It has been more than fifteen years since I went on a date with anyone other than my husband, but Saturday afternoon I found myself looking forward to doing just that.
I made sure to pick out a dress that was sure to please. A combination of slacks and nice blouse just wasn’t going to do. As I came down the stairs, my date was already there and I took satisfaction in the smile that broke across his face.
“Mom! You are a pretty princess!” he exclaimed.
In his next breath, my son amended his comment. “Well, you aren’t green dress pretty (his favorite of my outfits) but you are still pretty.” My son may be quick to praise, but is also great at finding ways to keep me humble.
I was taking my son to see a local live theatre production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It was an evening show time, but even so at least a third of the audience was made up of children close to his age and nearly all of them were female. I wasn’t surprised that some changes were made for the stage adaptation, but didn’t expect the that the big climatic sequence at the end would be one of those edits. The prince no longer drove a jagged piece of shipwreck into the sea witch saving the mermaid from certain death. No in this version, the mermaid saves herself as well as the king. The prince is entirely absent from the climax. Only after the witch is defeated and Ariel and her father have heart to heart does the prince reappear. Additionally, in this version the prince spends the majority of the play contemplating abdicating his crown for a life as a sailor, and only accepts his responsibility when Ariel emerges victoriously from the waves with her very muscled father behind her.
I regularly attend networking functions with other working moms and other executive women. Often there are discussion prompts such as ‘what is the one thing you hope to pass on to your daughter’ or ‘what are you doing to empower the next generation of women in the workplace?’ While I appreciate the thought process behind these prompts, they always tend to bother me. Did I in someway betray my gender by only having sons? Is there no place for young boys in a ‘Girl Power!’ world? I refuse to accept this.
I wish more boys had been at the performance. It was a special night out with my son that at least I will remember forever. He held my hand both to and from the theatre. He curled up in my lap during the love songs, and proudly proclaimed to our seat mates how happy he was to be there with me. Other mother/sons missed out on a truly magical bonding experience. Why? Because it was a musical play about a princess.
My sons love their legos, transformers, toy backhoes and front loaders. They love to play in the sand/dirt, fight pretend bad guys, and build things with tools. They are about as stereotypically boys as they come. However my sons also like cooking, painting, and reading. They are just as likely to play with the kitchenette set at day care as they are the train table.
I may not have daughters today, but I may, in the far, far, far, future have a daughter-in-law. For now, I am raising my sons to be just as confident running a household as they are a board room, so that if they do choose to stay home for the betterment of their family they can do so without feeling like their masculinity has in someway been threatened. I am raising them to be respectful of women beyond using proper manners. I am raising them to understand that women can do anything, but at the same time I am making sure that they know they can too. If I am successful, my sons will hire, promote, or feature a woman because she is the most qualified or most deserving, not because she is a woman and certain standards have to be met. That is how I am empowering the next generation. That is the gift I intend to pass on to my future daughter – may she be equal to my son.
- Why not raise sons as we do daughters? (herald.co.zw)
- Single moms do it all. Does that tell our sons they’re obsolete? (wealthysinglemommy.com)
- Let children read what they want (telegraph.co.uk)
- If You’re a Modern Dad, You Might Just Be a Feminist (time.com)