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

I have four children. The eldest two are girls. Expecting daughters calmed my new-parent jitters. I’d been there. I could raise them with first-hand experience.

But when the sonogram for my third child revealed I was having a son, fear shot down my parenting confidence. I’d been a girl mom for more than a decade. I had no idea how to be a boy mom.

My anxiety grew as my abdomen swelled—far past the size of my previous two pregnancies. And although I was already in love with my unborn son, it was guarded and unfamiliar.

In the clothing section at the baby store, a football-themed onesie read, “No time to cuddle, time to huddle.” 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?

Like all mothers, 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 plump newborn baby boy was placed in my arms, fear and anxiety vanished.

It turns out, being a boy mom was easier than I expected. I didn’t need to study football statistics or take a lego-building class. My son taught me everything I needed to know when I needed to know it.

I was always excited to see his older sisters reach each milestone. But with him, I wanted time to slow down. I wanted to savor each snuggle.

My first son is now a twenty-one-year-old college student studying business. He also has an energetic seven-year-old little brother. Despite their thirteen-year age gap, their bond is great. 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 multiple times a day usually about nothing in particular. We take girls’ trips where we bake in the sun and drink too much wine. It’s sometimes easy to forget I’m their mother. Most of the time it feels like we’re old friends.

But with my sons it’s different. We aren’t peers. We’re something more.

My oldest son loves to drive me around in his truck 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 it’s such a sweet gesture. We don’t talk on the phone often. 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 and natural disasters than I ever thought possible. His interests are big and bold. I love how animated he gets when we’re pretending to fight Darth Vader or flee an erupting volcano. But in the midst of saving the world, he’ll stop, softly kiss me on the cheek and melt my heart into a puddle of pretend lava.

Although I don’t have firsthand knowledge to fall back on as I did when raising my daughters, I’m learning as I go. And there is so much joy in this boy-mama 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.