Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

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Your Penis Won't Fall Off

My dearest sons,

You know the dangly appendage that occupies your thoughts and/or your hands for a large percentage of the day? Well, as a concerned mother, I feel it’s my duty to enlighten you on the subject of your penis.

Now, never having been in possession of one myself, I can’t be considered an outright expert, but I’d like to think that my experience raising you counts for something. After all, I’ve seen enough nakedness around this piece to rival any nude resort. So, for you, and any other boys out there, here are nine things you should know about your penis.

1. Relax; Your penis won’t fall off.  It will stay right there in your pants (provided you’re wearing any), so you can stop clutching it while you watch TV and falling asleep with it in your fingers. In fact, it will be with you for the rest of your life, so maybe you should think about being a little less rough with it.

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2. One exception: Having a firm grip on it is encouraged – and preferred – when using the toilet. It’s floppy, and when you don’t have it under control, you spray like a leaky hose.

3. Keep it in your drawers, ok? (This is a piece of advice that will have a different, but equally significant, meaning during your teen years – so don’t forget it.) There’s really no need to lay it on your brother’s arm. Or dip it in your chocolate milk. Or poke it through the hole of a DVD. Or wrap it around your eating utensils. Or your pencil. Or your brother’s pencil.

4. It might not hurt you when you stretch it out ten miles long like it’s made of rubber, but it hurts me just looking at it, so stop.

5. On rare occasions, you may actually let go of it in order to grasp something else. Like a sandwich, or your brother’s face. In the event of such occasions, hand-washing before you touch anything else is the courteous (and sanitary) thing to do.

6. It’s not the end of the world when it’s facing the wrong way or bunched up in your underwear. No need for a meltdown.

7. It’s handy and portable and all that, but just because you can pee anywhere doesn’t mean you should.

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8. If you’re gonna stretch/dangle/pull/twist/twiddle or otherwise manhandle (boy-handle?) it, please do so in your room and spare us all a little awkwardness. Please.

9. I’ve seen it a million times, so there’s no need to waggle it in my direction after your bath, nor make it dance and jump around by thrusting around like Elvis with a hula hoop. (This also goes for your dad, so pass that tidbit along.)

I’m hoping this letter will serve as a handy reference to the proper penile etiquette, and that you’ll start having a little ding-dong dignity.

You’ll thank me later… or at least your wife will.

Lots of love,
Mommy

Related post: 10 Things Never to Say to a Mom Expecting Another Boy

10 Things I Never Thought I’d Have To Say…Until I Had Boys

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cute-little-boy Image via Shutterstock

I have three boys. They are pretty mellow, on the boy-energy scale, and they are pretty well-behaved, on the boy-behavior scale. They are, however, creative. And sometimes I have to wonder what is going through those little blond heads of theirs.

When I imagined motherhood, I obviously didn’t have a clue about what it would be like to raise only boys. I had no brothers and I think I imagined that the things that would come out of my mouth would mostly be wise and after-school-special-ish. Maybe we will get there, but I suspect not any time soon. For now, these are some of the things that have come out of my mouth. Each time, I have found myself thinking, “did I really just have to say that?” And so, I started keeping a running list. Here are some of my favorites:

1. It is NEVER okay to pee into the bed of your toy truck. Self explanatory, right? Not to my then 3-year-old. I remember it vividly. It was the front-loader WOW garbage truck. I guess I have to compliment his aim. The little bucket-part isn’t very big.

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2. Take your brother’s underwear off your head RIGHT NOW. You’d think the thought of wearing another person’s (ahem) “used” undies would be a natural turn-off, right? Not to that same 3-year-old.  Being goofy totally trumps hygiene.

3. Do not stick your finger anywhere near your brother’s eye ball. Ever. I honestly don’t remember which kid did this. Probably that same 3-year-old.

4. Do not eat your ear wax. That had to have been the other one. He seems Kleenex-averse. I keep wondering when that whole eating-boogers thing is going to go away. No matter how insistent I am on a) how gross it is, b) how unhealthy it is, c) the actual make-up of boogers, it just persists. I truly think it is done out of convenience. This does not give me comfort.

5. Do not throw banana peels on the ground and then attempt to slip on them. This one was actually witnessed by my husband.  I think it was an attempt by our 4-year-old (the aforementioned former-3-year-old) to recreate a Mythbusters episode. I should also mention that due to Mythbusters, my 7-year-old categorically refuses to wear jeans. Ever. Why? Because there was an episode about jeans spontaneously combusting (or something).He is quite seriously afraid if he wears jeans, he will catch on fire. No amount of discussion will convince him otherwise. Thank you, Discovery Channel, and thank you fashion-designers for all of a sudden making sweat pants hip and cool.

6. Do not leave your toothbrush on the floor next to the toilet where you might pee on it. That firehose is a dangerous thing. So much of what I thought I would never have to say relates to it. Not much that relates to pee or penises surprises me anymore. Well, okay, maybe #9.

7. Do not put boogers in your ear. Seriously. Did I just have to say that?

8. A pretend helmet can’t actually protect your head. That’s wise, right? You gotta love the imagination of a 4-year-old. Even if it might give me a near-heart-attack from time to time. This kid goes to the beach during 90-degree weather in full fireman-costume. And wears it the whole time.

