I used to think to myself, if I ever get married and have kids, I want to have boys so I can raise some good ones in this world. I just read that back to myself and thought, wow, that was a really arrogant thought, believing that me of all people could control how my kids turn out. But, when I thought it then, back when I was a teenager, or when I thought it when Kenny and I first got married, or even when I think it today, it is not in an arrogant way like it sounds. Truth is, re my previous post, PSA, I grew up with a lot of boys in the neighborhood, on the school bus, at school, who picked on me. I was shy, awkward, and was never into girly things. I was an “easy target” and I never wanted to have a daughter who felt that way and I really never want to see any girl feel that way. I knew some nice boys in school, but they were few and far between. So, my dream became to raise boys who would grow up to be kind, loving, gentle, compassionate men.
Fast forward a few years when we welcomed our first baby, a boy, to our family. Yes, I had this “dream,” but I knew nothing about boys. I have 1 sister. 1 sister and me. I had all these preconceived notions about boys, they shouldn’t cry (ask my husband, he will tell you about that one), they are wild, loud, rambunctious, etc, etc, etc! Fast forward 23 months when we welcomed our second baby boy, who I also wanted to be a boy so his big brother could have a built-in best friend(don’t ask me how that is going-PLEASE!). Fast forward another 23 months when we had our third baby boy(rewind a few to the ultrasound when the tech told us it was a boy, and I asked her to show me because I couldn’t believe that I would be the mom of three boys under 4). God has a sense of humor. It’s like I could hear him chuckling at certain times in my boy mom life saying, “you wanted boys, here ya go!”
Challenge accepted? Yeah, I guess so. I mean, by the time the third came around, I felt like a pretty seasoned boy mom, and like I wasn’t getting peed on anymore, so that was good. As a mom, who grew up with a nervous mom, I have had to work hard at not being a nervous person. I trained my boys to stay close, I had a pretty solid routine with them, and I tried to keep them busy and active. I loved our daily routine actually and some days I miss it like crazy, like the simplicity of it. I also really miss the simple control I had over the days, like how everything could be fixed with a hug and a kiss, or I could put on Imagination Movers or Curious George while I made dinner or snuggling up with them all and reading stories, or loading them into the stroller or wagon and the Bjorn for a nice long walk and playground time, and I was their whole world and they were mine…
When you are a boy mom, there is a lot of saying, “boys will be boys.” When you think about it, it really is a funny saying, like what does that even mean? I always thought it to mean rowdy, rambunctious, loud, adventurous, messy, danger and thrill seeking, etc. I thought boys would be low drama and little talking. In fact, what I’ve come to realize over the years, is that, I don’t like the saying, “boys will be boys.” I think it’s a cop-out, an excuse for certain behaviors that we expect boys to have. I don’t know about you, but I never want to give my boys an excuse for bad behavior. I never want to blame my boys gender for bad behavior. I never want to say something like, well he’s a boy so I expect him to behave that way.
So what is a mama to do in a testosterone dominated house? Listen, some days I’m just trying to survive. It’s getting harder. Life is harder. Remember when I just said I miss when I was their whole world and they were mine? Now their friends are their whole world. There are so many influences outside of our home driving our kids. It’s hard. But I breathe and I try to hop off the crazy train (once I realize I’m on it and spinning out of control). A lot of days it feels like these humans that came out of my body hate me. “You’re too strict, you never let me do anything…” Blah, blah, blah. And then I start second guessing myself. But then, God shows me, His protection that He provided in those moments of parental perseverance and the breathing comes easier and I thank Him. But it is so truly hard trying to raise my boys to be different, when right now, all they really want is to be the same as their peers. I think of summer time, just weeks away, I think of the endless friend time, and my doom and gloom brain thinks about the trouble I got into as a teenager, with my friends. I try to think of ways to keep them grounded in this crazy world, to teach them that the world does not revolve around them, but at the same time, the world is truly at their fingertips when they choose well. Ugh, I have too many thoughts that I am rambling right now.
All of that said, and in all of my ramblings and in the whole paragraph and a half and a list of 20 things that I just deleted, in all of the crazy that my day turned into, I am thinking about what I expect of my boys. I expect them to be good human beings. I expect them to be respectful. I expect them to be kind. I expect them to work hard. I expect them to have good character and act honorably. Yeah, I expect that they will mess up and make mistakes, maybe even some big ones. I will never expect less and I will never look at them and say, “boys will be boys,” and excuse destructive, disrespectful, or dangerous behavior. I expect a lot from them because they are capable and because I love them so fiercely.