I never wished one of my boys had been a girl, even though I dreamed of having a little girl long before I became a parent. You know, one girl, one boy. Pigtails and shopping for me and my girl, and hunting and fishing for my boy and his daddy. But, once I became the mom of two boys, I never looked back.Now, I think I was just cut out for boys. Now that they are 16 and 18, I have a few things I’ve learned along the way that I can share with other moms.
- Get them acquainted with Mr. Washer and Ms. Dryer when they are young. My boys started at 12ish with doing their own laundry. They know how to spin circles around spin cycles. That is, when their closets are empty and they’re down to the jogging pants and tiny T-shirt they outgrew in 7th grade.
- Get Dad involved. Often, I’ve been the “bad guy” barking rules and enforcing the family constitutional law. Okay, we don’t have a constitution, but I have figured out that when Dad, who at our house can be a little of a pushover, gets involved with enforcing the rules, mom feels validated. Validation good, frustration bad.
- Teach them to open doors for women from the time they are big enough to open the door. Sometimes, I have to let a door slam on me before they notice, but what’s a broken nose or two if it helps them learn how to treat a girl. It’s so sweet when they open my car door for me…and then call shotgun and try to steal my seat.
- Open the Bible. Read it together. Teach them to read it on their own. Set aside time for family devotions. Encourage conversation about Biblical things when they are young and when they get older challenge them to explain why they believe what they believe.
- Get dirty. There is no way to raise boys without getting dirty, so just get over it. And get used to talking about weird and disgusting things at the dinner table. Just not when company is over.
- Don’t abandon your girlfriends. When your boys get older, they won’t want to hang out with you as much as they used to. You’ll need someone to break up the loneliness when they’re off doing manly stuff.
Next issue: Why boys should know how to clean their own bathroom and other policies that will ensure the eternal gratitude of your future daughters-in-law.