I Realized Something Recently
Not too long ago, I was pondering whether I’d like to have a third child. Just a few weeks away from my due date with baby boy #2 (let’s call him Baby G), and it hit me like the weight of my 2-year old son lobbing a wooden toy at my head…
Even if I do have a third child, and even if that child ends up being a girl, I am, and always will be, a Boy Mom.
For some reason, this epiphany took me by surprise. It shouldn’t have, I’ve had a little boy for 2 years, and I’ve known I’m having a second boy for over half a year. But for some reason, this realization shocked and scared me to my core. I have dreamed of being a mom my entire life, and not once in 32 years has it crossed my mind that I would be a Boy Mom.
My son loves bugs, trucks, and trains. I can only imagine that Baby G will also love bugs, trucks, and trains. Does this mean I too must learn to love bugs, trucks, and trains!? As a small girl (and as an adult), I very much did not like bugs or trucks, and I tended to be indifferent to trains. I was the typical girly-girl, clad in pink, with sparkles everywhere, pretending I was a princess with magical, yet serene powers. As an adult, I tend to value quiet activities like baking and reading, and I really hate loud noises…they bother me.
So obviously, I would have a son who climbs onto his brand-new PB Kids chair (yes, THE CHAIR), with his name lovingly stitched into it, not to relax with a nice picture book, or to sit back while watching Daniel Tiger. But rather, to use it as a stepping stone from which he will catapult his tiny body over the arm of the playroom couch and onto whatever toys, pillows, or people who happen to be sitting there.
At his weekly tots gymnastics class, he foregoes whatever activity is currently being taught, in favor of running full speed across the gym screaming at the top of his lungs. He also does this at home. I think of it as a toddler battle cry.
I can only imagine that two little boys, just two years apart, will only increase this mayhem. And even if I should have a little girl one day, those boys of mine will always be just that. Two little boys and then two big boys. And I, their mom, will always be a Boy Mom.
Embracing My Boy Mom Status
After pondering my fate as a Boy Mom (and maybe even lamenting it a little bit), I realized that I need to figure out how to make this whole Boy Mom thing work for me because it’s not going away. So here are 5 ways I’m coping, and in fact, loving every second of my wild and crazy boy.
1. Lean into the climbing:
Baby Bean (and someday Baby G), is going to climb, he’s going to crawl onto the couch and hop around and he’s going to find ways to launch his tiny body from the coffee table onto the ottoman. I say, lean in mamas! Look at how much joy he’s getting from this small act of independence, figure out how to make it safe (baby proofing foam, spotting him, moving breakable and sharp objects out of the toddler flight path), break out your video camera and laugh at his antics. He’ll love that he’s impressing you, you’ll love that he’s getting energy out on a cold winter’s day, and in the end, you can’t stop the mayhem, so you might as well embrace it!
2. Understand boy brains:
Boy brains and girl brains are not the same. One of the biggest things I’ve picked up on in recent (mainly scientific) parenting articles is that very young boys need to feel attachment more than girls. This means that little boys need to know that mom and dad are close by and need to be able to easily run to them for reassurance during active playtime. So while you may think you can more easily leave your oh-so-independent boys to their own devices, the opposite may actually be true. Boys are inherently sensitive and we as parents must acknowledge and affirm this for our sons. So grab a book on boy behaviors or mentalities, read an article, or just observe, but get to know your boy’s brain.
3. Some things are inherent:
My husband and I have never pushed trucks, trains, or construction machines, but somehow Baby Bean has learned to loooooove these items, and has books, puzzles, and toys devoted to each. Recently, we bought him a baby doll thinking it would help the transition to big-brotherhood. Other than yelling at the baby doll that he was too close to his other toys, Bean has pretty much ignored that doll. While I still believe in the value of nurture (see next point), nature has a strong hold over our children, and we must respect this. So I’ve learned about machines (I now know what a combine is), I point out passing trucks on the highway, and I even enjoy watching train movies.
4. Think outside the (stereotypical) box:
Pink is not for girls, and (IMO) “boys will be boys” should be banned from our vocabulary. Nature has definitely shown its influence when it comes to Bean’s likes and dislikes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t push stereotypes out of the way. Baby Bean loves pink! He has pink cups and pink jammies that he picked out himself. He loves singing and dancing just as much as he loves rough housing. As soon as I feel he is ready, I’ll bring him into the kitchen with me to help bake and cook. Boys are individuals, just as girls are, and while we are really good (usually…) about letting our little girls know they can do, or be anything, I think we sometimes forget the same is true for boys. Our sons can like purple and blue, sparkles and camo, play with dolls and trucks, be a CEO or a stay-at-home-dad and it’s all wonderful.
5. Recognize that boys love their mamas:
Boys can be aggressive, and active, they tend to act out in physical ways, even pushing away those they love most. They find farts and occasionally, other’s boo-boos, hilarious. They throw toys and yell loudly. But you know what? Boys love, love, LOVE their mamas. And when Baby Bean says “I hug mama” and snuggles into my chest with his tiny arms wrapped around my neck, I forget that being a Boy Mom scares the heck out of me. Instead, I realize that being a Boy Mom is simply the single best thing that has ever happened to me, farts, mayhem, and bugs included!
How do you handle being a Boy Mom? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of parenting boys?