Friday, 21 June 2013

Being the Mother of a Son (......or five)

Lately we have seen some pretty average behaviour in the media from men around the place.  Behaviour that is inexcusable.

A few blogger types who also happen to be mothers of sons were spurred on by Lexi from Pottymouthmama to celebrate the males in our lives who are human beings of the ace variety.

Not surprisingly as a Mother of FIVE boys I feel it is my place to be a bit of an advocate for boys.

Boys tend to get a pretty bad wrap generally- not just when ooky things happen in the public eye but just generally.  They tend to get labelled with the not-so-positive descriptives.

The first thing people say when they hear that not only do I have five children but that they are all boys is "Oh my gosh!"  Cue jaws on the floor and all......

It's generally not seen as a particularly good thing.  Then come the jokes about how we must of kept on trying for a girl. GUFFAW.

Only I am not laughing.
I don't find it funny.  Especially when people say it in front of my crew.  Do they think my lads don't understand the thinly veiled message they are delivering?

It is hurtful.  To me and to my boys.

My answer to them is..... "Actually NO...we kept on trying to have more boys because boys are ACE.
SO ace in fact that we wanted FIVE of them, and look how lucky we are that our wish came true."

Cue silence as the conversation ends abruptly.

All the males that I have in my life are intelligent, kind, funny, respectful & caring people.

I aim to raise my five lads to be like that too.

So.... what do I think 'Being a Mother of a Son means?

  • I think it means teaching my boys the power of words.

I talk a lot with my lads.  No topic is off limits.  We talk openly and honestly about anything and everything.  Real words, real terms. I don't want my kids to feel embarrassed about life & to not be able to talk using real language.  Sometimes I start conversations that are uneasy just to break the ice. I don't want them to be scared to keep asking questions. I don't ever want that to change although I know it is inevitable. Most of all I don't ever want my boys to stop talking.  As a mother of boys I feel that teaching the power of words is one of the greatest gifts I can give.

After Year 7 camp earlier this year my 12yo came home excitedly to tell me he had met a really good  person he thought would become his good friend.  He told me how great he was to talk with. I asked him what they talked about.  He answered 'Feminism and Philosophy and that sort of stuff. You know...the stuff I like to talk about.'  Proud moment.

  • I think it means teaching them about LOVE

My kids aged 15 & 13 cheered recently when the NZ parliament voted to allow Gay marriage.
My boys talk of choosing life partners - and use that term-  in the understanding that the choice of a male or a female as a partner is not as important as whether or not the relationship is a loving, committed and respectful one.

  • I think it is about teaching them about Life Values

I guess I see it as my job to try to impart the values that I think are important to have.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Thinking about what differences I teach them as boys rather than girls.
I keep settling back to the idea that I don't really think it IS different. I expect them to behave as a good human being.  Not as a good 'boy'.

  • I think it is about teaching them there is more than one way

I don't care for stereotypes of any kind really.  I hope I have taught this to my boys. I don't think any good can come of stereotypes.  Difference in our world is a glorious thing. Being able to celebrate it is a gift.
There are no rules about 'how' to be a boy. My boys all have penises, that is what makes them a boy. How they write their story about 'How to be a Boy' is up to them.  So far I can see five equally wonderful and very different stories unfolding before me.

  • I think it means teaching them to be kind
Kindness is something I feel very strongly about.  I can see my boys already understand something of this & when I see them acting with kindness it makes me super proud.

My boys help me stay grounded to the things that matter.  They are smart & funny. So very funny. Sheesh we laugh a lot.  They are helpful and thoughtful.  They think and talk deeply about things that matter to them. They are kind & caring.  Helpful & gentle, creative & talented.  They show their love gently and unashamedly. Even the 15yo still tells me he loves me as he goes to bed.

I count myself as super lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful, loving, funny & totally fabulous human beings that are also totally fabulous BOYS.

Boys are ACE.

Here is a list of links to the other bloggers who are taking part in this.
Click on the links to read their posts that will be published over the day ~

DO you LOVE Beetroot?
I totally LOVE it.
I buy bunches and bunches of the stuff. The leaves in salad or flash fried like spinach & then I often roast the entire lot and have them in the fridge ready to use in different ways.
This is my eldest boy's favourite dip.
This recipe uses roasted beets- I roast the whole bunch but only use about 4 for the dip- leaving you leftovers for salads or other goodies!
  • 1 bunch beetroot
  • 4 tablespoons plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2 heaped teaspoons roasted Cumin seeds
  • S & P
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Trim the leaves off the top of the beets leaving about 1cm of the stalk - set the leaves aside to use in salads.

Take a large baking dish and plonk the beets into it.

Glug about 4-5 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of EVOO & add some S&P over the beets.

Cover tightly with alfoil and pop into the oven for an hour or until the beets are soft all the way through .

While the beets are in the oven pop a heavy based pan on teh stove top and dry fry the cumin seeds over a gentle flame till you can smell their heady perfume- about 6 minutes or so.  Remove and set aside.

Remove the beets from the oven and let cool.
Rub the skin off the outside of the beets (wear disposable gloves for this bit if you don't like pink fingers!)

Chop roughly.

Add the chopped beets into a food processor with the yoghurt and garlic clove.

Blitz to the consistency you like- personally I like mine to be a bit chunky still but you may like it super smooth.

Use a spatula to remove- you don't want to leave any goodness behind!- and add the cumin seeds.

Check seasoning and add S & P if necessary.

It will keep for up to four days in the fridge.
I so love the genius of Andrew Bird....

