Booger-encrusted fingers, poop jokes, torn jeans, and constant lessons on where exactly to aim while peeing. It’s not exactly the old nursery rhyme about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, but around here . . . my boys are made of not much that seems delicate. But goodness, raising my boys has taught me some life lessons I never knew I needed.
I used to think that gender differences in children were a lot of nurture and not so much nature. However, after living my reality for the past six years, I have some authority to say that these stereotypes exist for a reason. Sure there are girls who are wild, brave, rough-and-tumble. And I know lots boys who are quiet, put together, more likely to cuddle a stuffed animal or doll than tape it to a dump truck and send it careening down the stairs on a mission of destruction. I also know there are children who are a beautiful balance of both of the stereotypes . . . I just am not a mom that ended up with children like that.
Now, before my social-worky friends get their undies in a bundle, I will have you know that we check out just as many princess books from the library as we do superhero ones. And we use the pink crayons just as often as the blue ones. However, there are certain preferences, strengths, qualities, and characteristics that through the case study of my current chaos, I believe to be inherent to these boys I’m raising.
My boys are spirited
My boys are wild, energetic, aggressive, and rambunctious. When given the freedom to play in an undirected environment, there will almost certainly be fighting, shooting (Nerf darts, laser tag lasers, imaginary rocket launchers), and there is always a competition of some sort or another that usually involves some shouting.
My boys are resourceful
Did you think colored pencils and legos were for building towers and creating art? Ha, think again. In our home, they are weapons. Laser shooters, guns, swords, eye-pokers, you name it. That’s right, my boys can repurpose anything if they have the right competition, challenge, or conflict.
My boys are problem solvers
Disputes are handled though quick side jabs and shoves, not because that is what is encouraged or modeled, but because this is the current go-to conflict-resolution method.
My boys are high-achievers
Everything in life is a competition for my boys. In all my years, it has never occurred to me that I might exert my superior dominance over someone by comparing the size of our poops. But alas, this just so happens to be how our household of testosterone runs.
My boys are accountable
Raising my boys is listening to endless arguments over who farted, not because no one will fess up, but because they all want the credit.
My boys are athletic
These athletic boys of mine turn every surface in our home into some sort of trampoline, climbing wall or jungle gym.
My boys are a lot of things; they’re beautiful, messy, boyish works-in-progress. They’re learning a little each day, but also, they’re teaching me so many things about myself.
I am resilient
Raising boys means no longer flinching when you hear a loud crash followed by screaming. And always having band-aids on hand.
I am the queen of BOGO pants deals
Raising boys means buying all the pants because it takes about three wears before they get holes in the knees. Sure, I could patch the pants, but let’s be real. I don’t have time for that.
I am perceptive and insightful
Raising boys means hearing crickets when you ask about their day, all the while overhearing the detailed stories girls in the school pick up line share with their mothers. Rather than reveling in the retelling of the day’s events, I learn about their innermost thoughts through a series of grunts, shrugs, “I forgots”, and the occasional sigh.
I am a strategist
Raising boys means that there is never a still moment. No hour-long coloring sessions or movie marathons over here. If I need to focus on anything, I just sit them all down at once and ask about their days. It gives me a rare moment of silence.
I am their biggest fan, encourager, advocate, advisor, and example
Raising boys means I have the responsibility of raising emotionally intelligent, compassionate, empathetic men. Because now, more than ever, our world could use a few more good men. So, I model the behavior I want to see in them. I try to be the kind of adult, parent, and friend I hope they will become. I am honest with them about life and love, courage and conviction. I hold them accountable and redirect with grace, I help them apologize and am always quick to forgive.
I love them unconditionally, and encourage them to feel their feelings and express themselves . . . even when they gross me out.
This is what raising my boys is all about.
Sure, I might miss out on frilly bows and “Mommy and me” manicures, but raising boys gave me a whole new perspective on life. Raising my boys gave me the sort of strength that only comes from watching your two-year-old climb to the top of a spider pyramid on the playground, and finding yourself praying he doesn’t actually jump and get hurt, because you want him to be brave enough to do it again tomorrow. And I am forever grateful.
For more about life with multiple boys, check out this post.