I'm a Boy Mom, and I'm Thinking of Your Daughters as I Raise My Sons
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I’m a Boy Mom, and I’m Thinking of Your Daughters as I Raise My Sons

Raising a son to respect women is an accomplishment. A boy mom shares her advice for raising sons to better understand and appreciate women.

Updated March 16, 2024 Opinion

by Quinn Kelly

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Mom, what is that on the back of your leg? My second son asked as I was curling my hair.

What do you mean, honey? I replied.

Those dots on your leg. What are they? Daddy doesn’t have them.

As I turn and see my cellulite in the mirror, I laugh. Oh, that’s cellulite, Sweetie. And it’s something that girls have on their legs. But never say anything other than it’s beautiful, even if you don’t love it.

“Then, Mom, your leg is really, really beautiful.” My son replied.

Then we both laughed.

I’m a Proud Boy Mom

Raising sons.

Some think of it as a misfortune. And some think of it as just bad luck. But I’ve always considered it an honor to be the only girl in a house of boys. Four boys and a husband, to be exact.

I think of it as an honor to be the one with painted toes. And makeup, pink pajamas, and perfume. I consider it an honor to be the one with dresses and heels. And girlfriends. And tears at cheesy movies as they wipe my face and ask why I’m crying at an old movie called “Beaches.”

But lately, I’ve been thinking about the fact that being the only girl is more than just an honor. Instead, it’s an important role I don’t want to brush off as something that just makes me feel good. It will have such a bigger impact than just that.

It’s My Job to Teach Them About Women

My four sons come to me and ask questions. And they expect answers. You see, I am their point of reference for understanding the opposite gender. And it’s a sweet role. But one that matters because I am the one teaching them about what women are and aren’t. I am the one they are asking to understand how women think and operate. And how and why, at times, we behave so differently from our male counterparts. But also act just like them at other times.

So I want to teach them well. Because one day there will be another lady in their life. And on that day, I want that lady to know I was thinking of her when I spoke about womanhood to my sons.

Five Truths Boy Moms Should Teach Their Sons

1. Women’s bodies are different than men. But powerful.

My sons often notice my body is different than theirs. They ask why I seem softer than their dad and a host of many other things. They have watched me breastfeed four children. And know that my breasts don’t look quite the same as women they see elsewhere. So we talk about that. And how women’s bodies change through the years as children grow in them and leave them. We talk about how that is natural and how all parts of the process in the body can make a woman look different but be equally beautiful. And to accept beauty as it changes through the years.

2. Women are not the weaker gender.

We also discuss that while men and women do not have the same body parts, we are both strong. Big muscles and being tall are one way for someone to seem strong. But growing a baby and pushing the baby out and feeding the baby are ways to be very strong too. So we discuss being careful never to imply that women are weaker than men. I also mention that I know some women who are stronger than their dad. So it’s all a matter of perspective and to not assume all women are just like me.

We often discuss mental strength too. And we talk about the fact that sometimes society implies women need protection. And I tell them that while I do like to be taken care of by their father, there are times when I take care of their dad too. We talk about the fact that sometimes women are the ones that are braver than a man, but that sometimes women want their husbands to come in and protect them. They tell me it’s confusing, and I tell them that communication and asking questions are where understanding begins. So they ask more. And I answer. I refuse to let my sons leave my house thinking they are of a stronger gender. Yet, I want to encourage them to be as strong as they can be. As well as tender too. I tell them I like strong men. And men with big hearts. And I pray they will like strong women also.

3. Women are smart.

I am a stay-at-home mom (mostly), but I was also valedictorian at my high school and received a full ride to college, and graduated in my Master’s program with all A’s. And I let my sons know that. Not because I’m obsessed with my past but because they have seen their mom stay home and take care of them, and I don’t want them to confuse my choice to watch them with a lack of intelligence. We also discuss that just because some moms stay home doesn’t mean they aren’t smart. And that Dads stay home too. I even tell them, “Your wife might be smarter and more successful than you.” I want them to know that smart doesn’t land on one gender. It lands on who works to succeed.

4. Women deserve respect.

My sons are at an age where they find women pretty. And I tell them that’s perfectly natural and normal. But we also talk about respecting women’s bodies with their eyes, words, and actions. I always tell them to think of the things they want to hear their dad say about me. And to follow suit with their words as they grow. They laugh, but they get it. We talk about how some things draw us to the other gender, and some things seem weird and different. And it’s okay to ask questions. And to notice. But never to put down the opposite gender. And to never treat a pretty girl like someone that isn’t equal to them. Or to treat a girl they don’t think is pretty as unequal to another girl. It makes sense to their little brains.

5. Women and men do not always fall into stereotypes.

I will admit that I do fall into some pretty classic gender stereotypes. But I teach my sons that not all women are the same, and not all men are the same. And while I want them to know that sometimes I am an emotional mess, that doesn’t mean all women fall into that category. Or just because I like big jewelry doesn’t mean all women do. And sometimes even men like to wear jewelry too.

It’s important to me that my boys understand that even though we are not the same gender, we are different but equal. And we need to appreciate those differences and enjoy them. So that one day, if they marry a woman like me or different from me, they can appreciate and love her with one question that leads to a deeper understanding at a time.

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Quinn Kelly Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Quinn is a mother of four, licensed marriage and family therapist, host of the “Renew You” Podcast, and author of “Raising Boys: A Christian Parenting Book.” Throughout the last decade,… Read more

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