Being a mom of boys changes you.
It changes you in the way motherhood changes all of us, but it changes you in other ways — in ways that you almost don’t even notice while those changes are happening until you look back and hardly recognize yourself.
Being a mom of boys teaches you to hold your breath and close your eyes and save your “be careful”s for the really important times.
You learn to love movies like Star Wars and Avengers — franchises that until few years ago you had never even seen — and before long, you find yourself speculating on endings and backstories. You are shocked to find that you actually have a favorite Avenger even though 5 years ago, you couldn’t have named a single one.
You become extra sensitive to toxic masculinity and nearly scream every time you hear a phrase like “man up” or “be a man” or “like a girl.”
You become acutely aware of the responsibility you have to teach them to be kind and to help them stay soft.
You get very comfortable with dirt and roughhousing and noise. You get used to the smell of tween sweat, and figure out how to tactfully remind him to use soap and — for the love of all things holy — just wear some damn deodorant.
Being a mom of boys teaches you to become fluent in Fortnite and Minecraft and stay on to of pop music trends via the background music on NBA2K.
You become acutely aware of how important it is for them to learn how treat women well from you. You commit yourself to showing them how to do laundry and load the dishwasher (the “right” way). You tell them a million times to pick up their socks.
Being a mom of boys makes you realize again and again and again just how much all the stereotypes about boys and girls are total bullshit. You worry about a world that will try to shape them into something other than who they are.
Being a mom of boys makes you comfortable with risk, less afraid of the unknown. It makes you feel both braver and more terrified than you ever thought possible.
You learn how to not run onto the field after he gets hit with a pitch at a Little League game.
You start to say things like “be smart” instead of “get down!” when they climb to the high branches of the tree or the top of a cliff. Because, after all, you really do want them to see the world — as scary as that might be.
Yes, being a mom to boys changes you.
Your heart becomes a little bit tougher, but also a little bit softer and a whole lot bigger. Because through them a whole new world has opened for you too.
(And of course, as a mom, you know that all of these things could also be true of daughters.)