There’s a trend among how parents are raising sons versus daughters, from my observations.
And it goes like this: Girls are raised to be young women, and boys are raised to always stay mama’s little boy.
Now, I’m not a mother, so I’m not trying to give any advice as to how to raise sons. What I am, though, is a girl who understands the struggle that many of us go through: we’re ready for real life years before guys are.
I’m writing this post as a response to what I’ve seen so many of my friends go through, and from my own experience in dealing with boys whose mothers in particular have really not prepared them for the real world. This is a reaction to seeing so many boys who have great potential just stagnate at where they were at 15 or 16, because I am sick and tired of seeing such a waste of potential when what we really need in this world is for people to step up and act like adults.
This isn’t me trying to bash mothers who love their sons, though–quite the opposite. Mothers: you want your sons to marry good, pretty, put-together girls, right? Well, women like that want to marry men, not boys. So this helps you, too. This isn’t just a rant for ranting’s sake.
One important note that I want to make is that this is not to let fathers off of the hook. In my mind, a father’s job is to show a boy HOW to be a man, whereas the mother needs to step back and ALLOW her son to be a man. And from my observations, sometimes moms can have a hard time letting go and letting their boys turn into men.
I feel extremely lucky to have married a man who can actually clean the apartment, cook, and handle finances. But I also think it’s ridiculous that I need to feel lucky about that. So, mothers, here is an open letter to you from the girls who will eventually marry your sons.
PLEASE teach them basic life skills
There is no reason any man (yes, man, because he’s 18 and therefore an adult) should move out to go to university without knowing how to clean an apartment, feed himself, balance a check book, and do laundry. But do you know how many guys I’ve met who can only do one of the four things above? Too many.
We never joke about girls not knowing how to use a laundromat or cook dinner, but we expect that when guys move out they won’t know what a toilet brush is. And a lot of the time it’s because their moms never put them in a position to learn these skills.
The message that this is sending is that the man should always rely on women to do the house stuff while they focus on more important things. This puts the girl that your son dates and then eventually marries in a really awkward position–she has to teach her husband how to clean or just do it all herself. And that is simply not fair.
As well, one of the biggest turn-ons for girls is seeing a man who can actually take care of himself. Connor could cook me dinner when I went over to his house–we didn’t have to go out to eat if we wanted a good meal. Also, he can scrub a bathroom until it shines. I actually really like that about him, and it made me feel more secure in our relationship that I knew I wasn’t going to have to fall into the role of housewife because we really both can handle our share.
Or take this perspective: what if he never gets married? Will he always just eat junk and wear grungy clothes because he just can’t be bothered to clean up after himself, never having been taught the importance of it? That’s not a very good life, either!
Teach them to own up to their actions
Irresponsibility and a lack of accountability seems to be an epidemic among millennial guys.
We’ve all seen it: girl and guy start talking, he’s giving her signals that he’s looking for a relationship, she’s flirting back. This goes on for weeks before he finally says “I like you, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”
But then he keeps flirting. And she is heartbroken because he wasn’t ready to be a man and own up to the fact that he has been sending her mixed signals. Meanwhile, he’s wasted 9 months of her life sending her signals that he likes her and wants to pursue her before ducking out at the last possible moment. The sad thing is that I have a lot of guy friends in their mid-twenties right now who missed out on opportunities for great relationships because they weren’t ready at 20 or 21–and now they regret what they passed over.
And no, I’m not saying that your son needs to be ready to get married at age 18. For heaven’s sake, no! But I do think that we need to be ready for love when it comes our way. Some people find the person they marry at 19, others when they’re 27. But please, mothers, help your sons be ready. Don’t limit their chances of finding true love by not preparing them to make responsible decisions.
This doesn’t just have to do with relationships, though. Men need to know that how they act impacts their future. Do they act responsible and go to class, or are they so addicted to video games that they never leave the house? Does he show up on time for his shifts at work, or does he make excuses or call in sick when really he just was too lazy to go to work?
We need you to teach your boys how to plan for a future, and make steps towards his goals. No, he doesn’t need to know exactly how life is going to work out–none of us do. But he does need to know how to make good choices to help propel him in the right direction.
Teach them how to be independent of you
We focus so much on raising girls to become empowered women, but boys are raised to be, well, boys. We even hear it all the time about grown men: “Boys will be boys.” Since when is it OK to call a grown man a boy?
Here’s a truth we can all acknowledge: sons will always need their mothers. When Connor’s had a rough day, it always makes him feel better to call his mom, even if they just talk about something funny that happened back at home. Moms, you have that special connection with us kids that really does magically make us feel better.
But there’s a difference between leaning on your mom for support sometimes and being completely dependent on her for emotional support. It’s the difference between a man who loves and respects his mother and, quite frankly, a mama’s-boy.
Raising sons who do not need you isn’t something to be feared–it’s something good, because it means that you’ve allowed your little boy to turn into a man. And being dependent on mom doesn’t exactly lead to good emotional and mental health as an adult.
It’s really awkward to us girls who are independent of our parents to date someone who is still dependent on his mom. It feels a bit like we’re dating a man-child, so we either leave or try to fill the role that his mom takes–neither of which lead to happy, healthy marriages. So do your sons a favour: teach them not to need you anymore. Teach them that it’s OK to go off and be independent, and that changing roles from a boy to a man is a scary but important and exciting time.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to watch your kids grow up and not need you anymore. Seriously, moms, I’m not looking forward to that part of parenting. I’m sure it’s really bittersweet, and probably really hard.
But the truth is that most good things in life are hard, so, on behalf of all of the girls out there, I am asking you: please start raising your sons to be men. It’s not fair that we daughters are raised to be young women, but the sons are taught that they can just stay mama’s little boy for as long as they want.
Besides, what you really want is the best for your son. We all know that. And the best thing for your son is allowing him to become a man.
What are some traits you think shows that someone, male or female, has really grown up? What are some things that you wish YOU had learned before moving out? Let me know in the comments!
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