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Raising My Boys

Raising My Boys

"Mom, when you get married do you have to love your wife more than you love your Mom?"

"No, you love them the same,  just differently"

"I'm probably not going to get married then"

And just like that I was done.  For life.  Heart on fire.

My 3rd boy - he was 5 years old when he asked me this - the boy that when I was pregnant everyone would say, "awe, were you hoping for a girl?"

Side Note: Please don't say this to a woman who is having another baby of the same gender.  First, it's rude and second, it's insulting to the child she is carrying inside of her.  I remember feeling so defensive of my little man by the time I had him, constantly having to assure people that I was OKAY he was not a girl.

When my third son was about one I remember feeling totally outnumbered by these boys in my house. Outnumbered and overwhelmed not just from having ALL boys but also by the love that can only come from a boy when he looks at his Mom - I had this times 3.

I was also overwhelmed more often than not by the craziness, the wildness, the testosterone that accompanied all these boys literally from birth!

Why did they seem to grunt before using actual words?

How could every single object they picked up somehow be turned into a weapon?

Why did every great story they told end with someone dying?

Was it just MY boys or was it the case for most other Moms out there raising boys too?

How were my husband and I going to raise these boys to be well mannered and all around awesome humans without losing OUR minds in the process?

Because in the big picture, that's what we ARE doing.  We aren't just taking care of our boys - we're raising boys who will turn into young men who will turn into grown men.  Boys who will likely one day become Fathers and Husbands.

So not to put TOO much pressure on ourselves, but if we look at it that way than MAYBE we will look at how we are raising our boys differently.

Maybe if we look at it as raising future husbands, fathers and all around good people we would change our game plan.

My husband and I raise our boys in what some might call a more traditional way.  Boys and Girls are different for a reason. Equal? Yes.  The same? No.

Chivalry is alive and well in our home and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If I ever saw my son walk through a door without holding it open for a girl I may literally faint of despair.

If I ever saw my son watch an elderly person struggling to do something and they didn't offer a hand, I'm pretty sure they may LOSE THAT HAND at the hands of their loving Mom.

Do I expect my daughter to have similar behavior? Absolutely.  But if she ever goes on a date with a boy who doesn't hold the door open for her I hope that she turns and runs. 

I remember when I was growing up and my brother or I would complain to my Dad about a rule or punishment we thought was unfair we would say, "it's only because he's a boy" or "it's only because she's a girl."  He would say, "you're right,  it is, what's your point?"

Boys and Girls are inherently different - their genes say so from the beginning.

If you have a boy than you know that they can go from a ferocious super hero that wants zero help or affection from you one minute to a cuddly mamas boy laying in your lap the next.

It's confusing I think, being a boy I'm sure.  We raise them to be strong and tough, we put a football or hockey stick in their hand from the time they can walk.  Before they are even talking we are teaching them "how to be a man."

When they fall down and scrape their knee we tell them to toughen up and keep going.  When our girls fall down we scoop them up and tenderly hush them back to feeling better.

Whether we try or not, we DO treat them different from the beginning.  Maybe you are someone who prides yourself on NOT treating them any different than you would a girl.  Well that's great for you - for real.  But society is treating them different, guaranteed. 

And as they get older they learn that they will have to pay for what their predecessors did.  These men before them that decided women couldn't vote, or work, or have equal pay.  

These boys we are raising today are not the men who put these rules into place, we need to stop treating them as if they were. 

Girl Power.

Girl Boss.


Who Runs the World? Girls.

Where do the boys fit into all of this?  It shouldn't make them less important should it?

How do we raise our boys and help them navigate their way though childhood into adulthood without feeling like lifting women up means letting themselves be put down?

Of course it's possible to do both.  How?

We set an example.  There is no better way to teach behavior than to exhibit it yourself.  

"Ladies first", "No hitting girls", "Respect your Mother" - all rules in our house and all exhibited by their Father every day.

We have always had very clear lines with them (all of our kids really but the boys always tend to push on those lines a little bit more) about what is acceptable behavior and what is not.  

If they smell fear, they rebel, and quickly so always be steadfast in your decisions.

We teach them how to be grown men who can go to dinner with manners by not letting them run wild in a restaurant.
We teach them how to always offer someone a helping hand by doing it ourselves.
So often I will watch one of them do something amazing (even the smallest gesture) and think, "he got that from watching his Dad"
"Don't hit your sister" - like ever. No, not even if she hit you first. 
"Why do we let girls go first"? Because it's polite.  It shows her that you are thinking of her before yourself.  I'm sure you WERE thinking of your sister first, you just didn't realize it ;)
Boys are physical beings.  Probably a lot comes from how we treat them when they are little but probably a lot is just their genetic make up.  When they are angry or sad they need to be able to express it. Do you know what we found to be the best remedy?
Enter: the Boxing Bag
If they are angry or frusterated and talking it out just isn't cutting it, if they want to yell and hit something than let them.... "go hit the bag" send them that way a few times and soon enough they just start doing it on their own.
They learn to manage and release their feelings in a way that only involves themselves.  
I have watched them all go through the toddler years and I now have one in the elementary school years, one in the middle school years and one in the high school years.
As they get older they try to be tougher, they keep more to themselves.  Say nothing is bothering them when I know that there is.  Boys don't share with their group of friends the way girls do - they don't have that emotional support system.
That's why they need it from you - the support to share whatever they want and express every emotion under the rainbow at home.  They need to feel that home is a safe haven to do this because I'm pretty sure it's not what they're discussing in the locker room or while hanging out with their friends.
I know our boys don't tell us everything but I know that they sure tell me a lot more than I told my parents when I was their age.  
Like any of you Moms out there, I only want the best for them.  I realize that I have a limited amount of time with them in the realm of their life to achieve a very big goal.
Not all boys are the same, all of mine are different from one another.  And yet they are all the same in the "Boy" type of way.  They all react to rules and boundaries different from one another - you always have to adjust as you go, always keep re-assessing what you are doing and whether it's working.
For their future wives and future children, I hope I am raising them right for you.  
For any girl who thinks about treating them badly, I apologize in advance for the wrath you will feel from me.
For my not one, not two but three miracles that could only be heaven sent - being entrusted with the job of raising you into a fine young man is a task I don't take for granted.  I just need to look at you to know that so far, so good.
Hang in there Boy Moms - we can do it!!!!
Side Note: wine helps - a lot.













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  • Love this so much!! Love that you indicate that boys and girls are different, equal but different! What is so wrong with a girl being different than a boy and a boy different than a girl, that is the whole point afterall, thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice. :)

    Jackie on

  • I so loved this blog. So very very true
    Great job yet again. ?

    Joy on

  • Great article. You and Johnny are raising such handsome and well mannered young men!
    Elaine Jozefowicz on

  • Love your post. Your boys are going into fine men. Ava lucky to have 3 older brothers to look out for her.

    Cindy Grieve on

  • Well said! Love this. Spot on about our boys didnt make the rules but are living with the consequences of those who did. let recognize and celebrate the uniqueness of boys, instead of trying them to behave more like girls. ( signed the mother of 3 boys and 1 girl)

    Abbey on

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