As the little dude and Luke get older, I’m becoming acutely aware that I’m raising two little boys who will one day become men.
I find that a really scary thought, that these once babies, will grow up to be actual human beings! Especially in today's world with all the rapid changes that modern technology brings, the opportunities for good and bad are heightened. They'll face pressures and problems that I never had to.
Besides that, I'm also becoming aware that everything I’m doing is actively shaping their attitudes and outlook on life. That every inflection, every opinion, every approach to the world will in some way rub off on them and impact the people they will become.
Monkey see, monkey do, right?
To be honest, there are days when I don't feel like a good role model at all. I know I won’t always get it right. But I want to try raise my boys with a keen sense of right and wrong. That respect is a universal tennet, not reserved for one gender over another.
Today is International Women's Day and as the only female in a house full of males, I'm starting to feel pressure to ensure I help them to one day be the sort of guys who support, value and respect the women in their lives as equals.
I want them to understand that men and women have inherent differences, but those differences are not weaknesses, or barriers, they are in fact strengths, which should be embraced.
I want them to know that a difference doesn’t make a person unequal.
I want them to know that my life choices don’t make me any less important than their father. That we play two equally important roles.
Ultimately, I’ve found the best way of teaching them is by doing, not just saying.
So sometimes they might see me cry, but that doesn’t make me weak. Sometimes I wear pink, obsess over my one and only pair of Manolos and sing along to a power ballads in the shower, but that doesn’t mean I’m not strong. Sometimes I love to watch Scorsese movies and reminisce over my muddy, high octane rugby playing and horse riding days, but that doesn’t make me any less feminine. Sometimes (and let’s face it quite often) I fail, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try again. I’m not perfect by any means and I think that’s a lesson for them in itself.
When we’re out, I’ll happily hold a door for a man, as quick as I would for a woman. Little things like that might show them that good manners and respect is universal.
In our family, right now, daddy goes outside of the home to work and I stay at home with them. Different roles, but neither of us is lesser for those choices. And those choices are not set in stone. They are fluid.
Sometimes I change nappies. Sometimes I cook. Sometimes, I do the flat pack furniture assembly. Sometimes I’m the one who does the DIY. Sometimes I do the laundry. Sometimes I’m the bad cop. Sometimes I’m the hug-giver, ouch-kisser and calmer-downer. Sometimes I do the bed and bath. Sometimes I’m tapping away furiously on my laptop for a deadline.
Sometimes Daddy does the all of the above.
We both make decisions and try to work as a team. We pick up the slack where we find it, roll up our sleeves and muck in. There’s no ‘mammy job’ or ‘daddy job,’ we try to be partners in this thing.
Of course we’re not perfect, we get things wrong all the time, make mistakes and say or do the wrong things... but when it comes down to it I hope by our actions we help our boys to become good men one day...
I hope that’s enough. I hope we’ll show our boys that respect is earned, differences are not weaknesses and that love is universal.