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As A Mother Of Boys, What I Would Like To Say Is…

As A Mother Of Boys, What I Would Like To Say Is…

As a mother of boys, what I would like to say is, I feel truly blessed! Now I realize every child is different and we all have unique experiences, but I have been fortunate enough to raise two kind and good hearted boys. Some days though, I have to take the bad with the good…

1. Tonka Trucks vs. Barbie Dolls

I’ll be honest, as a mom, I would have much rather played Barbie dolls than Tonka trucks. Barbie dolls don’t require any bashing of things, flying off cliffs, blowing up, or loud and obnoxious engine noises. You can’t brush the hair of army men; you can’t change their outfits, only their weapons. Nerf gun bullets would be found in the strangest places and Lego pieces always seemed to multiply overnight.

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2. Boys Don’t Require Bras

When it comes to maintenance, boys definitely win my mom vote. Boy’s haircuts; $20.00. Girl’s haircuts? Yeah right! Try a wash, cut, highlight, dry and style; $120.00. Boy’s toiletries usually consist of razors, shaving cream, acne pads, deodorant and perhaps some hair gel. Girls require bras with matching panties, tampons, acne wash, acne cream, foundation, lipstick, eye liner, hair gel, hair spray, a flat iron, nail polish, and earrings in every shape and color, just to name a few (shall I keep going?!). Shower and prep time for boys will typically run about 7 minutes. Girls? About an hour and a half, and that’s on a ‘good hair day’.

3. We’re Out of Milk Again?!

Just when I’ve got moms excited with the idea that raising boys is less expensive, I’m about to burst their bubble. Having boys, especially during their teenage years, will literally double the grocery bill. When they are little, we stress to them the importance of eating all their food. “It will make you big and strong”, we tell them. Years later, we will find ourselves asking them not to eat all the food! I have woken up many, many mornings to empty milk jugs and half eaten cereal boxes from my son’s late night snacking.

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4. Hello Hospital

Let’s face it; boys are not prissy when it comes to climbing roof tops or jumping bike ramps. It seems to be in their nature to try these devilish tricks without putting forth a single thought of logic beforehand. I know our hearts sink just thinking about it, but the nearest doctor’s office or hospital may become our home away from home. A mom of boys will be no stranger to broken bones and stitches.

5. For the Love of Bugs

Most of us moms think of a new family pet as a fluffy kitten or a playful pup. Well, let’s just scratch that idea right now. I think a boy’s first and favorite pet will be the ones we don’t welcome into our home. If it’s ugly and creepy, they want our Tupperware containers to keep it in by their bedside. If we want to hit it with a fly swatter, they want to name it and love it. From ants to worms, beetles to spiders, these critters will habitat your home, like it or not.

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6. Boys Don’t Whine- They Throw Punches

Boys in general tend to be less dramatic. They aren’t too whiney or overly emotional. They’d rather kick up some karate moves or throw punches before they’d yell or cry. My sons and I bond by wrestling around the kitchen. They hang out with their friends by pile driving each other on the trampoline or playing tackle football in the yard. We spend nights together watching “The Walking Dead”, not “The Notebook”.

7. Boys Are the Biggest Teasers, but the Best Protectors

I remember getting my first pair of cowgirl boots last year. I was super excited because I always wanted a pair, but a little uncomfortable too as I was new to this type of style. So I paraded around my son’s room in my boots and matching western shirt, hoping to get his thoughts. I knew he disapproved when he started to laugh and then belted out a twangy, voice crackling country song. On the other hand though, my son wouldn’t hesitate to have my back the minute someone started tossing around “Your Momma” jokes. My boys can tease each other and their little sisters from sun up to sun down, but no one else better even think of trying that; mess with the bull, get the horns!

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8. What Was Your Name Again?!

Ever since they got their own room and a video game console, I don’t see much of my teenage boys anymore. They only come out for something to eat, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get a “what’s up?!” as they pass through to the kitchen. I tease them by sarcastically asking, “What was your name again?”, as if it’s been ages since I’ve seen them last! I’ll go up to their room to chat for a little while or take them out for ice cream, but I have to respect their age now and know they want their privacy.

Being a mom of boys truly is a blessing, but it comes with many ups and downs. They will love us, they will hate us, but through it all, it’s still the most amazing experience in the world. They will always be our bug collecting and karate kicking little boys, no matter how grown they are.

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Published on December 14, 2018

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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