To say I was shocked when the ultrasound technician said I was having a boy would be an understatement; I was scared shitless. In an instant, gone were the dreams of my Lorelai/Rory adventures and instead replaced were images of serial killers and scenes from We Need to Talk about Kevin. It wasn’t the dirt and reptiles that scared me. I have a younger brother who proudly peed his name on the side of our house while getting kicks out of throwing lizards down my shirt. Boys will be boys — as they should be…to a certain extent. Before finding out the gender of my unborn child, I would joke that if I ever had a boy, I’d leave him out in the woods for the White Walkers to eat. Jokes on me, because after 9 ½ months of pregnancy and a C-section, I’ve sacrificed too much to ditch this amazing work in progress who I’m utterly in love and obsessed with.
No, what terrified both my husband and I, who sat, motionless, as the technician blurted out “I see pee pee, no girl for you!” was the fact we were now responsible for bringing up a white male in a time where it’s “okay” for the President of the United States to demean women and for college boys to rape unconscious women. Every time I’ve ever come across a dickhead of a so-called “man,” I think “If I was your mother, I’d slap you right across the face and put you in your place.” And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t believe in spanking my child.
I cannot fathom living with the fear black and Latino mothers deal with every day as they send their sons out into the world, praying they will not be victimized by a power structure pre-disposed to benefiting my son. My fear is that, despite my attempts to raise him with a sense of empathy and compassion for others, he will become another victimizer.
Sure, girls have their own drawbacks. I can’t tell you how many mothers I’ve spoken to who’ve said their sons were easier than their daughters. Yes, girls and puberty is a rough mix. But I went through it and can relate. If she ever became too much, I’d just grab a bottle of wine and tell my husband “she’s your daughter, you speak to her,” (why are we meaner to our moms than our dads?)! Plus, if my daughter ever became a teen mom and ended up working the pole, I always planned on just blaming it on my husband. I mean, she had unprotected sex at an early age and shakes her ass for crusty-old men because daddy didn’t show her love, right? But with a son, the blame gets put on me. I remember watching a Lifetime movie based a true story. This serial killer had tortured and murdered numerous women and there was one common theme: they all looked like his mom. His mom, (even once his balls had dropped and he was declared an adult), had degraded him his entire life. So, what does he do? He goes out, rapes and murder women because of his mom! What if I’m that nagging mom that forces her son to become a serial rapist and killer? If my son were to ever mistreat or abuse a woman, I would blame myself. I mean, take Don Draper from Mad Men for example. He wasn’t a rapist or killer; just a playboy who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. And you know why? Because he had mommy issues. Even though Roger Sterling had his share of problems, he didn’t scream “mommy issues” like Don Draper did.
I love my son more than anything. He’s my life, a part of me that will always and forever remain a piece of me. I believe I was blessed with a son because our country (hell, our world) needs more good men. Men who stand up for what’s right and respect others with the same amount of decency (if not more) than they wish to be served. I’m grateful in that my husband, partner, and baby-daddy is the epitome of what a man is. I’ve never doubted his support and respect for me. We were meant to have a son so my husband can show him what a man is and I can show him how you treat a woman. Women are not objects but rather human beings just like him, deserving the same amount of respect (AND PAY) as he. My son has watched me work a full-time job from the time he was latched onto my boob until yesterday when he threw a piece of cheese at my head while I was struggling to meet an editing deadline. Mommy will always be your mommy but she is also a professional career woman who is doing it all. Working, taking care of my family and fighting with the endless struggle we call “balance.” Mothers play a different role in this world than fathers and it’s my responsibility to show my son that whereas my husband and I may act out different roles, we’re equally important and crucial to this society.
Of course I want him to thrive and be successful in his future career of choice. If he’s fortunate, it’ll be his passion and not just a job. But more importantly, I want him to be compassionate; empathetic to those he can’t relate to yet still choose to stand up and fight for. Just as we need strong women to be examples for today’s youth, we need strong men to show what a real man is. I want to raise a man, not a scared little boy who resorts to hatred and ignorance.
My job as my son’s mother is to love and protect him; feed and educate his body and soul; and teach him what’s right from wrong, yet give him the space and opportunity to make his own decisions. I can only practice what I preach and pray he’ll be a man who helps, not hinders, our world.
Over two years later as I’m battling the terrible-twos, I’m still scared of raising a son but grateful for the opportunity. I was meant to be his mom and he was meant to be my son – forever and always.