I remember as a little girl thinking that moms who only had boys were scary.
I'm not sure if it was because they always looked worn out, or if they just didn't know how to relate to me. Anyway, growing up I never wished or imagined having all boys. My first pregnancy was with twins and I daydreamed about how perfect it would be if it were one of each. A few weeks later, two tiny little boys arrived two months prematurely and I was just thankful they were breathing. Three years later our "wouldn't it be funny if we got pregnant naturally" baby came along, and my sweet, chubby-cheeked baby girl I had imagined turned out to be a reddish-haired baby boy with colic.
The twins are now ten. No. 3 is seven and still has colic. And the grief of knowing I'll never have a little girl has been replaced with the occasional nightmare that my husband's vasectomy didn't work and I'm giving birth to a baby male primate. I've now accepted that this was meant to be. And although it's sometimes exhausting, I love being a mom to boys. It's definitely been a learning experience, and can feel lonely at times. You are outnumbered. You won't always understand them, nor will they understand you. And as much as you try not to, you will cater to them—too much. Although these are realities that all moms of boys will face, there are a few "tricks of the trade" that I love sharing with fellow moms of boys.
1. Let them climb.
Boys will use furniture, walls, and whatever else they can find to turn it into a game. It's just what boys do. I vividly remember the time when I looked over to see one of the twins using the curtain like a rope to climb up to the window. He couldn't have been much older than a year, and I was so darn tired of trying to keep them corralled and safe that I made a conscious choice to just give up. You'll exhaust yourself trying to fight it. Opt for distressed furniture, and save the expensive stuff for after they leave for college.
2. Cut their hair yourself.
This tip came from a neighbor, years ago. She told me to buy some clippers and start cutting their hair myself, so I did. The kits actually come with instructions, and it's easy once you have some practice. Not only is it way more convenient, it saves a ton of money. Then when your husband complains about your $150 trip to the salon, you'll have an instant comeback he cannot argue with.
3. Serve it on a stick.
Meat, fruit, even Brussels sprouts—if you want a boy to eat more or try something new, put it on a stick, sit back, and watch the magic unfold before you. I'm guessing that this has something to do with their primal instincts. Bet you didn't realize you were raising a baby caveman, did you?
Here's a link to one of our favorite "meal on a stick" recipes, BBQ Beef Teriyaki Skewers.
4. Physical Play = Love
There's a lot I know I don't do right when it comes to parenting, but one thing I will admit to doing well is playing with my boys. And I don't mean board games and peek-a-boo. I'm talking about good old-fashioned on the floor roughhousing, chasing, tickling, and tackling. I could never be in a reality show, because viewers would insist I was bat shit crazy with all the weird games we play. I once spun one of the boys right into the coffee table, which resulted in stitches. (OK, so maybe not one of my prouder moments.) But by nature, boys are active creatures and feel loved via physical touch, and the rougher the better. They also love seeing their moms be silly. So embrace your inner Human Horsey, Outside Linebacker, or Rocket Ship! You will be surprised at how much fun it can be.
5. Shoes: They're that important.
I've saved this for last, because it's not really a hack but definitely worth a mention. After boy No. 3 arrived, I remember promising to myself that no matter what, they would always wear good shoes. This stemmed from my single years living in Chicago, when my roommates and I agreed that when it comes to dating ... you first look at a guy's shoes. It reveals a lot. One of my roommates actually canceled a date with a guy after he showed up wearing docksiders. (Obviously, this was before the big Sperry comeback.)
Walking out of Footlocker having dropped $250 on shoes you know they will outgrow in six months would leave any right-minded person feeling dizzy and nauseous. So the next time you feel guilty, just watch this hilarious video about the man who finally realized why he's repelled women his entire life.
Being a mom to multiple boys is tough and loud, and can be physically tolling. But I'll never forget something my dad told me after I found out No. 3 was a boy and I was feeling sorry for myself. He said, "Honey, boys love their moms. Always. It's just the way it is." It turns out he was right.
Gosh, aren't we moms of boys lucky?
Enjoy the ride.
Written by Jill Carroll, marketing manager of West Michigan Woman, who resides in Cannonsburg with her husband, George; sons Reed, Owen, and Luke; and dog, Toby (yes, he's a boy, too).