Let’s Hear it for the Boy(s)
I know in my own household, my husband lives in a world of feeling pressure. Many aspects of his life revolve around being a good provider, putting in long hours at work, being uncertain about how he is doing dad-wise, etc., etc., etc.
I am here this post to say that the reality of our current climate gender-wise may be changing, and a lot of focus has been put on ending ideas of “boys being boys” and using language such as “man up” when speaking to emotional young gentleman, but what I see is more than that.
Recently, I have had many conversations about husbands, fathers, and men in general and have uncovered something truly upsetting. Many men have friends, but they do not have “tribes”, “villages, or “squads” that they cultivate in an effort to feel heard, supported, and less alone. Even the best of male besties, the Broest of true Bromancers, do not speak to one another on a truly deep level. Many agree that they get together, complain a bit about wives and girlfriends, play pool, but wouldn’t disclose things like being tired from their newborn being up all night teething, or that they worked 52 hours the week prior because their family may have been short of rent money that month otherwise.
I feel a deep sense of sadness and loss on behalf of men everywhere. The landscape of women’s friendships has allowed us to create, nurture, and love lasting friendships that can be life altering, even, at time, lifesaving. Women of all ages, personalities, and experiences are there for one another at the swish of a text, enmeshed in the lives of their closest friends, part of one another’s families in many cases. I personally have a group of women in my village that I can turn to during every single situation I may find myself in. I have never felt more confident than I do now, having their voices in my head.
Meanwhile, many fathers and husbands are still being asked if they are “babysitting” their own children, or “hiding from their wife”. They have so many issues faced by women, as well. Insecurity, self-doubt, body image issues, depression, anxiety. And they have nowhere to turn. Many new dad bloggers are surfacing, making being a father with all of it’s successes and failures a topic of conversation for the first time. But there still does not seem to be a lot of credit where it’s due, in general. One example is from my own life story. I had my first and only son while being unwed and under the legal drinking age, so many people came out of the woodwork to mention I was “lucky” that my son’s father stayed with me, and furthermore, frequently took care of our son, even waking in the night with him knowing his alarm would go off at 4:00 am. I repeated this to my husband and was pretty shocked when he found these comments insulting. Why would he be lauded for being a good father?
Why don’t we celebrate husbands and boyfriends that shoulder the same burdens women face, and why aren’t they sharing these thoughts with other men??
As I watch my fellow women hitting their groove, hitting milestone after historical milestone to pave a new way for themselves, they do so being surrounded by supportive women. I wonder when men everywhere will find themselves getting some of the same limelight. No longer is a man only taking responsibility for putting food on their tables, they are staying at home while their wife works. They’re sharing chores like cooking and cleaning, not just mowing the lawn or fixing the car.
I can’t wait for a time that they experience the true awesomeness of bonded friendships, or when we start acknowledging their own way of kicking down the door on traditions of the past that once held them down.