"When our mouths are filled with uninvited tongues of others
And the strays are pining for their unrequited mothers
Milk that sours is promptly spat, light will fill our eyes like cats
Light will fill our eyes like cats, cataracts"


  1. I am new to your story and was being nosey scrolling through and this post stopped me short. I am a very proud Mamma to two handsome, funny,sweet boys and at though 5 and 2 our journey to manhood is just beginning I feel just as strongly about raising good people as opposed to good men. I am keenly aware that my Husband and I will send into the world someones friend,someones lover, someones partner and most importantly someones Daddy. It weighs heavily but I relish watching them discover their talents and explore their dreams.

  2. Yep, best mum ever! x

  3. Alli @ ducks on the dam10 June 2014 at 14:42

    Beautiful words - as per usual. Love the point about teaching them words. I think we all need to teach our kids this xxx

  4. Boys are Ace I have one ,only one he is my eldest child and I love him dearly he is kind and loving and nearly 25 yesterday he bought home from work some birds of paradise flowers and leaves ( he is a landscaper ) because he know I love them in a vase ,so I agree with you ,boys are great.
    I have never tried beetroot as a veggie but I am going to get some this weekend and bake them ,I think I will love them.

  5. The best answer to me would've been that you just wanted more kids regardless of gender.

  6. Clare from Checks and Spots10 June 2014 at 14:42

    Ruth - It's so lovely that our paths have crossed via this little series of posts. If anyone knows a thing or two about boys, it's definitely you. And not just because you have five of the's because you have such a wonderful perspective on the world. Yes, boys are ace. But you're also a very ace mum!


  7. Oh Ruth, I love this so so much and I love that you think boys are so ace that you had 5! Ha! I get that question ALL the time, usually inappropriately in front of my boys, "so you went back for no. 5 and finally had a little girl?" to which I say "No, I had a girl first." Silence. Beautiful Post! Mel x

  8. Gorgeous Ruth. I love boys...wish I had more. x

  9. This is the best blog post I have read all year. I am so glad I have a boy. I wept with joy when Benedict was born. Boys are ACE. I will be writing my own post on this subject over the weekend.
    Lots of love to you and all the boys xox

  10. Great post Ruth! Love your approach to raising boys.
    I am the mumma to three boys. Last year when I was pregnant with my third & I was telling people the baby was a boy I was shocked at how many people were visibly disappointed for me, " oh another boy" they'd say with a sad face. I then had to reassure them that we were TOTALLY OK with our baby being a boy, in fact I was just so happy to have a healthy baby after 2 miscarriages I did not care one iota. We wanted to add another child to our family, we were not trying for a boy or girl , we were just trying to have a baby! Even now when I talk of having another people say things about us needing/wanting a daughter but I am always quick to reassure them that we will probably have another boy & that we are totally OK with that because it's about wanting a child not a gender. Boys are great! I never feel short changed by having only sons like some people seem to think. I do however feel a great responsibility to grow my boys into great men & it's something I try very hard each day to do. Only time will tell.

  11. June 2014 at 14:42

    Love your thoughts, Ruth, and agree with your approach entirely. I have a beautiful 16 year old boy. Like you, I have spent many hours talking with him, listening to him, being there for him. Apart from a surge of testosterone when he was 12 and there were some angry feelings, he has always been open, kind and considerate towards me and all in his family. Like your 15 year old still tells me he loves me, asks for hugs and receives them when I need them! His friends are great - they chat with me, they're friendly, they have a sense of humour. Unfortunately, he has experienced serious illness over the past nine months but our relationship has enabled us to provide and receive support and to discuss his health concerns openly. And I am so proud of him when I see the maturity with which he has handled a difficult period in his life. Boys shouldn't get a bum rap. There are so many delightful, funny ones out there! I think it's all about how we parent. But that's the case probably with any child. My 14 year old daughter is so far from the bitchy, boy obsessed girl many associate with someone of her age. Sometimes I look at my kids and wonder how they became so wise at such an early age. Let's all stick up for boys and watch them become fabulous men!

  12. There are five good men being raised at your place and the world is lucky to have them. Like you, I believe in the necessity of raising kind, tolerant, thoughtful, communicative individuals who reach out to the world and share - boys or girls, doesn't matter to me. Gender is a state of mind and more trouble than its worth. x

  13. I love my boys, and only this week a woman in a lift looked at us and said 'No girls, then? Shame. I suppose you'll be trying for one next.' I was gobsmacked. No, it isn't a shame. I am thrilled to bits with two boys and people couldn't understand why I was so pleased with a boy the second time around. What IS a shame is people airing their views in front of our children and feeling justified in uttering such nonsense in the first place. Girls or boys, it doesn't matter. What matters is the person.

  14. Georgia Sutton10 June 2014 at 14:42

    I love your boys! What beautiful young men.
    Just a gorgeous post.

  15. Philippa Taylor10 June 2014 at 14:42

    I have been enjoying all the lovely posts about boys but yours has brought on a tear! You are honouring their hearts and feeding there bellies well! x

  16. You are raising five amazing young men, Ruth. Thank you for affording us the privilege of sharing some of that journey with you. You're a wonderful role model as a parent and a woman.

    I loved all of your points. I agree so strongly with all of them. Especially where you talk about expecting your boys to behave as a good human beings Not as good boys. It's the exact conversation we have in our house. In relation to both our son and daughter. It's got nothing to do with gender and everything to do with basic human decency.

    So lovely to read all these posts. Xx

  17. Dear Ruth, you sound like the best Mum ever. You and your boys sound so filled with love and openness in your hearts. I have one of each so I'm astounded at stories of how many people will speak out of turn, IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN with respect to gender balances. The nerve!
    I also posted on my boy yesterday, his great attitude to uncomfortable times and news. He had some interesting questions after camp. We also have very matter of fact, logical discussions. He takes this stuff on, all in his surprisingly capable stride.

  18. Boys are ace. THE END.


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