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What Are We Going to Do With All These Boys?

Photograph by Twenty20

When I found out my second child was going to be another boy I mourned, for a little bit, the fact that I would never have a daughter (I knew I was two and done.)

I got over this thanks in part to the fact that I happened to have many friends who were also moms to boys only. We could joke about being the only girls in a world of tighty-whities and poop jokes and bruises and games of pretend-Batman and be real about the fact that there's an experience we're missing out on that ranges from the meaningful (passing on what you've learned on the path to womanhood) to the frivolous (the fun part of the children's clothing catalog.)

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It's also quite possible that we're going to be lonelier in our older age, as traditionally, adult daughters seem to be better at staying closer to their mothers than adult sons. Not to mention the concept that many of us will become mothers-in-laws to the toddler girls who play with our sons now.

So I won't be alone as I go through all that. And my sisters in boyhood also help me remember that raising a girl isn't all tea parties and hair braiding. While it won't be a picnic trying to raise boys, teenage girls are literally the most terrifying people on earth.

I remember exactly how hard it is to be a teenage girl. So it blows my mind that I'm living with future young men. Every boy I ever crushed on or was in love with or couldn't stand, every man in the world who is either heroic or a total dick was once a little boy like the ones who live in my house right now.

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Children are individuals, so I can't tell myself that I can take two little boys and shape them like clay into the men I hope they become. But I do want them to grow up to be men who do more good than harm, or at the very least, just no harm.

I had a boss once who had two sons and would say things like "I don't know anything about girls!" I hope my moms-of-boys friends and I don't turn into that. I hope we can continue to bond over our curious positions of being the primary female figures in their lives, and that we grow stronger as women by sharing what we learn in our efforts to turn these boys into the best possible men.

It helps that these moms all happen to be some of my favorite people. They're all funny, talented women who chase their dreams, work hard, think critically and take no bullshit. They would be amazing role models for any daughter, which perhaps is why they make even better role models for boys.

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