Are Women Feeding the Patriarchy?

Two kids in traditional Bavarian costumes and red and green rubb

I was having a chat with a friend the other day; we were discussing the difference between being a mum of boys vs being a mum of girls.

I was explaining how I felt my relationship with my grown sons was far more fragile than that of my almost grown up daughter, and what impact I felt that's made on them as adults.

We started to dig deeper. Why did I feel so different about being a mum to boys than being a mum to a girl? (Aside from the obvs, my disgust at finding tissues under their beds vs the frustration caused by hunting out my eyeliner AGAIN from the pit of despair she calls her bedroom).

What I noticed was that the boys, from birth were a mystery to me.  I was intrigued by these humans, humans who were the total opposite of me being a girl/woman. I knew that they’d live very different lives to me (being male) and that I would never fully understand how it is to be in this world as a man. They had me hooked with intrigue from day one.

My daughter came along and felt like a force I could relate to, I felt deeply connected to her, it was easy to imagine her being a natural extension to me. I understood the journey she would be taking, I understood the paths she’d have to navigate, and I felt confident that as I had walked it before I would be a sound guide to help navigate her as smoothly as I knew how.

The boys felt different, the connection was much more fragile, I felt the male/female divide, I braced myself for the competition of a woman (or man) one day ‘replacing’ me, giving them the one thing that I never could/would (sex) and I learnt to walk on eggshells, in a bid to keep them with me, trying to secure a closeness that couldn’t be replicated.  I’m sure that that fragility was picked up on by them at some point along the way and I think it gave them a hierarchy from very early days.

From very early days, they had the upper hand in our relationship, maybe the world?

With my daughter I know that we have a bond, we are sisterhood, we are in in together, we have a knowing look that connects us, she trusts me because she knows that I’ve been where she is, we are on the same page and with that comes a security and equality.

I feel my boys hold more power in our relationship than I do and wonder if this is how, and where patriarchy starts? Young boys with fragile mothers carefully tip toeing around them for fear of losing them? Young boys growing into grown men, with an inherited opinion of women, as small and desperate to please?

I am a strong and independent woman, I make sure that my kids get to see that, and they know outwardly that men and women should be treated as equal, but I do wonder if somewhere inside my boys, they feel that they are the superior sex, because of the way this feminist raised them?

Do you have both boys and girls? 

I'd love to know how you feel about raising both sexes and what differences you've found, let me know in the comments.