I’ve really only got a matter of years before he pulls away from me and although, one hopes, he’ll always be crazy about his Mummy, he’ll no longer nestle into me for comfort or hold my hand in public. I feel a sense of urgency to get this recipe just right. How do I grow the type of man I would like to meet in the world?
Many men have many great attributes, and I love men. But this one is my (our) responsibility to try and shape as best we can into a well rounded individual. How do you instil great confidence that does not come across as arrogance? How do you ensure that he has respect for women, and other races and gay people? How do you make a man that is a great communicator without being too wet? Someone strong, yet gentle with just the right amount of…….je ne sais quoi? I think about this a lot, as I watch my baby become a boy. Of course, it’s as important to think about the woman you’re raising when you have a girl, but I haven’t got as far as thinking about that in the dead of the night yet. I suppose that will all start as of next week, or so (whenever you’re ready, baby girl, we’re ready for you…. and my back is more than ready, sausage). When is a mother supposed to sleep with all of this to think about?
I’m still reading Raising Boys, (I’m reading it little bits at a time) and it’s resonating in so many ways. Admittedly, the real work will begin in a few years, but it all starts now, of course it does. We are learning and growing from the second we open our eyes. Steve Biddulph explains how our very first relationship with the opposite sex is our opposite parent so our attitude to relationships are formed in the first 6 years of our life. This is fascinating, and terrifying in equal portions. I guess D Man is likely to grow up with a penchant for girls who blow raspberries on his tummy, and bum cheeks, and gnaw on his toes, but I’m sure she’s out there. Steve goes on to explain that we don’t need men that wrestle buffaloes or cut down trees with axes made from mammoth bones anymore so we need to learn to channel that masculine energy into different kinds of heroic effort. He says we need to add language and feeling skills into our ‘super boys’ and he referenced men like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and other dudes you may have heard of, like JESUS AND BUDDHA…..no pressure. No wonder I sit up at night thinking about this!!! These men were all courageous, determined and sensitive men, that’s the type of man I’m trying to crack the recipe for. D Man doesn’t need to change the world, that’s not what I’m aiming for, but if he can positively affect the people he meets daily, my work is done. You know sometimes you meet someone and you just think ‘they’re a good man’. I’d be happy with that.
It’s a long road between now and setting him free to be the man he’s going to be, but I know it’ll be gone in a flash of firsts. His first teeth and steps are done, but we have many firsts to look forward to. First days of school, first games of football, first lounge room dance-offs, first loves and first heartbreaks……but first, I need to remember that I can only do my best and I’m not a super parent. I’m just me, and I have to pray that that will be enough.