I’m a mom to three boys and while I wouldn’t trade them for the world (okay, maybe for a little me time here and there), I’m a little unprepared for them to grow up. I know my twins are only three and the baby baby is one and a half, and I have some time before I need to start worrying about the teenage and adult years, but this is the kind of thing that keeps my anxiety high at all times. The romance world is filled with rakes, rouges, scoundrels, and bad boys. We might swoon a little over them or even make jokes about them, but as a mom to boys, I have an underlying fear that my sweet baby boys will turn out like the dick turned hero. Here are some things I’ve learned from romance books I hope to teach my boys as they grow to be the man someone needs.
Respect isn’t just for your elders.
This can be a hard one to understand as a kid. But knowing what you are worth, knowing what need not just in a partner, but in friends as well, will make giving out your respect a whole lot easier. Both my husband and I have been in relationships where partners didn’t respect us, our feelings, or even our bodies. If they can figure out what kind of people they need in their life sooner rather than later then I would really feel like my job is done.
Don’t play with emotions.
While it’s always fun to read about the hookups that lead to the HEA, I want to remind my sons that doesn’t always happen and real people with real feelings get hurt. When I found out that our twins were both boys the first thing I said to my husband (like in the ultrasound room) was we are never teaching the boys the bullshit of “if you like someone you are supposed to be mean to them.” Being mean because you like someone isn’t nice, it’s that simple. Starting them off young with that ingrained in their head will hopefully stop one or two kids going home from school crying because a boy was mean to them. Being a bully to the person you like is never okay.
It’s okay to be in the friend zone!
While it’s hard to imagine my kids ever dating ,it’s something that will likely happen at one point in their life. I was that girl who hung out with all boys during middle school, except for one other girl, simply because we were friends. We had the same sense of humor, liked the same things (and hated the same teacher). While one of my guy friends did ask me out, and yes, we did go on one date, it felt weird and we decided that we were better as friends. It might have been a little awkward at first, but we were thirteen so everything was awkward. If they find a friend (different gender or not) it’s 1000% okay to be just friends, and if you can’t just be friends, well then we’ll talk about it and who knows– maybe there’s something there that’s meant to be.
Feelings are BIG, and that’s okay, too.
My boys cry, like a lot, mostly because– I don’t know– the other twin is simply looking at them, or something real like they fell down. My husband and I never want our boys (no matter the age) to feel like they can’t have big feelings and express them. Crying is a natural, biological occurrence, telling one gender that they shouldn’t cry is just as dumb as telling a girl she shouldn’t change her own car tire. Big feelings don’t just come in tears though, they come in love, joy, excitement, and even anger. I hope my boys never feel like they can’t fully express what they are feeling on the inside.
There’s no one way to fall in love.
Falling in love might not happen at first sight, or even after a few months of dating, love is something that is unique to not just each person, but every couple. Love is about accepting good and bad things about the other, and for accepting the good things about yourself that the other sees. While we hope our sons don’t change who they are for someone else, changing a few habits takes time and commitment. They might fall in love with everyone they date, or maybe they’ll have one great love, and no matter who or how, we hope that they will never be scared to take those steps and find their HEA. Love changes a person in so many good ways and that love changes and evolves along with your relationship, it should never be a chore, or a burden, it should be warm and like a friend welcoming you home.