Dear Jack and Teddy,
I know we’ve only known each other for less than two years now, but believe me when I tell you, I have thought about you both for as long as I can remember. I didn’t know exactly what you would look like or what your personality would be, but I knew with every ounce of my soul that I would dedicate my life to making sure you grew up in an environment that was safe and supportive. As your mother, my life’s mission is to ensure you have the love and tools necessary to grow up in a healthy, stable way. And I am dedicated to giving you both what every son needs from his mother.
You might not know this at the tender ages of two and one, but mothers and sons throughout history have had varied relationships that run the gamut from codependent, toxic, and everything in between. Movies have been made, books have been written, and therapy sessions have been had, all in the name of sorting through the intricacies of this complex relationship. And in many cases, mothers and sons have had a loving relationship that spans decades and the ups and downs of life. Baby boys, I can only hope and dream that you and I will be included in those lucky ones.
Before I impart my motherly wisdom onto you, let me first issue the disclaimer that I am no expert. I am just a mama looking to make sure her boys show and receive respect throughout their lives. I want you to live your lives in a way that makes you proud.
And that brings me to my first tip for you. You need to see respect modeled from me. You need to see the way I treat you both and others around me. I want you to understand what that looks like. You need to know how to show it to others as you mature and grow. This is so important because the respect I show you as babies and toddlers creates the building blocks imprinted in your brain. You are worthy, important, and so incredibly valuable. Please continue to remind me that you aren’t expecting perfection but simply respect, even in my most tired, stressed out, and overwhelmed moments.
You also need me to remember and recognize that societal norms are changing. We as parents need to change along with the times. Families look different than they did decades ago. With those changes comes beautiful new definitions that require us to challenge the previous notions that we were accustomed to.
My little baby loves, you don’t have to grow up assuming that you must be the sole provider for your family. The safety and security of your family don’t fall on you and you alone. Instead, you can grow up knowing that if you choose to find a partner and begin a life together, you get to decide what that looks like and how you navigate it. You need to know that this responsibility doesn’t fall only on you. I will remind (read: nag) you about this important point as often as necessary. You must carve out time to rest and take a break from feeling like the world is on your shoulders.
You also need me to teach you how important it is to nurture your gentle side. Along with your incredible dad, I want to make sure you know the value of taking an active parenting role (if you choose to have children). You need me to be gentle with you. Of course, I recognize the importance of being firm when needed. I will always make sure you have boundaries to hopefully ensure you won’t become entitled, spoiled brats.
However, I want you to realize the beauty of being gentle with those around you and with yourself. Give yourself grace, and the rest will fall into place. You need to have the opportunity to play with dolls, cook, clean and know how to do laundry properly. Those stereotypical roles historically reserved for women are not that way anymore. I am excited to teach you about honing your skills in the caretaker role so that one day you can have the capacity to do that for your own family if you so choose. And I know your sweet personalities are capable of cultivating an environment that is safe, supportive, and loving. I will be there to cheer you on every step of the way.
Jack and Teddy, throughout your lives, you will encounter numerous situations that will require you to use your critical thinking skills, your emotional intelligence, and your empathic hearts. By creating a home filled with love and respect, I hope you will be able to tap into that and go forth into your own lives, ready to spread that goodness to all others. You need me to teach you family values aligned with core beliefs about simply being good people, understanding and respecting differences, and knowing your worth each and every day.
You need to know that it’s okay to cry (you’ve got that part down at ages two and one so far!) and that you can choose to pick the battles you’d like to engage in. Most importantly, you need to remember that your mama is here every step of the way for you. Being your mother is the single (double?) most important job of my life. I am eternally grateful for the daily reminder that the most important thing any son needs from his mother is simply me.