I’ve always said God knew what he was doing when he gave me three boys. Which is hilariously ironic because I’m one of three sisters, and I’m as girly as a girly girl as it gets. I used to think, what would I even do with a boy? Why would God not give me a little butterfly -fairy- princess to smother with sparkles before eventually passing down my all my makeup hacks?
However, after watching many friends raise daughters through the years, my complaints have turned to praises. OMG. The five-year-old girls freaking out before school because they can’t find the right headband, or a 13-year-old girl going on a hunger strike because she couldn’t wear makeup. The endless drama and emotional fallout over literally nothing. They Lord is faithful in all his ways, and I’ve thanked him continually for surrounding me with little men folk.
Boy moms know the exact truth I speak. Our emotional and physical bandwidth consists of jumping on trampolines, building Legos, outdoor adventures, Marvel movie marathons, and occasionally sustaining bodily injury. I mean, you really aren’t a boy mom until you’ve taken multiple balls to the face, fallen deaf to all bodily noises and have mastered Light Saber warfare, right?
Yes it’s physically exhausting, especially past 40, but I’ll just say it… Boys are better. They might drain our energy by 10 a.m. and turn us grey by 30 after watching them jump, dive and knee-scrape through the day, but there’s a special bond that exists between moms and sons. They’re our little dudes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
However. I’ve recently discovered an unfortunate flip side to all this boy joy. Just like that, like the flick of a ninja blade, they become teenagers. In what seems like an instant, we morph from their number one baseball catcher, to some “mid” girl reminding them about homework. Just like that, the answer becomes “nah,” when asked to go to the dog park, or play a boardgame, or a quick game of pickup. Apparently now, they’d rather swallow fire than risk being seen with you in public, and slowly but surely, their usual spot next to you on the couch remains emptier.
Now I get some of this pain is just teenage stuff. Distance is normal, and it’s hard to compete with SnapChat and online gaming. The problem is, boys are activity driven. So, once you stop doing things with them, there’s not a lot of quality time left.
Moms of teenage girls might still endure eye rolls and emotional withdrawal, but from what I’ve noticed, they’ll usually still agree to get a mani or go shopping, etc. You’re both women, so you’ll always have things in common, and share the same language.
Teenage boy moms on the other hand, are suddenly lurched into world with almost no words at all, left to rely on body language, tonal interpretation, and a few necessary sentences such as “are you hungry?” “do you have socks?” and “what time is practice over?”
I read once that watching your son grow older is like experiencing longest breakup of your life. How painfully true. We’re suddenly reduced to ninth-grade versions of ourselves, when we were obsessed with that cool, jerky football player. We find ourselves staring at pictures of us together from Facebook time hope, daydreaming about when we were still his number one girl. We feel our hearts sink in sadness when he stops waving from the sidelines after a game. We find ourselves staring at them while transfixed on their phones. wishing we could rewind the years, all while sneaking in unwanted side hugs and arm squeezes for some shred of physical affection.
So boy moms, as we navigate this sad transition from best buddy to irrelevant chic, here’s my best tips (so far):
- Try and matriculate into their world. If they’re into fantasy football, learn the stats. If they’re into skateboarding, research some nearby skate parks to take them. If they’re into music, take him (and some friends if he won’t go with just you ;)) live music venues.
- There’s almost something they’ll do with you, even when they outwardly refuse. For us, it’s escape rooms. I slowly realized the reason my boys didn’t protest this activity is because there’s zero chance of being seen having fun with their mother (escape rooms are built within abandoned buildings). I’ll take it!
- Don’t give up on one-on-one time. They may never agree to playing horse in the driveway or going to the trampoline park together, but don’t give up on intentional quality time. For me, it’s driving practice. Guaranteed 30 minutes of alone time, even though it feels I could stroke out, at any given moment. Same thing goes for the movies. If their social calendars are clear, my teens rarely say no to an action movie and free popcorn. Never in my life did I think I’d show up on time for the previews, but now I soak up every single second of togetherness.
Sigh. I know it’s rough. But I still believe boys are the best, and I’m convinced after this tsunami-grade testosterone storm rides out, we’ll regain prime queen status in their hearts. Cheers to the men-raising journey, boy moms. I still think we’re the lucky ones. xo
#BoyMomForever #MyLittleMen #ILoveYouForever
For more on raising teens check out my post, “6 Truths to Remember, When Army-Crawling Through the Teen Years.”