“Having Kids is Manly”

That’s what my husband told me yesterday.

Does that sound right to you?


FYI, this is not my husband, nor my baby.

I think I (and possibly other women my age) was brainwashed with the idea that having kids was womanly, and that every woman should avoid it because its oppressive.

But manly?

Let it sink in.  I think he’s right.

Let me put it in context.  We were talking yesterday and I was remembering over a year ago at one of my bridal showers, we did the game where my husband had answered a list of questions before the shower and then during the shower I was supposed to publicly guess what his answers were.  And there was some sort of punishment involving bubble gum if I answered incorrectly (all I remember was massive amounts of bubble gum in my cheeks!).

One of the questions asked was “How many kids does he want?”

Just to keep it interesting, I answered X.  It turns out his answer was X+1.

I found that hilarious and that was the one piece of bubble gum I was happy about eating, like it was some sort of display or how manly my husband was! (I promise his answers to those other questions were wrong!).   He said he wanted more kids than I did!  Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Anyway, I was recalling this event with him (again) and while I could originally think of a few reasons why at first thought I wouldn’t think having kids is “manly” (most obvious being “that’s woman’s work and a man should have nothing to do with it”),I couldn’t put my finger on it right away why having kids would be manly, although it felt right.  Here are a few reasons I’ve since come up with:

  • Having kids means the wife has to bear kids, enacting her “most womanly essence” (for lack of better words) which during pregnancy/birth is also a vulnerable state.  Men must provide a counterpart by supporting and protecting her, and its manly to want to do that!
  • Having kids means you’re leaving a legacy.  Leaving a legacy is manly? ( I don’t know about this one)
  • Having kids (more dependents) brings out the good qualities in a man because it motivates them to work harder at finding/keeping/advancing in their job to provide better.
  • Having more kids means having to provide for more kids.  Being up to the challenge and responsibility is an impressive characteristic and this type of courage is manly.  Being scared and worried about how your family size will work out isn’t.

And I think these are the most profound:

  • Looking at our biology as Jenelle posted here, a man’s anatomy literally sets him up to give – external (whereas women are receivers – internal).  Giving is part of a man’s nature and embracing that fully (by literally giving life as much as possible for him) could be considered embracing his manliness fully.
  • Being open to children, especially a lot of children, means that you’ll have to give out a lot more love, which involves being and acting more Christ-like.  Yes, Christ-like is different than manliness, but its included in there so I think it might count.

Ok, so maybe all those reasons were similar.  What do you think?  I know its mostly women that read this blog, so what do the men in your life think?

*Just want to clarify that I am talking about the idea of being open to having kids/a lot of kids making you manly (as a man) and not necessarily the act of having them.  I understand infertility is very real and we cannot control our biology.  That’s like saying a woman is more womanly because she’s able to have more children.  Not what I’m trying to say.


8 thoughts on ““Having Kids is Manly”

  1. Oh, your “profound” reasons had never crossed my mind! I was thinking more along the lines of your first reasons. Especially if the wife stays at home with the children, I think the husband would feel very manly for being able to provide for all of them, all by himself. And there’s probably something to be said for having a lot of progeny and feeling virile, even if that’s just locker room talk. Hm, and having a very “womanly” wife might also foster a more masculine sense in the man. Very interesting!

    I wonder if all men (still?) feel this way; and if so, do they feel like they can admit it? For decades now they’ve been told that women can do everything they can do. Wanting to be able to protect and provide is something they don’t feel allowed to share, until they have finally found the one woman they’re going to marry. And even then, sometimes their girlfriends/wives might not want to accept that idea. And on the other side, we have men who embrace not having to fulfill those roles, as it allows them to be lazier and spend more time playing video games and living in “guyland.” Perhaps my example plays too much on stereotypes, but you see what I’m getting at?

  2. This is a very interesting topic! Isn’t it funny that the darker side of feminism (we’re just like men and don’t need men) not only destroys our unique feminine attributes, but decreases manliness as well. I love the idea that having kids is manly and womanly. Hmm, I have more vague pieces of thought about this, but nothing that I can put into words right now. Good post!

    • yes! this is exactly what I was thinking, the repercussions are a lot larger than we think. its a confusing topic to articulate, I agree, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  3. I think Noel would completely agree with that statement. We believe that fatherhood is a divine role, and I definitely can attest to the fact that having kids will make you more Christ like (more humble, more selfless, etc).
    I think for most people, having a lot of kids would make you even more Christ like, but I think it would be better for everyone involved if I found a different way to do that. :) The amount of kids I have right now is perfect for me.

    ps. Noel wants like 4 more kids than I do. (yikes)

    • yeah, that’s kinda why i put that little disclaimer at the bottom. i guess it doesn’t just apply to infertility but also to other parenting realities. i just always get a little sad when i hear that the guy doesn’t want kids but the girl does (which is actually what spurred us talking about my bridal shower memory to begin with), since he should want them. in fact, its manly to want kids. anyway, that’s what spurred the post.

  4. I just wanted to say I enjoyed the post (thanks for the link) and I completely agree with the statement. Providing for a family is very manly and I’m lucky to have the man I do who accepts that role and appreciates it. Otherwise the whole subbing with no prospects of full time work would be a bit of a drag. Plus it makes looking forward to having kids one day more exciting.

  5. Hi Alison, thanks for your comments on my blog. I keep thinking of some nice way to tell you I really appreciate your sweet comments. I really like your insights but I can’t come with things smarter than : “oh wow, I agree!! or thanks for saying it.”.. SO of course lately this post is the one that stuck to me :) I’ll try to comment more often, because you trigger many thoughts with your posts.. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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