What I'm Learning as a Mother Raising a Boy
by Vanessa Palencia
Boys just wanna have fun, too. They just do it a little bit differently than girls (for the most part). I always knew that, but somehow I thought that if I raised my son just the right way, I could train him to be more like me: calm and studious. I was nowhere near prepared for all of the nerf gun fights, lightsaber duels, and bug-catching days that were to come. These are a few things I have learned along the way about what it’s like raising a boy, and if you’re a mother with a son, I’m sure a few of these will tickle you pink.
Getting ready in the morning has never been easier. When it comes to dressing him, all you need is a shirt, some pants, and running shoes. No fussing with braids, fumbling with tights, or lacing up complicated ballet shoes.
Christmas isn’t what you’d thought it would be. You’ll find you’re more excited about building gingerbread houses and baking Santa’s cookies than he is. He’s just waiting for you to finish them so that he can show them off to other people before he eats them.
Park visits require more energy than you’d think. I thought that going to the park meant he would play quietly by himself in the sand while I read a book. But boys (it seems) need more adventure. If he didn’t have his scooter, he wanted to play tag hide-and-go-seek. If there was no one at the playground, I was to chase after him and pretend I’m the bad guy that he needs to shoot with his imaginary gun, except I couldn’t kill him (no matter how close I was).
Disney isn’t about the magic, it’s about the adventure. My son showed little interest in the romance and hopeful dreams of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. Instead, he preferred the thrill of Pirates of the Caribbean and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Wrestling is everything. If you never knew about the sport before or understood it, you will now. You’ll know more about John Cena or Randy Orton more than you know about yourself.
There will be pee. Oh, lord will there be pee. It’ll be on the floor, on the rim of the toilet bowl, and dripping down the sides. On bad days, it’ll make its way onto shower curtains and walls. Peeing isn’t a easy as you’d thought it would be. There’s just something about aiming in the toilet bowl that is easier said than done. Who knew?
Life will become a daily safari adventure. Your downtime won’t be spent cooped up in the living room reading books or coloring pages. It’ll be spent outside marvelling at the bugs you’ll find under rocks (you might scream) and holding plastic guns and swords to wield off any “bad guys” that may come and attack. Sometimes your son may turn on you…
Blanket forts are their equivalent of castles, except there is something much more fun about them. Expect a lot of pillows, blankets, and random chairs or poles to occupy your living room, but do join in. Building forts will always be a favorite memory of mine. And expect to fall asleep in them if you build them later in the evening. Don’t resist it. Your child will cherish those memories too, waking up in the fort next to you.
On rainy days, don’t bother telling him not to jump in the puddles. If he’s sly, he’ll walk through them. If you tell him not to walk through the puddles, he’ll stop in front of one and touch it with the tip of his toe. If you tell him not to get his shoes wet, he’ll touch it with his hand. Bottom line. Get the kid some rain boots.
His love for dangerous and exotic animals will fascinate and scare you at the same time. From dinosaurs to the Megalodon, he will educate you on all aspects of their being. God forbid he becomes the next Steve Irwin.