My friend Hillary and I were talking about our different experiences as mothers. She has two girls and I have two boys. Very. Different. Experiences. She blogs over at The Cole Mines and so we thought it would be fun for each of us to share our experiences with you about what we expected with boys/girls and then what really happened.
I’ll be honest. My “expectations” about having children were almost nonexistent. Before mothering boys, my experience with children was limited to holding a baby. Once. For five minutes. So I was a pretty blank canvas. When I found out that we were having a boy, my first thought was terror: “Somebody has made a mistake! I can’t even catch a ball! How can I possibly be mother to a boy?” And then my second thought was what a blessing because boys always really love their mommies. A stereotype, but truth.
Mothering Boys Who Have Imaginations
I am so happy that my boys both have grand imaginations! We were very intentional about creating a space where young imaginations could develop and thrive. What has surprised me was that “boy imaginations” focus almost exclusively on good guys, bad guys, weapons, destruction, trapping, catapults, bombs, submarines, boats, armies, chases, tanks, swords, shields, fire, fire engines, police cars, warfare, or pee (had to mention that one). The developed imagination of a single boy can take any innocuous household item and turn it into a trap, a catapult, a bomb, a jail, an enclosure, a holding cell, an ambush, a lair, a cave or a hideout. And weapons? You name it and boys can turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. I guarantee you I could give my boys cotton balls and they could figure out how to turn them into weapons of mass destruction in no time flat. Didn’t expect that.
Mothering Boys Who Don’t Care About Clothes
When we found out we were pregnant with our second son, I was thrilled! I knew I wanted a second boy. But there was a very tiny moment when I was sad at the thought of not getting to shop for RuffleButts. I wanted RuffleButts. Pink, fluffy RuffleButts. But then I quickly remembered that dressing boys is so much easier than dressing girls. Boys are easy: shorts (or pants) and shirts. That’s it. They don’t really care. And by the time they do care, they pick out their clothes and get dressed on their own. When you’re shopping for boys you can’t miss with camo or anything with a lot of pockets. They are collectors. Of lots of things. Things that must be stored in pockets.
Ok, on second thought forget everything I just said about clothes. Nudity is the thing. Boys enjoy being nude. A lot. Didn’t expect that.
Mothering Boys Who Eat
I knew to expect that the boys would eat a lot. I’ve heard stories. What I didn’t know how was early they would start eating a lot. I mean, a lot. I thought I had until the teenage years before I needed to concern myself with how much they ate. Many days they each eat more than I do. When I shop for say, pork chops, I buy 5. Everyone has one, but my older son gets two. And sometimes the younger one muscles in on it. Pork chops. He’s seven and the little one is four. I’m starting a savings account for groceries during the teen years. Like, now. Didn’t expect that so soon.
Mothering Loving Boys
I expected that little boys would love their mothers in a really special way. But what I didn’t expect was how willing they would be to talk about how much they love me and how happy they are to snuggle and cuddle. When he was three, my oldest asked me to marry him! I’m amazed at how open and vulnerable these loving little boys are. My older son is much more expressive with his emotions. My younger son tries so desperately to hide his emotions and never wants to talk about them. But he completely wears his heart on his sleeve. I can read everything on his face. I expected more toughness more emotional reserve. But they both have the most vulnerable and tender of hearts. Which makes me mushy. Didn’t expect that.
Mothering Courageous Boys
I knew boys would play rough and tumble. I knew they would love pretending to be courageous heroes. I expected the blood, scrapes, and bruises that come along with all the rough and tumble. (We haven’t had broken bones yet…but I won’t be surprised if they come).
But my boys are also truly deeply courageous, not just play courageous. My older son used to be afraid of heights and we have an upstairs hall that is open on both sides to the family room below. When he was two, I silently watched from below as he held his breath and slowly, slowly inched his way across the open part of that hall to conquer his fear. It really took my breath away to witness such courage when he was only two. I’ve been privileged to witness many such moments for both boys since then. Didn’t expect that.
Mothering Boys’ Who Play
I expected boys to be all into sports. And many are, just not mine. They enjoy playing sports, but it’s not “their thing.” So what happened instead? I read a definition of boy once: “Boy: n. A noise with dirt on it.” Yup. That’s pretty accurate. I feel like the Grinch sometimes:
They rush for their toys! And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! – from The Grinch Who Stole Christman, Dr. Seuss
There are things that boys consider fun that I will just never see the fun in. And they all involve noise of some sort: smashing, bashing, screaming, pulling, pushing, banging, knocking, crashing, jumping, hurling, or catapulting (a family favorite). It’s all fun to them. It’s all fun that is, right up until the moment that somebody gets smashed, bashed, pulled, pushed, banged, knocked, crashed, jumped on, hurled, or catapulted (again, a family favorite). The noises all sound pretty much the same to me – sometimes I can’t tell if they are playing happily or trying to kill one another. But I’ve gotten used to it. Didn’t expect that.
Mothering Boys Could Not Fill My Heart with Love and Joy Anymore Than It Does
So after my experiences to date, I have to conclude that a lot of this is nature and not nurture. Hardware, not software, if you will. But I’ve also concluded that the Universe knew exactly the right choice to make for me. Boys are the perfect fit for me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Didn’t expect that.
I’m glad you took a minute to read about my experiences with boys; now I bet you’d enjoy hopping over to The Cole Mines where Hillary blogs about raising a family, great recipes, health and wellness, and marriage. Check out her great post Raising Girls is Not What I Dreamed Of. The Cole Mines is one of my favorite blogs and Hillary has a wonderful insight into so many thing; she has a great sense of humor and a wonderfully fun way of looking at life!