The Bathroom Always Smells Like Pee and Other Joys of Raising Boys

I am the mother of four children. The eldest two are girls. As a mother, when you find out you are expecting a daughter, it is exciting and familiar. Even though becoming a first-time or even a second-time parent often presents many unknowns having a girl at least gives a mother some security. You’ve been there. You can parent your daughter with firsthand experience.

But when I lay on the examination table for the sonogram with my third child and found out I was having a boy, I was instantly overwhelmed with fear. I didn’t know how to raise a boy! I’d been the mother of daughters for more than a decade, and I felt confident as a girl mom. I had no idea how to be a boy mom.

I spent the next few months of my pregnancy growing increasingly anxious. I remember wandering through the clothing section at the baby store and seeing a football-themed onesie that read, “No time to cuddle, time to huddle.” Wait, did that mean my son wouldn’t want to snuggle in my lap until he was too big to fit? Also, I didn’t know much about sports. Was that a prerequisite to being a boy mom? How would I relate to a son? Would I be as close with him as I was my daughters?

As the weeks drug on, my growing belly swelled far past the size of my previous two girl pregnancies. Another not so subtle reminder that what was inside was something bigger than I’d ever experienced. And although I was already in love with my unborn son, it was a somewhat guarded and unfamiliar love.

I’ll never forget the day he was born. He was by far the easiest of my four labor and deliveries. And the second that perfectly plump newborn baby boy was placed in my arms, the fear and anxiety disappeared. I looked at my precious son and promised him I would figure it out. Being a girl mom may have come effortlessly for me, but I vowed to work hard at becoming the best boy mom possible!

It turns out, being a boy mom was easier than I ever expected. I didn’t need to study football statistics or take a lego-building class. My son taught me everything I needed to know exactly when I needed to know it. With his older sisters, I was always excited to see them reach their next milestone. But with him, I just wanted him to stop growing up so fast. I wanted time to slow down and let me savor each snuggle. And yes, he did sit in my lap until he was too big to fit!

My first son is now an 18-year-old college student studying business, and he now has a 5-year-old little brother who is a bundle of energy. Despite their 13 year age gap, their close bond fills me with immense joy! When my oldest son walks in, my youngest can’t hug him fast enough.

My now-adult daughters are my best friends. We talk on the phone almost daily, take girls’ trips where we bake in the sun, and drink too much wine. And as odd as it may sound, it’s sometimes easy to forget I am their mother. Most of the time, it feels like we are old friends. The relationship with my daughters is a blessing I am so grateful for!

But with my sons it’s different. We aren’t peers on any level. We are something more. My oldest son loves to drive me around in his truck whenever we go somewhere together, and he’s always blaring his favorite rap song. But it never fails; if a curse word is in the lyrics, he turns down the volume. I’ve never asked him to do that, but to me, it’s such a sweet gesture. We don’t talk often, but when we do, it’s typically for a reason, not just to chat like with the girls. However, his call is usually the first I get on Mother’s Day and my birthday.

My youngest son, who is on the autism spectrum, has taught me more about Star Wars, superheroes, and natural disasters than I ever thought possible. His interests are big and bold and beautiful. I love the way he gets super animated when we are pretending to fight Darth Vader, save the world from a supervillain, or flee an erupting volcano. But in the midst of saving the world from whatever it is in danger of, this rough-house-loving little boy will often stop abruptly softly kissing me on the cheek and melting my heart into a puddle of pretend lava.

Being a boy mom has been more fun and given me more joy than I’d ever imagined. And although I don’t have the firsthand knowledge to fall back on, I am learning as I go, and there is so much joy in this journey.

There is this boy whole stole my heart; he calls me mom. – Author Unknown

Published by

Amy Nielsen

Amy Nielsen is a former children's librarian of nearly twenty years. She now spends most of her time obsessively pounding on a keyboard. She is the author of It Takes a Village: How to Build a Support System for Your Exceptional Needs Family, Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her upcoming YA Worth it debuts in May of 2024. She is also a freelance writer for The Autism Helper. When she's not writing, she and her family are most likely crusing the waters of Tampa Bay.