INDONESIA: Wild Things…A Mom’s Journey to Mastering Boyhood

INDONESIA: Wild Things…A Mom’s Journey to Mastering Boyhood

Ana Gaby’s son, Evan, climbing yet another tall structure.

“Boys will be boys” people say when they see my two-year-old run around wild and try to jump off the steps or throw sand on his head or when he decides the restaurant table is the perfect race track. Yes, “boys will be boys” I’ve realized, the problem is I don’t really know what boys are like. I learn a new lesson on boyhood everyday as I breeze or trudge through the journey of motherhood.

I grew up surrounded by estrogen. I was an only child until the age of seven and before that I attended an all-girls school and visited with my female cousins often. When my sister was born, my mom, my sister  and I created a very special bond that keeps getting tighter despite the distance and space between us. My sister and I grew up in a fluffy, pink bubble where the worst tragedy that could happen in our eyes was related to ice-cream staining our dresses, or our best friend not being allowed to come over for a sleepover.

I was not used to the dirt, rowdiness, sounds and smells that little boys bring into the picture. Nobody told me about the bleeding noses they would give me (product of accidental head butts), or the sore toes (victims of Tonka road accidents), and the fact that I might find dirt and sand in the most bizarre places in my boy’s anatomy. I was not aware of the physicality that entails chasing mothering a very energetic little boy and the taxing toll it would take on my back let alone my manicure. (more…)

Ana Gaby

Ana Gaby is a Mexican by birth and soul, American by heart and passport and Indonesian by Residence Permit. After living, studying and working overseas, she met the love of her life and endeavored in the adventure of a lifetime: country-hopping every three years for her husband’s job. When she's not chasing her two little boys around she volunteers at several associations doing charity work in Indonesia and documents their adventures and misadventures in South East Asia at Stumble Abroad.

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WASHINGTON, USA: The Girly Water Bottle

WASHINGTON, USA: The Girly Water Bottle

My six year old son has a resuable water bottle with a pink top that is covered with bees and daisies.

When it’s time to replace our son’s gear, we let him choose what he likes without telling him things are specifially for boys or girls. However, most things are marketed to boys (with monsters, bugs or vehicles) or to girls (with flowers, crowns and birds). This marketing seems everywhere from a young age, with advertisements showing boys holding the “boy” stuff and girls with the “girly” stuff. From toys to flatware, everything is divided.

Do I mind this early play into gender stereotypes? Yes and no. I am ok with having multiple versions of a toy in different colors available, but I would prefer they were not marketed to a specific gender. And if I am being honest here, I have fallen in step with the divide. My son wears lots of blue and zero pink. Would I mind him wearing pink? No, but I buy what is easy and available, and I don’t go out of  my way to get him t-shirts that span the color of the rainbow. If he asked for a pink t-shirt, I would do my best to find him one.

In the meantime, I am educating my son about choosing what he likes and being confident with those choices regardless of advertisements.

My son first became aware of these gender rules in preschool. When we were looking for a replacement for a broken toy, he asked if it was OK for him to get the pink “girl” one rather than the blue “boy” one. I explained it was the exact same device, but just in different colors, so he could pick whichever one he preferred. He ended up with the blue one, and I made a mental note that the days of “that’s for girls” was coming. (more…)

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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Saturday Sidebar: Difference in cultures about raising boys vs. girls?

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer, Diana @Hormonal Imbalances.  She asked our writers,

“Are there any differences in your culture on how boys and girls are raised?  For example, is there a change in discipline when dealing with one gender versus the other?  Education? Expectations in behavior?  Changes in rules as they grow up? Do you agree or disagree with your culture’s parenting methods?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Mama B. of Saudi Arabia writes:
“Where to start?  I am going to generalize now so… in general, in our culture there is a big difference between what is expected of boys and what is expected of girls.  As far as discipline goes, girls get the iron fist, while boys get a slap on the hand. (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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