Boys Have Always Played with Dolls

“Boys have always played with dolls.   We just called them ‘action figures.’”

Not sure what brought that up, but that is what my husband told our son today as we were working together cleaning the house. I’ve come to love cleaning together with our son because it gives us a lot of time together to talk.

And, we turn up the music and take regular dance breaks!

Anyway, back to dolls and action figures. I had never thought about it that way. He’s right.

My husband’s comment made me remember a time when Kai was still quite little, and I went out for a Mom’s Night Out.

The conversation turned to a mom whose son wanted a kitchen and a doll, but whose husband, she explained, would not have any part of it as he was afraid it would turn his son gay.

She turned to me and asked, “What about you, Patti? Would your husband be okay with it?”

I explained that first, like me, my husband was quite sure that playing with a doll or kitchen wouldn’t turn any boy gay.  Playing with toys is about learning, and we want our son to learn to be a good father who holds and feeds his babies and is comfortable changing diapers so he needs to practice and try out those roles just like he needs to try out cooking.

I said, “And, if it turns out that our son is gay, it won’t be because of what he played with. So, yeah, my husband is totally okay with it.”

“And, he would be totally okay with it if our son turns out to be gay.”

A second or two passed as I thought it over, and I quickly added, “ Now, if he chose to be a Republlican, that might kill him!”  😉

So, yes, boys have always played with dolls, but we just called them “action figures.”

It’s refreshing to see stores doing away with toy aisles specifically for girls or boys.  Instead,  there are toys and there are kids.  If we leave them alone, they will find what suits them.

Maybe it is time for girls to play with more action figures, so they can learn to be the heroes of their own lives and for boys to play with dolls so that they can learn to nurture and care for themselves and their families.

I want to send my son off to college knowing he has a full range of skills so he can cook  delicious, nutritious meal for himself or his friends, can do his own laundry, and can clean up after himself.  I don’t want him to be dependent.

I want to teach my child to be whole. Whole-hearted and wholly himself.

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What about you, Mommy?

“What about you, Mommy? Do you feel like that? “

“That” and this question were inspired by watching, “The Shift,” Wayne Dyer’s film about waking up to life. The film has been released by the family to honor Dr. Dyer’s life.

It chronicles the lives of several people in the midst of transitions, amongst whom is a mom of small children. She has happily given all of herself to her family; as a result, her individual sense of self has been consumed by the roles of “wife” and “mother.”  Viewers watch her rekindle her love of drawing, something she cherished as a younger woman.

I had seen the film before, and although Kai is only eight and a half, he has always been very intuitive and had an emotional depth beyond his years. So, I figured my little yoda could handle it; he teaches me things every day.

After watching that segment, he turned to me and said, “What about you, Mommy? Do you feel like that? “

Wow. I was so struck by his empathy, compassion, and understanding! I felt my child look at me.

Me.

Not “Mom.” Or, “Wife.” Or “Professor.” Or any of the other labels that could apply.

I thanked him for asking and told him I would have to say I am ambivalent, that while Daddy is great about encouraging me to take time for myself, I also still struggle to make and take that time for me and that after years of making sure everyone else’s needs have been met, I am sometimes at a loss for what would inspire my soul.

But, I am working on figuring it out again. ❤

(If you want to watch The Shift for free click here:   The Shift