Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Being the Mom of Boys

In just a few short months, I will be the mom of two little boys. Two of them! How lucky can a girl get? Since finding out that we are expecting our second little boy, we have received an interesting variety of feedback. 

There are the people disappointed that they won't be shopping for pink. There was the woman who told me I must be so disappointed. There are the ones who have told us what a blessing it is. I think my favorite so far was when my ENT yesterday asked if I was going for sainthood. He said that he is one of two boys in his home. He remembers his mom crying when he was a teenager and saying that she wished she had girls. All I could do was laugh.
Once upon a time, I didn't want kids. Not even one of them. There was a long list of very personal reasons that led me to believe my life would be better if I wasn't a mother. I just didn't see a future for me with children. Then I met this great guy. I knew in my heart it would be just awful if he wasn't a dad. And, sometimes, that made me think that I wasn't the right girl for him. 

During the summer of 2004, I finally realized how wrong I was about kids. I took a job working with a family with four young kids. Four young boys! I remember being there to witness the youngest of them taking his first steps and saying his first word. Luckily, his mom was there for both of those moments, too. And sometime over the course of the next year, I fully came to realize that I not only wanted children; I knew who I wanted to have those children with. And I knew that I wanted a big family. And boys? If I could only be so lucky to have a family filled with little boys. 
Because I was so sure I wanted boys, I was equally sure that God would give me girls. Now, don't get me wrong here. We would be happy to have a baby girl in our family. To be just as honest, little girls scare me. I've got the boy thing down. I can handle dirt and dinosaurs and trucks. The drama and glitter and princesses? That would be a whole new world.

I think the most important things that others need to remember is how tough it is to be a mom (or a parent in general). The most difficult criticism I have received has often been from other moms (family, friends and strangers). Whether it was a direct dig at what I was doing with my son, or during pregnancy, or just a general comment. I know my son should have a healthy dinner every night. I also know that, sometimes, it's going to be Easy Mac. I know that some people disagree with me wearing heels while pregnant. I'm almost six months along, and I'm still enjoying my five inch heels on a daily basis. The doctor said it's okay. I said it's okay. Just drop it.

At a wedding a few weeks ago, Cullen was running around like a banshee. I was too tired from the trip to effectively chase him down, so I was pretty much letting it happen. One of the other guests told me that it was nice to see someone let a child act like a child. What a positive thing to say! We all have our battles. We all choose different ones. And isn't the best part of parenthood looking at the children you've raised and seeing them enjoy life in a positive manner?
Harry Potter
And the truth is, we could all use a little support now and then. If it's just a passing comment in Target to tell a mom how cute her baby is. Or maybe it's telling that dad in the park what a great job he's doing. We all need a little reminder every now and then that we're doing the right thing. 

And for moms of boys, it's tough sometimes. In a land full of children that are prepped for kindergarten from birth, it's hard to keep in mind that they're just kids. I absolutely quiz my kid on colors and letters and numbers, but there are also days that we watch Madagascar and play dinosaurs. Because that's just as important when you're helping a child develop into a well-rounded individual. Every child brings their own set of challenges. Boys are rough and tumble. They are loud. They rarely possess an "inside voice." But, if you're really willing to embrace parenthood, boys are also magic. They are the sweetest little hands to hold. They point out the things you might miss. They love you in ways you might never expect. Little girls might do the same. I may never see that same thing with a daughter of my own.
For that, I'm biased. Boys are all I know. They may be all I ever know. But I will never doubt God's decision in giving us boys. Because boys are what I know. They are what I adore. And I don't care to imagine life another way. I choose to be blessed by what I have. Blessed by what I've earned and what I've been given. Blessed beyond measure.

Next time you think about talking down to a mom who is working hard to do her best, remember that we've all got struggles. We're all working hard. We all want to be mom of the year, but most of us will fail from time to time. And that's okay, because our babies are the best things we give to this world and our best is all we can do. 

And a reminder to the moms who are struggling. Whether you're a mom of boys or girls or both. Just keep swimming. You only get one chance to make today's memories.

xoxo ashley

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