I’m the oldest of three girls, and I always just assumed I’d have girls of my own. I thought moms of boys were kind of weird. Why did they all wear ball caps and call people “Buddy”? Perhaps it had something to do with the constant sporting events and having to put up with fart jokes. Well, two beautiful boys later, I am now, undeniably, a mother of boys. I am happy to report that I’ve never donned a ball cap, nor adopted “Buddy” as my go-to pet name. So far the sports events have been minimal, and I put a quick end to the fart jokes. In fact, almost everything about raising boys has been a pleasant surprise.
I love being a mother of boys. I do not, however, always love the conversations I have about being a mama to tiny gentlemen. Below are five things mothers of boys grow weary of hearing. Most of these statements are made as a form of small talk, and I’m almost certain that well meaning folks are just looking for something to chat about, but boy oh boy, would I rather talk about something else.
I’m always surprised that people feel comfortable asking this very personal question. Having another child is a big decision, and it’s extremely silly to have a baby if you’ll only be happy with one gender. Last time I checked, you’ve got a 50/50 chance. The thing that makes me most angry about this question is when it’s asked in front of my boys. How is it supposed to make them feel? I don’t ever want them to feel as though I wished they were different. Honestly, I wanted a girl the second time around and tried all the old wives tales to get one, but I’ve since realized what a silly desire that was, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful baby boy for all the girls in the world.
2. Boys will be boys.
This phrase is often evoked to explain or excuse unacceptable behavior. I’ve never heard someone say “boys will boys” after my son holds the door open for them. Rude and disrespectful behavior is not a biological imperative. Not only is it not allowed, but I would never want someone to assume my son will misbehave simply because he is a boy.
If you have said one or more of these things to a mother of boys, take solace in the fact that it’s likely not the first or last time we will hear it.
3. He’s going to be a heartbreaker.
I sure hope not. I hope I teach him to be kind and respectful to women, especially those with whom he chooses to be romantic. I know this is supposed to be a compliment on his good looks, but it rubs me the wrong way. Please just say he is handsome, or better yet, compliment his character. I’d rather not perpetuate the ridiculous notion that looks are of paramount importance and worse still, that women can’t help but fall at the feet of an attractive man.
4. You’ve sure got your hands full.
Gee, thanks for noticing. Want to babysit? But really, the funniest thing to me about this phrase is that I often hear it when I simply tell someone I have two boys, and they’ve never even met them. I’ve also heard it when both of my boys are behaving themselves. It seems to be a sort of “how about that weather” kind of comment, a go-to piece of small talk for any mom wrangling more than one little man. Yes, having two children of any gender is sure to keep you busy. My hands are often full, but so is my heart.
5. You have a daughter for life and a son until they get a wife.
There is so much wrong with this sentiment, which many of us mothers of boys have heard in one form or another. First of all, it is not true. Men do tend to stray further from the nest, but that does not make them less of a son or you less of a mother. And hopefully, you have an extremely different relationship with your son than the one they will have with their wife. No wonder so many women struggle to get along with their mother-in-laws! Instead of thinking of our son’s wives as stealing our little boys, why don’t we think of them as the daughters we never got to have? I certainly hope that I will always have a place of importance in my son’s lives, so unless you are clairvoyant, please keep hurtful predictions to yourself.
If you have said one or more of these things to a mother of boys, take solace in the fact that it’s likely not the first or last time we will hear it. But please, in the future, if you’re stumped on what to talk about, stick to the weather.