I’ve got two sons. Two cheeky, snotty, drooling, sour-smelling, magical little boys to call my own. They sure aren’t the cleanest of boys. They love to get their hands on cat hair and pick on worms in the ground and stomp in mud puddles after the rain and they think that The Trash Pack - the grossest guys that live in your garbage - is the most awesome bunch. They jump on my bed and make a huge mess in my room when they are in it. They pull toys off of each other. They bite each other. They wipe snot on each other. They run and slide and hop and bounce and do all kinds of things that just makes me want to pull them both by the ear. They are a handful. They toss my right to my wits ends at times. But I let them do all that. I let them go that far (as far as I can keep my sanity) because I believe that boys will be boys.
I take my children to the playground and am constantly mindful of the words that come out of my mouth. If I weren’t aware, all I would be shouting after them are “don’t climb!”, “don’t run!”, “don’t slide”, “don’t pick on worms!” I would not let them do anything, because every time they try to pull a daredevil act or even wobble, I can feel my heart sink to my stomach with fear. I think mothers would know what I mean. If we could keep our boys in a glass bubble, we would. We would prevent every bruise, every scratch, every scraped knee. But how will our boys turn out? Would they grow to be strong, self-reliant, macho men who can help themselves? I think not. Would they be brave and courageous men who laugh in the face of danger? Err, I don’t think so.
As moms, we need to inspire our boys to grow into real men. We need to not be too overprotective so that we can grow the importance of having courage and bravery. We need to teach them to help themselves and to be independent.
I’ve learned to tell them to “be careful” instead of telling them “don’t!” I’ve learned that by allowing them to explore and get their hands dirty and be gross, I am giving them a chance to grow and discover themselves. I’ve also learned to become someone smarter and vigorous and creative and critical, so to parent them well.
My boys may sometimes be the snottiest and stinkiest kids I have ever seen, but they are also the sweetest, most adorable little beings that have graced the face of this earth. Because when they plant a huge fat sloppy wet kiss on my cheeks, I really can’t see the grossness anymore. But I guess that all moms are biologically programmed to see things that way. Don’t you think so?