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8 Truths That “Moms Of Boys” Realize (Sooner Or Later)

8 Truths That “Moms Of Boys” Realize (Sooner Or Later)

Moms of boys are a different breed and they have different rules. Having raised three boys of my own, I have learned a few things in the past 25 years that was never in the “what to expect” books when they were little. There is just something different in a house full of testosterone and non-stop activity. Maybe that child’s nursery rhyme about what “little boys are made of” had a little truth in it after all.

The mothers of sons and only sons quickly learn these 8 truths…whether they want to or not.

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1, You will have broken things in your house.

Sometimes, you will hear it and know about it right away. Then the finger pointing begins and you need to decipher which one is less apt to tell a fib. Other times, you will be dusting the mantle and notice the glass missing from one of the picture frames. Only after an intense “question and answer session” will you learn that the picture was knocked down after playing football in the house. Who knows how long ago…don’t ask. You really don’t want to know.

2. You will have to start the conversation.

Never ask a question that will allow them to give you a one word answer . “How was school?” will typically be answered with what I heard time after time “Fine.” and I still didn’t learn when I asked, “What did you learn?” which was followed up by it’s partner, “stuff.” Boys do not like all of the details –  they don’t care to store worthless information like girls do. Get used to it…it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise if you have any other men in your life. Let’s just say, the apple doesn’t fall too far and leave it at that.

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3. You will have to show them how to clean a bathroom.

Girls are a different kind of messy – from hair in the sink and tub to the countless bottles of hair products all over the counter. Boys will continue to fill the trash can, as long as it is all in the trash can. Even leaning against the wall counts as in the waste receptacle. Somehow, the mirror seems to get toothpaste plastered all over it and don’t even get me started on the biggest mess of all: the toilet. All three of the boys denied making “the mess” around the toilet and I politely reminded them I know it wasn’t me – I can’t miss.

4. You will not know everything you want to know.

Those boys are in fact brothers. When they are young, getting the other one in trouble gives them a sense of “one upping” the other, but as they age, the are steadfast secret keepers. They will defend, protect, and stand fast against anyone that threatens their brother, regardless of the reason why. Teach them when they are young that you may not catch them the first time, but you will catch them. But it is always fun to remind them that although they may not know someone, chances are someone knows them so it is like having eyes everywhere. I love it.

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5. You have to break up your share of fist fights.

Boys group up being rough and tough. You will break up your share of fist fights over the silliest of things (in my house, it was over the cartoon, “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer”) and you won’t even need to ask why. Because it won’t make sense. Ever. But the good news is that some day, that same fist fight becomes something they actually treasure and laugh about later. Don’t even get me started on “who broke who’s leg” either. There are ALWAYS two sides to every story.

6. You have to teach them how to date.

Believe it or not, the last thing your son wants to hear is about what his parents did when they were dating. Yuck. Whenever my boys were going to a dance, there were two rules that were not up for discussion: You get her a wrist corsage and you match her dress. Chances are she will pick more than that (like where you are going to dinner and what time) because she has to get her nails and hair done. We need to show them how to show how to care, how to be thoughtful, how to love someone else.

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7. You will never be told “I need you, Mom.”

My three sons are all grown and in college or living on their own and the worst thing they could ever say is “I can’t do this on my own.” We raised them to be independent, smart young men and for the most part that is exactly who they are. But they still don’t have all of the answers yet. But they don’t want you to worry, so they phrase questions that sound more “hypothetical” in nature. Like you just fell off the truck yesterday. When they are sick and tell you they don’t need anything, it means they don’t want you to worry. Deep down, they still need you…they just don’t want you to know it.

8. You will see “adjusting” going on — no matter what.

Okay…let’s go there. We all know it happens. Living with four males for the last 25 years has taught me one thing: “it” has to be adjusted multiple times a day. I don’t understand it. Most women I know neither. But we never talk about it. But if we are talking about truths, there it is. No shame in being real, right ladies? It happens. No lie.

There you have it – the 8 truths every mom of sons will learn at some point. And no matter how old those boys get or how far they move away, we can turn on “Mama Bear” in an instant, especially when our baby boys are hurt. Maybe these truths are a little more than we bargained for, but this is better than nothing. One of the most simplest of truths I have heard about moms of boys is “Mothers of boys work from son up to son down.”

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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