Kids Motherhood

Boy Mom? Girl Mom? Can We Please Stop Labeling?

Boy Mom? Girl Mom? Can We Please Stop Labeling? www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Katrina Villegas

I see the hashtag #BoyMom, so often. I see articles about being a #BoyMom and all of the supposedly unique experiences moms of boys have. Every time I read the articles, memes and comments, I get so annoyed. (Probably overly so.) Why? I am a mom of a girl. I hate the stereotyping that starts at such a young age. I’m probably more sensitive to it than a mom of boys would be, because girls are gender-typed and it actually impacts their life choices. I’m very aware of that and have goals to expose my daughter to it all. 

The reality is that moms stereotype their children from the moment they learn the sex of their baby, and it is doing nothing but feeding our society’s learned gender roles. It sets back our girls yet again, and teaches them what they aren’t, what they should be, what they can’t do or how they are different.

It is so frustrating. 

If you are a mom with a boy who dresses him in blue, and finds cute tractor onesies, you are stereotyping whether you mean to or not. If you are a mom of a girl who dresses her in pink dresses and bows, you are contributing as well. If you are a mom that gives your boy Legos and trucks, but has never thought to buy him a doll, you are stereotyping. If you are mom of a girl that gives her dolls, but never trucks, you are stereotyping. Granted, our stores don’t give us many options. There are boy and girl sections, and there are boy and girl clothes. Boy clothes don’t tend to have pictures of fairies, and girl clothes don’t tend to have pictures of dinosaurs. I get it. It’s easy to fall into the stereotypes. Let’s just not pretend that girls don’t have an interest in the stereotypical boy items- if we let them. Let’s not pretend that boys don’t have an interest in the stereotypical girl items– if we let them. 

The #BoyMom hashtag is used quite liberally in today’s culture to describe activities and behaviors that girls enjoy and engage in all the time. So let’s take a look at the #BoyMom topics that are so often talked about:

1. Being obsessed with their penis and peeing everywhere. OK I’ll give this one to all the #boymoms. I don’t have to deal with my daughter pulling at a penis, peeing everywhere, etc. Feel free to use the hashtag on this topic whenever you please!  

As for the rest of this list, it’s just a #kidthing and a #mom experience:

2. Fart jokes

3. Potty humor

4. Endless energy

5. Rough and tumble play

6. Expensive grocery bills

7. Fort building

8. Wanting to be naked

9. Playing in the dirt, and with sticks and bugs

10. Fascination with planes, trains, and automobiles

11. Frequent injuries

12. Taking apart everything

This list can go on and on. These are just the most common uses of #boymom. I’m sure that this list describes tons of boys. But guess what? It also describes just as many girls. Children find farting funny. Children find poop to be a great conversation topic. Children laugh at these topics. Children have tons of energy. They jump and run and leap and spin and don’t stop! They eat an insane amount. Children love building forts, and most prefer to be naked if given the opportunity. Playing in the dirt has no connection to boy or girl, unless you let it.  The fascination with planes, trains, and automobiles is a kid thing, not a boy thing. These things move and they are everywhere. It’s fascinating. Kids get injured. They will fall, They will climb and jump. All kids. And taking things apart and learning how things work is not just a boy thing. It’s a label. 

The same list could be written for #girlmom topics. Cooking, cleaning, dolls, crafts, pretend play, etc. Boys like those things as well. They key is letting our children experience everything and not gender-typing them from the get go. Maybe we can think before we type #boymom or #girlmom and realize that it’s only contributing to our society’s gender typing. 

Moms also tend to use #boymom as a type of excuse. Boys don’t have to potty train later than girls. They are just as capable of doing it at an early age, just as some girls take longer. It depends on the child, not their sex. My daughter doesn’t know her letters already because she is a girl, she knows them because she took an interest. Interest is the key word with everything discussed.

Maybe your boy has been introduced to it all- including dolls, and he just gravitates towards tools and tractors. Maybe your girl has been introduced to it all, including getting dirty and playing with cars, yet she still gravitates towards dolls and princesses. That’s fine! Let’s just make sure we introduce our children to everything, and not hinder their natural tendencies and interests. Let’s stop labeling things. We don’t want our children to grow up with labels and boundaries, so let’s not superimpose these labels at birth! My daughter plays in the dirt, is interested in bugs, likes dinosaurs, and has her fair share of poop talk and fart jokes. The fact that I’ve heard the word poop 100 times by breakfast, makes me a #mom.

About the author

Katrina Villegas

Katrina Villegas is a former process engineer and chemistry teacher turned stay at home mom. She is organizing her beautiful chaos one Babywise step at a time, and sharing her successes and trials along the way. When her daughter was just a few months old she started a blog: http://www.mamasorganizedchaos.com/. She’s been recording her thoughts and stories, along with what she’s learned, “how to” guides and more. You’ll find everything from information on breastfeeding and cloth diapering, to using Babywise schedules, sleep training options, and discipline tips.

5 Comments

  • I am a mom of 5 boys. I am a #boymom. For me, that’s what it means. I’ve got a bunch of boys. Also we are raising a gender opposite of us. When you have all boys, you’re outnumbered. It’s great to have the #boymom community to understand! We’ve got to quit getting bent out of shape about everything. Ridiculous.

  • But there ARE intrinsic differences in boys and girls for the vast majority of children. When/If you have a boy, you’ll understand. Why is it wrong to want to celebrate that?

  • I agree; someone added me to a #boymom group on Facebook and it is the most annoying group I’ve been added to without my consent/approval. That’s saying a lot, because Facebook is full of annoying ppl and groups. Yes, I could leave the group, but I do enjoy some of the posts – very few. It’s just constant dribble about you know you’re a ‘boy mom’ when……. Yes. I get it. You have a ton of boys and everything they do is hilarious and “boy/male themed”. These moms are so annoying. Then there are the posts like “I’m so glad I don’t have a daughter… I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl, because periods and hair and all things “girly girl”. SHUT UP! If you had a daughter you would love and care for her just as you do your boys. Newsflash, your son is going to go through puberty. You will have to have the sex talk with him and hopefully you would tell him the same thing we tell girls. Or is it not the same because he is a boy and his worth is slightly less than?? Just saying. #Society *eye roll*. Lol. /rant

  • What if your boy only likes “boy things?” And your girls only like “girl things?” That’s how mine are. I didn’t force them to like what they like. What am I supposed to do, make my son wear pink dresses, and make my girls wear tractor outfits? Get my son a doll, even though he HATES them, and get my girls toy trucks, even though they want Barbies? Now, if my son wanted to wear dresses, I’d let him. If my girls were tomboys, I’d let them be. If my kids came out as gay, I’d accept them. However, I don’t appreciate being accused of making my kids fit gender stereotypes when they do that just fine on their own. People use the term boy mom because they are moms of boys. Seriously. It’s not that freaking deep. Lighten up.