This post is a bit of a departure for us here but while I’m knee deep in sunscreen cheat sheets I wanted to share something I journaled this past week. As you all may know, I have two boys, ages 10 and 6. They are, quite simply the most wonderful loving frustrating awakening toughest elements of my life and they are both somewhat of a surprise. I was an only child, a girl and her mom, best friends until the end. So naturally, when I was ready to have my own children I assumed quite confidently that I’d have a girl. In fact, my first pregnancy was spent assuming I was having a girl. Thanks radiology department for that lovely error. But that is another funny story for another day.
This post is my reflection recently on how much having boys has changed me, for the better. Once assuming that I’d have an easy little girl to take care of where my biggest problem would be how many My Little Pony toys is too much My Little Pony toys. I’m not suggesting that raising girls is not tough. All kids are a hard demanding job for us parents. But my whimsical idea of a quiet little girl coloring was violently deployed into “ha ha NOPE” land.
7 Things Having Boys Has Taught Me
- Boys humble you. Gone are the ideas of cute clothes and dresses and dolls and now here we are covered in mud and catching a frog. Never did I think I’d be the mom in the woods helping to build a fort, throwing sticks into the creek or having to pick rocks out of my dryer. Parenting any child is not a glamorous job. But I certainly appreciate the attitude adjustment it has given me. I try to pull myself together each day but there are days where “good enough” is good enough. I don’t just mean in appearance. Sometimes everything just has to be good enough. (Let’s not talk about how much laundry I need to fold today).
- They teach you how messy life can be. I always loved messy art projects when I was younger but this kind of mess is a whole new category of mess. Some of the messes are more fun that I ever imagined. Sandboxes, mud puddles, bugs, frogs and turtles are a highlight as they grow up. Smelly socks, mountains of dirty knee pants, toe nails in strange places, fights over computer games, are all things I could live without, but not so sure I’d ever wish it away. Life mess is good mess. Some messes cannot be avoided and some can. Either way, you clean it up and start again the next day.
- Boys teach you what true love is. This is probably true of all kids but for me, they have taught me something really truly important. My relationships with the male species hasn’t always been truly fantastic. But these two boys…. I never knew how much someone could love you until I had them. They will be my sons forever and no matter how old they get or how far they go in life, they will always love their mom. And I would die 1 million brutal deaths for them if I had to. I love them. I only know what love really is because of them. I will forever be grateful to them for teaching me that.
- Boys teach you to see the world in a new way. Raising a boy is a lot of pressure. I feel obligated to teach them important things about life so that they grow up to be kind, confident, responsible men. The kind of men that want to change the world for the better, not complain about how much the world sucks. I want them to respect women. I want them to respect humans. I want them to respect themselves. I also want them to respect me. Having boys has changed how I view the world and our country. I often wonder how many boys that grew into men lacked the kindness of a mother or those irreplaceable childhood joys like catching lightening bugs in the summer or building a snow fort. I cherish my own life more because of them and I worry for the world we live in for the same reason.
- Boys teach you how to be true to yourself. I want my boys to know that their mother is strong and can handle anything. I want them to know I’m also human and make mistakes. I want them to know that I am an imperfect being and that is perfectly ok for me to be that way. And I want them to know it’s ok for them to not be perfect too. I try to teach them that at every opportunity.
- Boys teach you how important honesty is. As my boys get older I find it more and more critical to talk to them about honesty. I promised my 10 year old I would never lie to him. He just recently asked me if Santa was real. I told him the truth. Since then our relationship has grown and he trusts that I will not manipulate him or give him “the kid answer”. My hope is that one day this will pay off in tremendous returns.
- Boys teach you how not to use the bathroom. Seriously. I never knew just how much of someone else’s waste material I would have to continue to clean up past diapering age. Forget the “poop cave painting” one of my kids used to do (that was incredible, let me tell ya), but for real… the boys bathroom looks like an insane asylum. Daily.
My kids challenge me every day. In good ways and uncomfortable ways… and as I sit here typing while my youngest is on the couch with yet another viral illness he picked up at school, I find myself being grateful that I get to be the one he barks demands at for ice pops and hugs when he is sick. They teach me something about myself every day. No barbies in this house, but more love, Pokemon cards and wonderful memories than I can ever count. Now if I could just get through the teenage years with this much positivity I might have a fighting chance.