May 30, 2012

My Fella's

As soon as I learned we were having a boy, I started thinking hard about what it is to mother a little man. I spent most of my life imagining having a girl and a mirror of the mother-daughter relationship that I was raised in. The idea of a boy was exciting, but very foreign and it did worry me.

In many ways men are a mystery. My own father is captivating and talented, but parenting is not one of his strengths. He was always a part of my life but never familiar or comfortable. I simply didn't grow up with many men around, but I am grateful that I learned a lot of independence from my mother and also my strong aunts. I like to solve my own problems and I believe a lot of my determination and drive comes from the example of self-reliance set by the women in my life.

Throughout my pregnancy I considered how I would raise a man when I don't truly understand them, and eventually I realized that all of the lessons that I cherish from my own upbringing are equally valuable to a boy. I resolved that although they are different creatures, the act of mothering was essentially the same and I made peace with the idea, just in time to welcome my sweet boy into this world.

Of course once you have a child all of the analysis and mental preparation seems laughable. It all just kind of happens and every plan and expectation goes out the window. I quickly realized what should have been obvious- the huge oversight in all of my pre-baby parenting anxiety; unlike me, my son has a very present father.

Watching my husband transform into a dad has been a joy beyond explanation. Yes, I knew he would make a good father, but it's impossible to imagine what that really looks like until it's here. He is patient and fun and so proud. He reads in silly voices, runs in circles and teaches about cleaning up. He has the magic touch when it comes to coaxing sleep or trying new foods. Little Smith literally lights up when he comes home, it's far beyond what I could have ever expected.

Right now, the two of us are everything in this little guy's world and its a privilege to have a partner to share the responsibility and the bliss. I am comforted that Little Smith has such a loving father and I also have ever more respect for my mother and all single parents who shape a little person's world and create a family without a team-mate.

The connection that I have with my son is every bit as deep as the one I shared with my own mother. Still my relationship with my child will likely be very different from the one I grew up with, not because he is a boy but because he has this father. I am so proud to call these two men are my family and I trust and love them from head to toe.


  1. Very sweet. There is something so special watching husbands become great fathers. Sounds like yours is a wonderful father!

  2. Very sweet photos and a thoughtful post. I have a boy and a girl, and I have to say the boy natural gravitates most often towards his dad. My daughter is the same with me. We have to make an effort to switch it up and pair off girl with dad, boy with mom.

  3. I love this, Lily! I feel in some ways I was meant to be a mama to a boy (or two) because of the difficulty I had with my mother but, like you said, I see that mothering is basically the same for boys and for girls and that your child's life is not a copy of your childhood. I love watching my husband be a father too - there's nothing like it.


  4. Well said. I always kind of assumed I would have a daughter, but with three boys, we are not planning to have any more kids. It has taken some major mental shift-work to come to terms with that, and I have come to a similar conclusion. I couldn't adore my boys more, and feel so honored to be their mama.

  5. aw, well it looks like you have stared those fears of raising a boy in the face and kicked them to the curb. this little man just looks so happy and healthy and that's all you can ask for. how precious!!
    xo TJ

  6. such a lovely post. i never thought about being a mother to a boy; i guess because we found out olive was a girl. and it's been so amazing to see my husband become a father. you see a different side that was waiting to be uncovered. :)

  7. Oh wow, it's nice to read that someone went through the same conundrum I'm thinking about now! I also come from a family of mostly women and not very present men. And my husband didn't really have any male figures around him growing up either. I look forward to just going with the flow with parenting. Hopefully my husband will be an awesome dad, like yours is!

  8. ahhhh, stop it! i am all teary-eyed over here. this is so touching and beautiful. very well written and heartfelt. i appreciated reading this so much! :)