Updated: Jan 16, 2019
After nearly 9 years of raising boys, I think I have built credibility to write this post. Two boys, totaling over 3,285 days of on-the-job training. Every single day of unexplained actions, boogers, mud stains, broken RC cars, eating of boogers, horse playing, knee scrapes, farts, poop, sounds of farts...you name it, I've lived it (except for broken bones, knock on wood). Here are my top 5 practices to surviving life as a Boy Mom.
First off, let me introduce you to my offspring who build my mom street cred.
Anthony aka TJ. My firstborn. My game changer. My gentleman. My fearless, bold child. There is no sport/hobby/activity this kid CAN'T do or learn on a whim. It's impressive and I don't know how he's my child sometimes. This kid can do two magical things. He can fix ANYTHING. Combined with the ability to BREAK anything, and everything. When TJ was 3, he discovered a Phillips screw driver. I came into his room to find ALL of his electric toys dismantled with little screws EVERYWHERE.
He is brilliant and can find every possible loophole. He will uncover your weakness and can lift you up beautifully, all at the same time. This guy, too, can find any way to make your head explode. You know that sibling that presses your buttons? This guy can do this ON REPEAT, all day long.
Austin Sage, my shy guy. A six year old ball of extreme energy. This little dude radiates smiles ALL.DAY.LONG. He loves sharing the kitchen with me and feels his charm entitles him to 34 snacks a day. Don't let the smiles fool you. His super sensitive ways will never pass up an intense on all fours whine-session to destroy the morning. He is a professional fight starter. This boy can create a wrestle/fist fight with any wind of opportunity.
BAND-AID®️ will stay in business because of this dude. Every possible "ouch" is a valid reason to waste a BAND-AID®️ in his eyes. No matter what threat I send this dude, he eats his boogers 😞 (yes, I know, DISGUSTING).
Now, let's get into it. Note: There is no wrong or right way to survive boy mom life. These are my opinions and every mom is entitled to them.
#1 - ACCEPT THE "D" WORD and FIND HUMOR
I come from a huge family and have all sorts of experiences with boy and girl differences. With three sisters, two brothers and a bazillion cousins, I have found one consistent word that describe the difference between boys and girls...
Case in point. Pictured here is a shoe lining that Austin thought it would be wise to personalize. Pretty disgusting huh? There's plenty where that comes from.
In the beginning, the dirt, boogers, farts, grossness was difficult to accept. My mom used to engrain in our minds how important it was to keep our home immaculate and organized on a daily basis.
Cleaning feels like a daily sport in my house. Nothing stays put, clean or in its place. If I was paid a dollar for every time I've screamed "Why would you do that?!!!" I'd be a billionaire. I mean, TJ chose his first pet (the carnival fish prize doesn't count) to be a bearded dragon!
9 years later, there are still many dirty habits that I don't understand, but found the one that eases all the gross agony.
Although we are obligated as their parents to guide, teach and coach our little humans...sometimes we really need to just STOP, LAUGH, and ENJOY THE MOMENT...clean or dirty. Once you accept the DIRT and find ways to manage around this, you'll find the joy in raising dirty boys.
#2 - DAILY DESTRUCTION AND PAIN. TELL YOURSELF, IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY.
Since the day my sons could walk, I have found one thing absolutely consistent in my life: Someone is always hurt, whining or on the verge of destruction.
In the moment, these situations can be pretty darn stressful. The reality is, destruction and pain is to be expected with boys. They almost live, thrive and seek for it on the daily. The million dollar question is, how do we overcome and accept this new way of life?
Some may disagree with my suggestions, but here's how I've managed for 9 years:
Be prepared for the tears.
Let them do their thing. This is how they have fun.
Stop the battle if it's getting too intense.
Buy them swim noodles and let them have at it.
Be there to support them when they need it, but don't ninja their way every time disaster strikes. They have to learn their way and how to cope without you.
Below is an image by image first-hand example of pain I get to manage. What was supposed to be a beautiful sunset experience at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point became my first urgent care experience.
#3 - GIVE LOVE AND PRACTICE A WHOLE LOTTA PATIENCE
Give love. Choose love. Spread love. Be extraordinarily patient.
I have decor all over my house preaching the need to LOVE. I dress my home with these signs to remind me of the solution to any challenge. Although my boys can bring me complete stress, triggers to all my white hair and occasional yelling...it's important to stop and sprinkle love and build that wall of patience. Regardless of what masculine expectation the world has set for our boys, find any opportunity to infuse love to your parenting techniques.
What are ways to convey love?
Acknowledge that you're there to listen
Fresh Cut Sweet Watermelon
Cave in and let them have that gross pet
Simply spend time with them
Parenting takes a huge deal of love and patience. Trust me, it's not easy. I try and start my day with appreciation and gratitude. In turn, you learn to appreciate even the smallest things that come your way.
I also try to make sure my patience cup is filled up every day. That all disappears quickly when we're rushing to school and Austin wants to put on his own shoes on. This is a process that takes 10 minutes thanks to his shoe lace OCD.
As Psychology Today writes, Impatience is a Happiness Killer.
As Louis Prima sings, "Keep on smiling, and the world will smile with you."
#4 - FIND YOUR JAM, AND DO IT. (minus the guilt)
With two boys, you'll find it very easy to burn out on focusing all your extra time and energy doing the things they love.
As a working mother, full-time job, 2 hour a day commute, I tend to build this invisible bank of guilt. Mom shame is what I call it. Every working day, a heap of regret highlights the amount of time that I do not spend with the boys. It's silly, I know. But this is real. Please comment if you can relate, I'm incredibly curious to know if this is a real thing.
Then on the weekends, I overcompensate, overstimulate and over give for the lost time. Park visits, lake travels, ice cream treats, adventure missions, and biking expeditions fill up our weekends.
Where does this leave self-care for you? Right there, below the ground.
My point? After 9 tiring years, I've finally learned the value in recognizing that I must care for myself in order to be successful at caring for others. This has SERIOUSLY become my new motto and I'm sad that it's taken me so long to realize this.
So, whether it's an obsession of capturing sunset photography or my new-found gardening appreciation, I MAKE the time to do it. These activities keep my pulse beating and my heart and mind happy.
The truth is, at the end of the day, my husband and boys benefit from my happiness.
Whatever it is that fulfills you and makes you smile (outside of your kids and husband/partner), DO IT. Find your happiness. Go to that yoga sculpting class. Make time for that wine and paint night. YOU deserve it.
#5 - FARTS AND POOP. IT'S A THING. ACCEPT IT.
Somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3 comes the endless poop and fart joke phase. Every boy mom can relate, trust me. If this isn't happening in your home, it will.
This phase comprises of every possible joke, thought, action and expression that relate to farting and pooping.
Teach them that it's inappropriate outside of your own home. They will laugh and tell you, "Mom, what? Everyone farts." So much truth.
With only nine years of experience, I'm unsure when this phase will end. Bonus. If you have a brother like mine, who has 3 boys, he may introduce the poop video to your kids. 6,128,517 views!!!??? But why?
All I know is that as disgusting as "did you poop?", "look at that poop face" or "ewwww, TJ farted!" as long as it's happening in our own home and not at Auntie Brenda's birthday dinner table- laugh with them. Make jokes. Be weird with them. You'll be surprised how much joy and laughter will bring into your home by joining into their escapades. Smiles will radiate across everyone's faces.
These are the memories that will stay with them forever.
Now go...continue being a kick ass mom (or dad).
Down that coffee or whatever brings you joy. Savor in the awesomeness of Boy Mom Life.
Your fellow Boy Mom friend