink and he’s a “sissy”. A girl likes cars and no one cares. A boy likes dolls and something is wrong with him. A girl likes to play sports or fix cars with dad and she’s cool. A boy likes to help mom cook or wants to learn to crochet and he’s weak. Boys are much more confined than girls.

      Also, as a boy-only mom I have been very much attacked by girl moms for many years. I have been called “not a real mom” since I will never experience what it’s like to have a girl, told that motherhood is easy for me because girls are harder and “you wouldn’t understand because you only have boys.” They are right…I am a boymom. If you call me that to make your point, it’s fine, but if I embrace it, I’m somehow being insensitive? It is what it is, just a fact. Again, I’m sorry that offends you as a mom of girls or both.

  11. Erika says

    When I see the boymom hashtag, it usually seems to carry the same connotation as this person’s comment:

    “Well, cannot please everyone. And all the girl moms I know have life pretty easy. My boys are balls to the wall, IEPS at school, the works. One year apart and tons of energy. So, um, not for spite (entirely). #boymom #boymom #boymom!”

    I admit I’m annoyed by this hashtag (offended is a strong word). It’s nice to see your comments on it. So balanced really.

    Ive got a girl and a boy. The boy is too young to really make the assessment, but my daughter (nickname Bruiser or Bulldozer) keeps me pretty dang on my toes. Seeing those comments just cause me to roll my eyes. Either way, bring on the snakes and spiders, play dough and barbies, cuz I’m a #kidmom and by this I mean I’m a huge kid.

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