There is just something about having 3 boys tagging along that brings questions about our lifestyle out of the woodwork. Any other mom of boys will understand. The more boys you have, the more unfathomable it seems to become to the public.
Raising boys is fun. Really, it is! I'm hoping to answer a few of these questions here, and take the unknown out of raising a pack of boys.
1.) How Do You Do It?
I must admit, in the beginning, this one stumped me. How do I do it? Why does it seem so hard to other people?
When I had just ONE boy, I often felt like I couldn't do it. Getting used to having a child, let alone a very active little boy, was exhausting. If anything, things seem much easier now with three, believe it or not.
The short answer: I just do it. No seriously. I don't think about it that much. I just survive.
I develop systems, mini routines, find out what works for our family, let the small things go, etc. You really have to learn to be laid back about a lot of things.
On the other hand, you have to put your foot down in certain areas and realize that, without this factor, I would go insane. Like, the person who makes the mess cleans it up. If you pee on the toilet seat, you have to wipe it up, not me. That kinda thing.
2.) Aren't You Exhausted?
Why yes, some days I am! On those days, we have "lazy days". I drink coffee. We graze on food and I don't cook. I also couldn't do it without my husband, who I rely on heavily as co-parent. He's awesome, and I don't know what I would do without him.
I know that some women don't have that in their husbands, or their husbands are away. It makes me even more grateful that I have mine around.
3.) You Have Your Hands Full, Don't You?
Yes I do! And I wouldn't have it any other way. I love having my hands full and my heart full of love. I choose to focus on the fact that I have 3 boys who wake up in the morning and think of me as the most beautiful woman in the world.
Who wouldn't want 3 extra knights in shining armor?
4.) Do They Ever Stop Eating?
Not really. Boys love to eat. The more they grow, the more they are like bottomless pits. But, isn't that most kids?
We offer lots of healthy snacks, especially fruit, that they can grab pretty much whenever they want. We encourage them to try new things and eat a variety of foods. I try to bake homemade snacks, make a menu and grocery list, and cook as much food as I can as cost effectively as possible.
5.) Do You Let Them Play With Dolls?
We have never placed limits on what our boys can play with, or what color they can like, or any other cultural gender bias. In fact, my oldest son's favorite color has always been pink, and I encourage his expression by buying him pink shirts!
Still, there is just something about boys and their cars, trucks, trains, and tools. They have never been interested in dolls. Plenty of testosterone in this house to go around.
6.) Do You Have Any Regrets?
I wish that I could say that I don't have any regrets. But, I do. And, I believe it's what we do with those regrets that matters most.
Mostly, I regret making a big deal about things that were not. I also regret trying to "fix" and "escape" problems instead of just enjoying life. I wouldn't have gotten as mad about coloring on the walls. I would have spent less time worrying about keeping them busy, and more time being busy with them.
7.) Are You Hoping For a Girl?
I would love to welcome a girl into our family. But, another boy would fit in nicely as well. We are praying for a healthy baby. Our goal is to happily accept what God gives us. It is not our personal goal to keep having babies until we get a girl.
Honestly, I don't know the first thing about raising a girl!
My husband is the oldest of four, the youngest being the only girl. I have heard lots of stories. All I have to say is, if we have a girl, please pray for her. She's gonna need it.
8.) How Do You Teach Them Respect?The more my boys grow, the more I am learning that most things in life are not taught. They are modeled. That goes doubly for respect.
Respect is learned by the example of the most influential people in their lives. That's you, Mom and Dad!
Boys will learn how to treat others by the way they are treated. Or, by the way they see others treated. If dad does not respect mom, how will he learn to respect women? If mom and dad are bullies to him, he will turn that anger around and use it against someone smaller or weaker than himself.
Boys really thrive when they are actively given chances to do right by other people and show respect and compassion. If you are compassionate, caring, and respectful of others, your children will follow suit.
|Zeke with his best buddy Samuel, our former exchange student from Nigeria (2010)|
9.) How Do You Feel About Weapons?
I do not believe that letting boys play with weapons makes them more prone to violence. If anything, I fully believe that not allowing them to express themselves in ways that come naturally to them, brings about more violence through suppression.
Too often these days, boys interests and natural curiosity for weapons, hunting, protection, and survival, are discouraged if not banned altogether. This is a breeding ground for anger and aggression, having a part of who you are attacked and taken away.
We have a lot of toy weapons. My husband is also very serious about weapon safety and talks about it often with the boys. They know that real weapons are dangerous and powerful tools that need to be respected.
10.) Do Boys Cry?Okay, I know this is a completely ridiculous question that people don't really ask. But, it's a very common thing for fathers to pass on to their boys that has literally messed up entire generations of men.
"Boys don't cry" should never be in a parent's vocabulary. Boys do cry, and their feelings should be respected and validated, sometimes with even more effort than girls, just to counteract the societal misconception that boys should be tougher and bottle their emotions.
Do you have anything to add to my list?
Do you have a top ten list for the week? Link it up over at Many Little Blessings!