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.
If you haven’t already seen this shirt, your kiddo needs one. Gotta agree.
I hadn’t seen this particular post before or the shirt, but I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!
I wrote something similar a while back and the #boymoms got uber defensive about their right to use the term. I was even called names for my perspective. Nice to know I am not alone!
Sarah, I’d love to read it! Drop the link to it, if you don’t mind. Thanks for reading!
As a mom of a girl and boy, I’m so so glad to see others call out the problems with the boy mom hashtag movement. I’m so tired of seeing boy moms post sexist comments that they are so thankful to never raise a girl. Do they not realize…. they are female and also insulting themselves in the process? I also see comments from boy moms that girls are more “difficult.” It’s ironic, because when boys are “difficult” we just say “boys are being boys” and enable all sorts of bad behavior in the process. I don’t see this inherent hypocrisy and internalized misogyny among mothers in the “girl mom” movement. I love my son and daughter equally, but I absolutely cringe at the boy mom movement. I saw one boy mom post the other day stating, “I’m sick of my sons being blamed for gender inequality in this world. Hashtag, proud boy mom.” I mean wow – talk about some boy mom fragility there. She is more concerned about her sons being blamed for sexism than all the women in the world who face the adverse consequences of sexism on a daily basis. That in itself speaks volumes. Boy mom fragility.
You are not alone. I commented on sexism towards women and girls in our society and got attacked by the boy mom squad. I am someone who has a son too, but I think it’s super gross that there is a subset of moms who feel triggered and angry when sexism towards women is mentioned, as is this somehow hurts their sons.
What is it like to be so easily offended all the time?? Does it hurt? It must be at the very least super exhausting. Mind your own buisness and dont worry what everyone else is doing. Problem solved.
Posts like this are why we have to hand out participation ribbons these days.
“Mind your own business and don’t worry what everyone else is doing” is the ironic super-phrase for people who never look in the mirror.
Before having kids of my own, I would never have believed in an innate gender difference. Now I have two boys of my own, there are some interesting differences I encounter between my own boys’ behavior/thinking and those of my mom friends who have girls. Your perspective might change on this subject as your little ones grow.
I think it could be good to talk to some of these boymoms and get there true perspective. Boys and girls are just kids but have many natual differences. In my opinion society has become super focused on how to raise girls. Sadly this has gone hand in hand with demonizing boys natual exuberance. I am not saying that girls cannot be energetic, loud, and boisterous but I have found that boys are often corrected for things that are now being praised in girls. so I guess I am saying that I have found thing opposite to what you have expressed here. Girls are praised for being rough and even rude and boys are scolded sharply. I have four little boys who I am constantly training and correcting. I want them to be gentle men who respect and are courteous to all people. Even so when we go out in public, if they are noise or a bit rambunctious, we get such looks and comments of pitty and disdain. I think many moms are made to feel that they are raising the future and current plague on society just because they have boys. It is as if I have to apologize for having only boys. Many moms must feel similarly and have felt some feedom or camaraderie in the #boymom thing. At # boymom it is ok for thier boy kid to be a kid. Please don’t think that boy mom’s are not teaching thier kids good manners and please try and talk to these people who bother you so much before you publicly blast them. These moms may just be tired of correcting the same thing over and over. You are a mom and so you must get bothered and tired. Sometimes it is just better to laugh it off a bit then to get angry about the tenth fartat the same meal. Please seek out the other side and give a little grace. We are all in this tough job together. Let’s offer help and compassion.
Hannah, Thank you for a thoughtful reply.
In terms of girls being praised for being rude – I, too, have seen this and it is quite disheartening to think that for any gender this would be acceptable and allowed. (Or even encouraged)
I did talk a few boy moms in my circle before writing this post because I really don’t understand it. Again, my issue stems from the problems part of this, not #boymom in and of itself. Many commenters have filled in the blanks in a thoughtful manner, as yourself. I’ve read comments from boy moms, girl moms, and moms of both that have given me many different perspectives to consider, and I am better for it.
Thanks for reading.
Its just funny. I am a boy mom i dont go around hash tagging it, but it’s different. Mainly the penis thing and its increased with the husband. Some are maybe sad that they’re the only girl in the household. There wont be princess dresses and bows, mani -pedis or the others things that some of us would liked to have a daughter for. Not to say that one or both of my son’s wouldn’t do any of those things with me…and they’ve certainly put on my barretts and headbands.. and there’s plenty of crafts with glitter everwhere in my household.. and not that there aren’t girls out there who can rough and tumble with the best. I would never use boym either as an excuse for bad behavior, i expect good behavior out of them always. Its not hurting you… so what if people hashtag boy mom.
Oh look, another attack on males. Way to take something fun and lighthearted and twist it for some odd agenda. Live in your present and don’t worry about others.
So many people with sons so very triggered. It almost proves everything you just wrote.
I could not agree more with you.
If you have a boy then you are a boy mom! I’m in a couple of boy mom groups and neither one requires that you only have boys, just that you have one boy. Because, as much as it seems we live in a society that would like to dispute this, there are distinct differences between boys and girls. And it’s kind of nice to know there’s a place full of moms that understand what it’s like to potty train a boy. Also, I actually really love the perspective of moms that have both. I completely agree that we should not dismiss rudeness and bad manners as “boy problems” and I think that people probably should pause and evaluate that. I generally don’t use “problems” at the end of anything mom related but that’s my personal choice and I realize that most people use it to be comical. But, again, I think you’ve raised a good point that is worth evaluating! Overall, I don’t think there is anything wrong with boy mom’s, girl mom’s, both mom’s, blue mom’s… whatever mom’s using a hashtag to come together with other moms that are like them. Afterall, that’s what hashtags are for, right? 🙂
The cultural preference in the U.S. is definitely for a “balanced” family; a boy and a girl. And if you don’t manage to create one of each, prepare yourself for LOTS of opinions on it. When strangers would inquire about the sex of my third child (a third boy), reactions ranged from “don’t give up”, “you’ll love him anyway”, to just looks of pitty. I don’t use hashtags so I’m not really into this whole thing, but I think it’s just creating a sense of community for moms who only have boys. In many ways boys and girls are the same, but there are also some undeniable differences. I think this whole #boymom thing is just a way to embrace and be proud of being a mom to boys when society is telling us we should feel sad and be pitied. You say you’re left out of it because you have one of each, but I would say you’re not left out, it’s just not about you.
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