I was recently invited to a baby shower where I was asked to give the expecting mom some advice on raising her first boy. I don’t have a lot of mommy years under my belt, so I wouldn’t call myself an expert at this gig, but having had 3 boys in 4 years, I realize I’m part of an exclusive “boy mom club,” and therefore have some wisdom to impart on the matter. With Mother’s Day approaching I thought I would give you the lowdown on the joys to expect when you’re expecting a boy.
I realize no 2 boys are the same. The ones in my house that share DNA could not be any more different from each other. No matter who your little man is you'll have to figure out your own rhythms of raising him. However, there are some common universals I've learned across the board from my 3 and from other moms of boys. So I'll try to unpack the important stuff here.
First off, I always hear moms saying they wish someone had told them sooner that when changing a boy's diaper, you always have to put his thing down. We moms have never been boys ourselves, so how would we know this? I remember times when my boys would pee clear into their armpits without managing to get anywhere near the bottom half of their body wet. I was convinced my firstborn had some intense perspiration issues--wasn't he too young for Old Spice? Put the Old Spice down and put his boy part down, too.
Also, boys come equipped with boy sounds. They come out of the womb knowing what trucks and trains and dinosaurs sound like. He'll also know how to incorporate fart noises and the word "poopy" into most any inopportune time--mealtimes, while meeting a new friend, or even during bedtime prayer. I think they wake up every morning with a personal quota to fill. You'll find yourself saying "no potty talk" 15,000 times a day, and he'll think he's the funniest person on the planet.
He'll play in the mud, turn anything into a weapon, climb things that are too high, and then jump off, just to make sure you have no fatal heart conditions.
But goodness, he'll know how to take over that very heart of yours. He'll flash grins at you and know just how to work his "look"--the one that's like magic on your mama heart. He'll ask you to rub his back and sing him songs and pray for him, and you'll realize you get to be the first most important woman in his life. He'll say he wants to marry you and tell you you're pretty and think you're a real life princess, and your heart will hardly be able to hold it all.
You'll sometimes get frustrated and wonder how you could possibly have been entrusted to raise a boy. You've never been one yourself. You couldn't possibly understand how his mind works or what makes him tick and the responsibility of raising a young man in this crazy world will feel daunting. But, you'll realize behind the great men that have gone before us--the doctors, the teachers, the presidents, the preachers, the engineers, the poets, the artists--behind many of those men were some fierce mamas who had some hard days and persevered anyways.
You'll teach him to hold open doors and to be kind and generous--you'll be the first woman he ever goes on a date with, and you get to be the one he perfects his manners on as he learns how to be a gentleman. You'll show him what chivalry, bravery and courage look like. And you'll hold him and wipe his tears away when being brave and courageous just aren't in the cards for that day.
You'll sometimes dream of who he'll be when he grows up, what mark he'll leave on this world, and it will make you proud. You'll realize the tireless, often unseen work you do everyday is actually so important because you are laying a foundation for future generations to come. You'll dream of that moment when he dances with you on his wedding day and the time he will call you for advice about his own baby because he'll remember how good you were at being his mama.
But for now, in the small moments, you'll hold him tight and rock him in the wee hours of the night while the rest of the world sleeps. You'll kiss his owies and be his biggest cheerleader when he smiles for the first time and rolls over and crawls and waddles out his first steps. You get to be his number one girl for the foreseeable future, the queen of his little boy heart.
Drink that into your soul and carve it onto the crevices of your heart,
because my goodness,
what an honorable place that is to be.