When I was pregnant with our first child, our son, we didn’t find out his gender until he arrived. So the entire pregnancy there weren’t many conversations specific to gender because we didn’t know.
When he arrived and my husband looked at me and said he was a boy, I was full of emotions – happiness at having given birth to my first child, excited to finally meet him (and call him by name), and exhausted.
Nearly 6 years later, motherhood remains an emotional rollercoaster. We try our best to raise empathetic and happy children. Meanwhile, my son has become a loving, sweet little boy, who will one day become a man, hopefully with those same qualities. Over the years, it has become evident that many people in his life will have a role in helping to shape him into a supportive husband, father, friend and brother.
I have a son and a daughter now, so I’m constantly watching their daily interactions. I try to guide my son to communicate with his sister and us when he is excited or frustrated or hurt. I feel pride when I see him protecting her and showing great concern.
Recently, after a fun day at a fair-type of event, both of the kids had balloon animals. They happily played with these for some time, when suddenly, my daughter’s popped. She handled it fairly well considering, but it was my son who expressed great sadness in her loss. “I feel really bad her balloon popped” he exclaimed – even though he had nothing to do with the popping. He was just sad for his sister. In that moment I was reminded of what a caring little boy he is.
At this age, his everyday interactions with us, his sister, his friends and extended family are influencing how he feels about himself and those around him. As his mother, I act as a guide, encouraging him to express his feelings, to be kind, and to respect those around him (and himself). His father may be the best example of a supportive husband and father that my son will ever see. He’s engaged, and thoughtful and a strong role model.
His grandfather is ever the family man and time that my son gets to spend with him is a lesson in strength and kindness. My brother, his uncle, is full of life and silliness (qualities I know my son appreciates). His other uncles are supportive, caring fathers and husbands who put family first.
The women in his life are no different – his grandmothers encourage his talents and to be himself, his aunts demonstrate strong, loving women who are kind.
My son is surrounded by many role models that will also be huge influences on him becoming a caring, supportive man. And I am lucky to have this support for my children.