BOYS WITHOUT FATHERS

So the other day I was driving home from work, and heard a discussion on talk radio regarding the importance of boys growing up with a male role model. The discussion attempted to highlight how young boys growing up without a male role model in their home, have a greater chance of growing up dysfunctional, and have more of a tendency towards antisocial behavior.

Wow, really??  And that was from a woman?? I wondered if she was a mother herself. The conversation did not even refer to a POSITIVE male role model. So in actual fact, this foolish woman clearly assumed that whether positive or negative, a male role model is a requirement in the home of boys, for them to grow into functional adults.

Well foolish woman, I beg to differ! Whether or not you have a male role model in the home, your son can grow up to be an emotionally healthy adult male.

There are untold fortunes of males, emotionally healthy males, successful males, awe-inspiring males, raised by single mothers or even grandmothers. By the same token there are hoards of adult males who suffer from emotional and behavioral disorders, due to the NEGATIVE male role model in their homes? Is that home seen as MORE functional??  Surely not!! Society needs to take a step back, and change this archaic perception that a boys will grow up dysfunctional if there is no male in the house!!

All single moms will know that, to a certain extent we live our lives in a fish bowl. We are being watched and judged by friends, family and society in general. Being a widow just intensifies the judgment.

I had told my sons many years ago, that we were being judged with a different yardstick to other “conventional” households. I told them that they had better keep the family name intact, otherwise I would have no alternative but to tar and feather them. I told them, that if I ever even suspected that some know it all parent ever had to place their hand on their chest, and condescendingly utter, “shame their mom is a single mom”, to condone any behaviour they might have exhibited, I would throw them to the wolves without any hesitation.

This was not always fair to them, as even if I suspected this was happening, I would summons the wolves! Many times, it became apparent, after the fact, that I had been overly sensitive, but I am sure that while cowering from the wolves, they learnt some or other life lesson!

In most households, the mother is the primary caregiver anyway. Most of us run the day to day household activities anyway. We are the doctors, therapists, social workers, nurses, guidance counselors, teachers and just about everything else.

It warms the cockles of my heart when successful males (as they so often do) express gratitude towards their mothers or grandmothers for everything they had done for them.

Yes, being a single mom involves financial implications, perhaps keeping moms out of the house more than where there is a two parent household. But even that, nowadays, is not necessarily the case. Most households today need a dual income.

The single mom household is definitely different, but is it necessarily dysfunctional?

When I became a single mother, I quickly learnt that people were waiting for the family unit to fall apart, particularly other dads. I cannot tell you how many friends’ husbands I had to dart a look of disdain at, when they took it upon themselves to try and discipline my children on my behalf. Totally felt I, as a single mother, was not capable of doing so unaccompanied by a MALE ROLE MODEL!!!!!

Truth be told, my children knew that when their mother laid down the law, so the law was laid. There was no other person to play against their mom’s decisions. If anything, they had it tougher.

Being that my sons were barely 5 and 8 years old when my husband passed away, the question raised over the years, was whether I was planning on meeting anyone else. Some asked as early as a few months after I had lost my husband. Clearly they had no conception of what one goes through when the rug is pulled out from under one!!! Not their fault and just as well I saw the humor in it. 

 “Your boys will need a male role model, you NEED to find another man”, I was told on various occasions. Really? Why was that? Of course they would have, and will still have many positive male role models in their lives. This applies to any child, even the ones who live with a male role model.

Was another male role model in the house going to of necessity be a POSITIVE role model? Was another man encroaching on their place of safety, unilaterally taking on the role of a disciplinarian, going to be a more positive experience for them, than being disciplined and educated by their own mother?? I think not! And let me tell you, there is no way in hell that this mother would allow some other male to reprimand or discipline her children. No, thank you very much, this mother was, and still is, quite capable of disciplining them herself. Who would have thought…..a paltry female managing to undertake that mammoth task??

Please don’t misunderstand me. My kids were not exemplary or the epitome of perfection. Nope, they were NORMAL boys going through the life and times of normal and FUNCTIONAL boys.

I am not saying mothers are MORE capable of raising boys than fathers are. I am merely saying that mothers are AS capable of doing so.

So to all you naysayers out there, before you label our sons…….have faith in us single moms of boys….we got this!!!

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