There is a very pretty song for girls by John Mayer called Daughters it tugged at my heartstrings when I heard it the first time and I had warm fuzzy thoughts of my daddy and what a wonderful man and father he is. But the more I think about it the less I like this song. I have recently been faced with the incredible injustices that are being done to our sons. For example, take the John Mayer song that I mentioned before:
"Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on..."
I have also heard these sentiments from mothers "I quit bathing with my son when he was a young toddler because he started asking questions.", "I quit breastfeeding my son or am having a difficult time because it just feels weird nursing a boy, too sexual.", "I don't know what to do with his "junk".", "It just feels weird being pregnant with a boy, I mean I have a penis growing inside of me!".
At first glance you might think that these are just comments from ignorant people but they are not, these are comments from regular, every day mothers.
From the beginning our sons are made to be aliens, strange that they are growing inside of us. Soon after their birth they are whisked away to have part of their penis chopped off, we mutilate them for life, violate their rights, without ever asking their permission. We feel strange about spending time with our sons not fully clothed, we don't know how to deal with their private areas and so we don't lean on our motherly instinct but instead we defer to those that "that have that kind of equipment". And what about breastfeeding? How is it that breasts have become such a sexual object to us as a culture we can't even enjoy nursing our sons without feeling like we are doing something dirty?
I don't blame mothers. I know I may sound blunt but I am not aiming to heap guilt on a group of people who already feel guilty a large portion of the time, mothers who are constantly worried about whether they are making the right choices. But I do want to point out that there is an incredible injustice being done to our boys! Boys are breakable! Boys tend to be hypersensitive to criticism and their mothers are emotional havens of safety for them, if they are allowed to use them as such.
This has all been germinating in my mind for a while but came to a head last night as my husband, after receiving pictures of his childhood, told me story of horrific story of his childhood. Now my husband is a fairly extreme case but under it all I saw the damage that had been caused in his life by him being treated as "unbreakable", I saw confusion, hurt and shame that he didn't do something to stop his own suffering and the suffering of others around him, the guilt of responsibility weighed so heavily on him. He had in some ways "soldiered on", he never told anyone his story, he became a good man but it hasn't changed the fact that there is a damaged boy there that hasn't forgotten his story.
So many times you hear boys called "mamas boys" and I say "But of course they are!" We are their mothers, they are our boys, we are one of the two most influential women in their lives. We have the power to make or break our boys.