Andi Buchanon, the author who wrote the absolutely wonderful book Mother Shock (loved that book, nodded my head throughout saying “yes. YES!” has put together a new book entitled “It’s a boy: Women writers on raising sons”. Read the introduction here.
As part of the launch of the book she has asked a few of us to participate in a virtual book tour by reading the book and doing a write up on our blog.
As the title suggests, the book is a collection of essays written by women on the issues around having a boy child. It’s fascinating stuff.
In her introduction to the book Andi raises some of the questions that I think about a lot:
I spoke and exchanged emails with other mothers and writers about mothering boys and girls, and I asked the following questions: Are there differences between mothering a son and mothering a daughter? Are the ideas we have about boys and girls based on real differences between them, or do our ideas about their differences inform their behavior? Do boys truly love their mothers differently? Are girls really “difficult”? Are boys really “easy”? Do these stereotypes about boy and girl babies change in toddlerhood? Adolescence?
Such interesting stuff, I love it!
The essays in It’s a Boy are grouped in four sections: “It’s a Boy,” which features tales of ambivalence, love, and newborn babies; “Will Boys Be Boys?,” which explores bullying, violence, and redemption, the otherness and the potential of boys; “The Velvet Underground,” which examines gender roles and what we expect from our sons; and “Shapeshifter,” which tackles the ever-changing nature of boyness and a mother’s role as her son grows.
As I said, it’s something that has been playing on my mind a lot. Having boy / girl twins is almost a mini science experiment in how issues play out. I wonder, do I mother my son differently to how I mother my daughter? Do I unconsciously confer gender-specific attributes on to my children with out even realizing it? Is Adam’s boisterousness because is a boy, or because I handle him rougher? Is Kate sweet and soft because she is a girl, or because I treat her that way.
Do mothers love their sons differently?
Are we ‘in love’ with our sons compared to ‘loving’ our daughters?
How much is nature, and how much is nurture?
And furthermore, what is our role in raising the future generation of men, of future husbands, future lovers, future fathers?
It’s a fascinating book, a wonderful book, a book written by single moms, by married moms, there’s an essay by a transsexual mom – such a diverse group of women, but all with a common thread – they are all mothers to sons. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite story out of the 30 odd essays, but perhaps the one that touched me most (I wept at its beauty) was the submission entitled “Pretty Baby”, it is achingly beautiful.
I could go on and on, but really, do yourself a favour, get this book – it is an absolute MUST READ for every mother of a son.
Well done Andi (and the rest of the authors), I can’t wait for “It’s a girl!” out early next year, I will definitely be reading that as well.