Several weeks ago, I grabbed my husband’s phone, opened the browser, and immediately cracked up laughing. “Boy mom” was typed in the search bar, and the results were about 15 pages of answers to the question “What does #boymom mean?”
“Did you really search boy mom?” I asked him.
“Yeah, I saw it on a bumper sticker on a minivan, and I figured it meant all boy kids but thought there was surely more to it. There’s not.” I laughed again, but then launched into a discussion of how much I detest the term “boy mom.”
I mean, I truly loathe it. I don’t see #girlmom nearly as often, and a recent Instagram search showed me just how much more pervasive this whole #boymomlife culture is, with #boymom having over 4 million posts compared to only 1 million for #girlmom. More notably, #boymomproblems had over 21,000 posts compared to just over 2,500 posts for #girlmomproblems.
What’s the deal, boy moms?
#Boymomproblems OR #Allmomproblems?
I have no problem with being a proud mama of all boys; I think that’s great, and all children should be celebrated. My issue seems to stem more from what follows that #boymom with the #boymomproblems. I understand that there are some things that are definitely #boymomproblems like little boys who can’t aim, and mom is left cleaning up the toilets … and walls … and floors. I’ll grant you that exception. But, by and large, boy mom problems seem to range from the mundane – a child covered in mud or bruises from playing a little too rough – to the more serious – chipped teeth or broken bones. Do boy moms honestly think this these issues don’t extend to daughters? I recently saw a picture on Facebook of someone’s little boy who had some very bruised legs. One commenter said, “Love those little boy legs! Proof of playing hard! #boymomproblems”
Wait. WHAT? My daughter’s legs are bruised up from playing hard every single day. She has many times come home from daycare with mud stains on her jeans and leaves in her hair. Why is this something that is lumped into #boymom culture? I don’t get it. I want her to play hard and get dirty, not sit around doing cross stitch while wearing a corset! Why should mud or dirt or the occasional bruise from playing outside be relegated only to boys?
Boy Mom Problems Should Not Serve as an Excuse for Bad Behavior
On another note, I worry about what the sort of behavior being excused thanks to this idea of #boymomproblems. Little boy running around like a wild man … boys will be boys. #boymomproblems. Did he just let out a loud burp at the table? Again? It’s so difficult raising boys … but what can I do? #boymomproblems. Why are farts sooo funny? #boymomproblems
How about no? If it isn’t behavior that would be acceptable for a daughter, why accept it for boys? For the record, my daughter has been corrected for burping at the table, and I cringe when she says the word “fart” and I offer her an alternative. She is encourage to say “excuse me” if either of these things happen. She is encouraged not to run around like a crazy when out in public (although, she’s three, so we’re working on it.)
None of this will change for my son.
I grew up with no brothers, and my sister and I were told many times over “That’s not ladylike.” I have told my daughter this only a handful of times, but I quit saying it in favor of saying “That’s not good manners” or “That’s not polite.” My reasoning is that I’m not going to correct her for letting out a loud burp at the table but let it slide with her brother. No. It’s bad manners for both. I’m not going to let it pass for him under the umbrella of #boymomproblems while I roll my eyes and act like nothing can be done to correct it.
Maybe because I have both a girl and a boy, my perspective is different. I am also a “boy mom” but I have a daughter, so I’m a “girl mom,” too. There is no hashtag for all of us who have both, and we’re excluded from the #boymom club because our house also had lots of bows, glitter, and princesses. Maybe we should start using #justamom for all of our posts.
But in all seriousness, I do think there is a problem with some of the ideas that come from the term #boymom and especially #boymomproblems. A lot of things associated with this hashtag are not boys will be boys, but rather kids will be kids. I, for one, will not pass off my son’s bad behavior with a cute caption, an emoji, and #boymomproblems. I hope you won’t either.