Nothing tests the patience of a boy mom more than February. Being stuck inside in the middle of winter with a high energy boy is not for the faint-of-heart. CAN I GET AN AMEN?
Listen. I love being a boy mom, but this gig is absolutely NO JOKE.
There are days when I straight up feel like I’m living in a tornado of energy and dirt and noise.
There are things I wish I’d been told when I had a son. Like, there are literally days when I lay down in my bed at night and think to myself, “Today was HARD.” Raising boys is a wonderful, but EXHAUSTING, job.
So with the hope of encouraging those of us surrounded by boisterous little men, I hereby present this Boy Mom Survival Guide. Solidarity, girls.
Let them play rough.
I spent so much time fighting rough play in the past, and have finally waved the white flag of surrender. Boys play hard. The end.
They run. Jump. Tumble. Bounce. And sometimes they even do it outside. 😉
Not a day goes by that I don’t see my son tearing through the house, jumping off the couch, and hollering war cries at the top of his lungs.
In an effort to positively direct the flaming bundle of energy known as my son, I like provide toys that encourage high energy creative play.
We have a box of swords, shields, superhero capes, bows and arrows, and a few toy guns, and he is welcome to use them with the intention of fighting evil or bad guys. (Using them to hurt others isn’t allowed at our house.)
I often encourage Riley to be our protector when Dad isn’t home. Giving him a positive way to use that urge to fight has been really good for him. He loves having the “job” of protecting his mom and sister.
Boys were given this crazy desire to conquer and defeat, so I don’t fight that. Instead, we just try to encourage him to use that energy for good.
Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young is a gold mine of wisdom on how to raise boys. If you only buy one book about raising boys, BUY THIS ONE. It’s so stinking good.
Send them outdoors.
Nothing does my son good like time outdoors. NOTHING. We try to spend lots of time outside year round, but there are definitely stretches during the winter when we’re stuck inside. Those times can be a little rough. 😉
Unstructured free time outdoors is a must for my boy. Time to roam around, ride bikes, build forts, go on grand adventures in the backyard…being able to expend some energy without being restricted is so, so good for him.
Also, mud. My kids are known for turning on the hose and flooding the driveway – which yes, makes a huge mess. But the things they come up with the do in the mud! Mud rivers. Bike rides through huge mud puddles. The feel of cool mud squishing through their toes. Mud pies and pudding and cakes – as my kids get older I keep thinking they’ll outgrow their love of mud, but so far I see no end in sight.
It’s the simple things, folks.
Give them things to build.
There’s something wired in boys that makes them curious. They often want to be problem solvers, to build things, to fix things.
We love open-ended toys at our house. One of the most played with toys are wooden train tracks (we are MAJOR fans of Brio over here) and roadways. These are gold for my boy because there are limitless routes to create. He plays with them all over the house, and often uses blocks to create buildings or towns along the route. There is no wrong way to use these, and a million right ways. A super great way of helping them think outside of the box.
Another favorite are Snap Circuits. Riley thinks he’s an real, live engineer whenever he gets a chance to try his hand with these.
And, of course, Legos. Legos are an obvious win for boys. We started out buying small Lego kits for Riley, but he soon told us he’d rather receive basic Legos so that he could use to create whatever he wanted, rather than being “forced” into making a certain vehicle or scene. Okee dokee, kid.
Embrace who they are.
I find the things that make my boy a BOY are sometimes the things that test my patience the most. Yes, they’re noisy. Yes, they’re dirty. Yes, they are on the go CONSTANTLY. But it’s important for me to remember that God gave boys distinct strengths, and I want to do all I can to help my son grow and mature.
It’s all about perspective. When my son is being loud, I can get mad and yell, or I can choose to thank God for his passion and energy and know that God will use him to do big things someday.
When he’s tearing apart my toaster, or creating a lab in the kitchen, or stealing my couch cushions to build YET ANOTHER FORT, I can affirm that God gave him the gift of being a good builder.
When he’s trying to fix the chain on his bike, I see in him the desire to be a problem solver, and can encourage him to be a good thinker and find a solution…because goodness knows I’m not going to be any help in that department.
The focus of my parenting as a boy mom is this: who has God created my son to be, and how can I come alongside of that?
A few of the resources mentioned in this post: