I love the way God has knit the hearts of this community together. I sat down to begin writing this post one night, and then the next morning woke up to a message asking me about how I have dealt with the disappointment I initially felt in finding out I was having boys when I so desperately wanted a girl. I laughed and thought “Okay God, that’s cool.” That has, in fact, happened more times than I know to count at this point. I receive messages often asking about this, because I have been so open about it. Likewise, it’s invited hurtful comments and assumptions about me that I have had to just delete *literally and mentally.* I feel undeserving but honored to be invited into so many of your confusion or hurt of not conceiving a little girl. Also, as a woman who literally loves being a boy mom more than anything, I hope these words encourage you. I hope you hear every bit of it and feel excitement in your incredible role you have been given as a boy mom.
I always thought I would be a girl mom taking a mini me to dance lessons in her tutu. I have faced over the last nearly 4 years since the moment I first found out I was pregnant with a boy (Knox Chandler) a journey of letting a specific dream and expectation die that I had for my life. This massive lesson in my life has actually been one for so many others within it. The lesson is far larger than seemingly letting go of not having a girl. It’s been a larger picture of trusting that God knows more than I ever could what will bring me joy into my life. Letting dreams die hurts, as all things that die do. But, we know as believers in Jesus, life is ALWAYS on the other side of loss and death. Good always rises from the depths of our hurt, and in far greater amounts than we could ever have prepared ourselves for.
Having boys has challenged me in ways I never knew I needed and brought me the greatest joy of fulfilling love I didn’t even know was possible. I never even knew if I would fall in head over heels love like I did with my now husband, because I never had been remotely close to it until I met him. And then… when I met each of my boys… WHOA. Add another heart, because mine exploded and multiplied. I mean, goodness, Knox just walked into my room still rubbing the sleep from his eyes and told me I am so pretty… Teeth unbrushed, hair a mess, and sipping my coffee while one handedly feeding Rory. Tell me a son isn’t the most encouraging thing ever.
Here’s what’s so cool…
When you get married, you get your first glimpse at what men need to feel truly loved. Respect, honor, adventure. [Just to name a few!] Mind you, these aren’t exclusive needs to men, obviously. However, I think majority of us can agree that these actions make a boy thrive in most scenarios. As a boy mom… you not only are living with those values under your roof in tiny versions of your husband. You are in charge of shaping them in a way very different than your role of nurturing these things in a spouse. It’s been mind-blowing to me that I have been entrusted with two little boys’ hearts to FORM the way they view, receive, and give love to others. Moms, we literally carry that role in our home to our babies. It’s Biblical. It’s up to us to nurture the “muscle” of nurturing and kind within our kids. To provide a space that welcomes vulnerability and compassion … that’s on us! Pretty cool, huh?
If you ask me… being a boy mom in the times we are living through MIGHT be the greatest undertaking moms have ever had. What if, for such a time as this, all of us who have the opportunity to raise boys have the opportunity to change the world? We get to raise up fierce men who are gentle, kind, bold, gracious, God-fearing, and respectful. I know, I am biased and I know the little girls my best friends are raising will also change the world. But, as a boy mom, I feel a deep call to change the world through my sons.
So all this said in an extremely long intro, here are the 5 things I have learned as a boy mom:
- Boys just want to feel you love them. Like, no, physically feel you hug them, over smooch them, grab them as they are walking by to wipe the hair out of their eyes before they run down the hallway as Buzz Lightyear.
- Boys want you to tell them how proud of them you are. When I get down on my knees, look Knox in the eyes, and say “Knox, you are a super hero. I am so proud of the way you did “x.” … I see my son grow about 10 feet taller.
- Alone time with daddy is key. As much as I want to keep Knox and Rory all to myself *hehe* I want them to actually think their daddy is the most fun, coolest, strongest person in the world. That means I am not. It’s a gift to be loved by my boys, but I want them to desire to BE their daddy. They can’t learn to be gentlemen entirely by me. Their daddy has to teach them by one-on-one time that develops that within them by seeing and imitating. I am happy if Knox says daddy is the fun one. In some ways… it means I have done my job right.
- Stop saying “No.” As his mommy, I have eyes on all sides of my head that also, believe it or not, can see into the future. 😉 I know that as he is tightrope walking the top of my sofa, he not only will fall but he will fall and roll onto the corner of the coffee table, bust his head open, and we will be paying that hospital bill for the next year… And that just doesn’t fit into my budget goals for 2021 hehe. HOWEVER, within reason, I have learned that raising fearless boys who love others, love adventure, and are given opportunity to thrive and be independent means… I have to stop saying “no” so much. Let him fall. And then, tell him how cool that was and how brave he is.
- Being firm is a good thing. This ties with #4, but boys need healthy boundaries to be fearless. You will get to say “no” less when you present healthy boundaries for them from the start. This will look different in all situations, but it’s so important. We also explain to Knox in detail why we have to be firm sometimes. Ex: Knox, we have to be firm with you inside these walls, because we want you to be safe outside of them. That means, if you don’t listen to me within these boundaries I cannot trust you will in different ones.
I am by no means a parenting expert. I lose my cool and need to ask my son for forgiveness way more than I would like to admit. And I ALWAYS ask for forgiveness if I am in the wrong. The bull crap statement that says, “I am the parent and I don’t need to say sorry” is… well, crap. My kid can’t develop the ability to admit they’re wrong OR come to me when they have done something wrong if I can’t model that for him. We have already seen this play out in ways that have shocked me. Knox has come to us multiple time on his own to admit he did or said something he shouldn’t. Something we have done well, I believe, is provide a space for Knox to know he can admit he was wrong and receive grace. This starts with us getting eye level and apologizing when it is necessary. I share all of this with the hope as a non-parenting expert that my experiences can encourage you. I hope you tuck these away in your pocket for a rainy day. And, let’s address it, because I am SURE I will get it from somebody: ALL THESE THINGS APPLY TO LITTLE GIRLS, TOO. I do believe some needs are higher on the list than others for little girls, though. And, I believe there are a lot that are unique to them/you as girl parents. We literally just listened to an audio book two days ago talking about the science behind boys and girls brains, and how they are literally formed differently when chromosomes connect. Different needs light up in different ways when stimulated. It’s just facts.
I love y’all. You CAN do this, mommy [and daddy]. Parenting is work. But man, it’s the most fulfilling job any of us will ever do! Love you. If you found this helpful or encouraging, please share. Let’s encourage one another in this crazy journey called PARENTHOOD.