Most of my life I’ve been drowning in female company. A young life filled with aunts, female cousins and my only sibling who was also a girl. My complete education took place in an all female environment. This upbringing showed me that women were bloody awesome. They ruled the world.


Let’s fast forward to my first pregnancy. What would I do if I had a boy? Well, I was about to find out! My eldest was pushed from his comfy home in October 2009. He presented at 8 pounds 6 ounces and well at least half of that weight was his balls. I looked at his Dad horrified. ‘Did you see his balls? What the hell is that about?’  The midwife assured us that it was all perfectly normally while I silently panicked about how I was going to rear a male of the species.


By the time the second boy came along I had gotten over the shock of dealing with a penis on a daily basis. There’s no difference between boys and girls in the very early years. Now that they are six and eight I’m ready to concede. I do not understand boys. Sometimes I wonder how we coexist at all.


What bothers me the most is the physicality of rearing the boys. They can’t pass each other without giving the sly dig. A push that leads to a thump that leads to something that you’d pay to see inside The Octagon.


Every other word has poo placed unnecessarily before it. They really do have an unhealthy obsession with their bottoms and everything that goes on in that general area. Too much YouTube means they refer to it as their butt. I can’t use the word butt without feeling like I’m auditioning for a play and my American accent is really crap. In an attempt to speak their language I often get them to pull my finger when I fart. A concept that I now truly regret.


What bothers me the most is the physicality of rearing the boys. They can’t pass each other without giving the sly dig. A push that leads to a thump that leads to something that you’d pay to see inside The Octagon. One lying flat with their head cupped. The other pummelling until the referee decides that enough is enough. The problem is I’m the ref and I’m not always close enough to stop it before the laughing stops and the tears of pain are in full flow.



Every man that I’ve mentioned this to has said it’s futile to try and parent against this natural interaction between brothers. I cannot accept that. This is not natural to me because I’ve never experienced it. I’m not saying girls don’t use their fists but it’s the frequency with the boys. It’s daily and I worry that one of them will really hurt the other.


The fear is always that I am pushing against nature by attempting to bring a halt to the play fighting that inevitably turns into a massacre. I want to rear fine strong men. I have no interest in emasculating them. I just want them to know that you don’t use violence. It doesn't solve problems.


Someone recommended that I put them into classes, boxing or maybe Karate. My mother thinks that this could potentially make matters worse. Are we just adding more accuracy and skill to the battle? Essentially it would be teaching them to be better at hurting one another.


I now see my daughter clenching her fists in anger instead of using her words. The next thing she’ll be in the middle of it all. Then the boys will feel real pain because she is not to be messed with. So I need to protect their male egos from being beaten up by their little sister. How would they ever recover? They don’t need to learn that women rule the world just yet; they’ll soon figure that out on their own.

Ellen Brophy is a mum of three; She calls them her sun (eldest boy) her moon (youngest boy) and her stars (her little girl). She has just qualified as a beauty therapist and make-up artist and loves to write about everything from mental health issues to life as a single parent. She describes her writing as honest, funny and fearless and we tend to agree.

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