When you are the mother of all boys, everyone has a comment. For all the folks that tell me I am a saint, thank you and I concur. I rock. JUST LIKE ALL MOTHERS.
People pity us, pray for us and generally perpetuate all the myths that come with parenting boys.
It’s time we debunked those myths.
Myth: Boys are easier.
Truth: Goldfish are easy. Children? Not so much. Is your teenage boy likely to have a meltdown about a shirt that is not the exact right shade of aqua? No. But they have their own unique set of challenges that are just as vexing as those of the opposite sex. All of my boys have had hormonal outbursts and slammed some doors. Let me tell you, once the testosterone sets in, it is tough to curb their inclination to solve every problem through some type of gladiator competition right in the middle of the family room. Or Target. Or wherever they may be.
Myth: Regret over not having a girl
Truth: Let’s be clear, I was not trying to have any kind of baby but a healthy one. Yes, I am a girl, but I was petrified of actually birthing a girl. The thought of brushing out someone’s hair every morning gave me the hives, and anything involving a braid would require slow breathing into a paper bag. I have zero pangs for a girl, even on Easter when they are all dressed up in beautiful frilly dresses. OK, maybe a little on Easter, but then I look at their perfect hair knowing what it took to get there and snap out of it.
Myth: Boys are rough and tough.
Truth: I have seen each of my boys cry from disappointment, frustration or just plain sadness, and I have never discouraged it. Showing emotion is a healthy release for everyone. I have also killed my fair share of bugs because my boys were totally skeeved out and ran from the room. So, who is looking pretty fierce right now? Oh, right, me. I look at it as my job to soften the edges of my sons when necessary and encourage empathy—even if it is misplaced empathy for the stinkbug that doesn’t deserve to die a slow death in our bathroom.
Myth: Strong silent type
Truth: There are days when I yearn for a John Waynesque son, short on words and big on action. Unfortunately, there is not one living under my roof. Somewhere along the line, these boys got a word quota and they are sticking to it. In order to get the prime nuggets about their day and who is a current Snap Chat streak, you might have to put up with a lot of Youtube video viewing and sports trivia, but it is worth it.
Myth: Boys are low maintenance and don’t care how they look.
Truth: There is a carefully crafted layering process consisting of body wash, deodorant and spray that completely contradicts this myth. If I owned stock in Old Spice or Axe, college would be paid for three times over. Yes, sweat and other unidentifiable odors make me feel like my life is one big Febreze commercial. However, I take comfort in the fact that they are at least trying to swap out one overwhelming smell for an equally strong but fresher one.
I could go on and on. Maybe the parents of all girls suffer the same fate what with people lamenting the teen years and wedding costs, but I honestly couldn’t say.
All I know for sure is the reality of raising children is a labor of love.
And that’s a fact.