The National At-Home Dad Network has a powerful message for anyone who thinks boys can be defined by frogs, snails and puppy dog tails.
When I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I received all the related “boy gear” as gifts – tiny baseball mitt, a tee shirt with a football embroidered onto it, and a hat that said “Boob Man”.
Ivan and I never went into parenting our sons with the idea that we would make them conform to what society expected of boys. We bought our first son a baby doll, let him wear his cousin’s dresses when they played dress-up (even though he sort of hated it), and painted his nails with the polish of his choice—sparkly blue.
But the truth is, he was more into trucks, dinosaurs and bugs, and that was fine with us too. The same went for our second son, though that may have been because our little guy has always idolized his brother.
Regardless, it seems like this binary notion of our kids’ gender is breaking down little by little, even in the time since my boys were tiny. Moving things along at a rapid pace is the Internet, especially social media, where parents can shout their messages of inclusive parenting from the rooftops, and receive support from around the globe. It’s a beautiful thing to behold—the average mom or dad being able to change the world just a little bit, in ways they never were before.
One fun meme going around today is from the National At-Home Dad Network, featuring three sweet little boys wearing baby slings and cradling baby dolls with bottles. The caption reads: BOYS WILL BE BOYS.
It’s awesome to see options for who boys can be and how boys play open up. And it’s no coincidence that at-home dads want to promote this. Not just for the benefit of boys who want to play with dolls, but also for themselves, as they are the models of tender, care-giving primary parents.
With more boys and men seeing themselves as caregivers, we open up even more options for girls and women. With the freedom for both to choose which role to have, our kids get to follow their dreams, rather than a pre-set script for their lives, based upon gender.
And that’s a beautiful thing.