9. Do not leave cups of pee in the bathtub. Okay, so my boys apparently needed to go mid-bath and didn’t want to get out of the tub.  So, they concocted a plan. They seriously thought they were doing some sort of science experiment to see what would happen if they left it there for a few days. This occurred during our 7-months-o’-colic-with-our-third, if you are wondering why there was not more supervision. I took out the trash. I scrubbed the floor around the toilet. I cleaned the toilet. I washed the rug. I could NOT figure out why I could not eradicate the smell. Then I found the offending cups. And we had to have a talk.

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10. Don’t put blackberries in your pockets. Blackberry bushes grow as weeds here in the Pacific Northwest. My oldest LOVES blackberries. He recently discovered these curious things built into his (non-denim) pants called pockets. Now he fills them with things. Like blackberries. Side-anecdote: somewhere around a month into Kindergarten last year, he decided he wanted to buy lunch for the first time. He was so enthusiastic about all the choices that when lunch was over, he stuffed his pocket with all the left-over stuff he didn’t have time to eat.  He came home with a pocket full of cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and peanuts. He was so excited to *show* us what he got for lunch.

I’m sure the list will continue for many years, and judging by the way the third boy-child is developing, he will add his own creative twist to mischief, but this is the stuff mommy-memories are made of, right?  No seriously, right?

Related post: Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

10 Things Moms of Boys Must Do

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If you could see my uterus, it’s probably blue. And has a beard. Why? Because this baby factory only makes boys.

This fact was a little bit of a cosmic joke, because prior to birthing a domain full of dudes (four, to be exact), I was a total girl’s girl. Makeup, exfoliation, perfume, cute shoes. Fruity drinks instead of whiskey shots. Risk breaking a nail? No thank you. Bugs and worms: ewwwwww.

But being the mother of a male – whether one or many – changes you. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your girly ways (in fact, it’s probably more necessary than ever to preserve at least some of them), but parenting someone of the opposite sex can bring challenges that you’ve just got to adapt to.

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So if you’re pregnant with a baby boy, know someone who is, or have a very young boy that’s still more babyish than boyish, I’ve compiled a list of helpful prerequisites to being a boy’s mom.

You’re welcome.

1. You must love bath time. And by “bath time” I don’t mean you yourself sitting there in a candle-lit bathroom with an inflatable pillow and a tub full of luxurious rose-scented suds. I mean you must love giving baths, because boys require a lot of them. You must be prepared for drenching splashes, a wet-dog smell, a soaked floor, and tons of dirty towels. Same when they get old enough to take a shower by themselves – except then, there’s the added “bonus” of the wet-dog smell lingering after they’re done, even though the body wash is disappearing like they’re eating it. Unless you stand at the door and remind them twenty times to use soap … everywhere!

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(PS – don’t buy expensive body wash.)

2. You must think farts are funny. By the grace of God, I was born with this toilet-humor-loving trait, so I have had a pretty easy time dealing with this aspect. Boys think farts are funny: period. And the way you handle that can determine your stress level. If you laugh with them, you’ll all benefit. If you try to get them to stop laughing about it, it will only make things worse. Just stress that there are appropriate times and places to let one rip (i.e., not during the silent part of church or while eating at a restaurant) and you’ll be good to go. Even if you personally don’t find farts humorous (in which case, I’m wondering why you’re on my blog), you have to learn to tolerate those who do. Because there’ll be a lot of that going on.

3. You must be prepared for constant – CONSTANT – battle with the toilet. From the time I found out I was expecting my first boy, I was dead-set on one thing: teaching him to use the toilet properly. You know, putting the seat down and stuff. Common courtesy. I have always been a straight-up dictator diligent with my sons when it comes to that, because one of my fears is that they grow up to be men who don’t put the seat down. Ick. But despite my best efforts, there’s always something. One remembers to put the seat down, but not to flush. One remembers to flush, but doesn’t close the lid. One leaves toilet paper in weird places, like hanging out of the bowl or on the floor (WTF?). And they all sprinkle when they tinkle. I am forever reminding them to aim! Flush! Put the seat down! Close the lid! And then to add insult to injury, I have to clean it. It’s seriously exhausting to keep a clean toilet when there’s a boy (or a few) using it.

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4. You must rethink your standards of “safety.” Okay, nobody call child protective services on me – I’m not talking about letting your kids ride without a car seat or letting them play with a lighter. But think about the mom you know (and we all know at least one) who sterilizes her kid’s pacifiers and bottles religiously. The mom who hovers endlessly and gasps loudly when her precious snowflake takes a teensy-weensy tumble. You know that mom? Yeah. You can’t be that mom when you have a boy, because boys are just rough. They jump off of things and slide down things and climb up things and roll and tumble and tackle and leap and pounce and run. ALL THE TIME. They taste dirt and kitty litter and glue and hardened gum from beneath park benches and restaurant tables just out of curiosity (I mean, one of my boys ate candy that had been peed on). They try to ride their bikes, scooters, and skateboards faster than everyone else … and try to out-jump everyone else on trampolines. And if you’ve got multiple boys? Fuhgeddaboutit. They do all that plus wrestle, and occasionally get into full-blown knock-down drag-out fights.

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Just stock up on Band-Aids and look the other way for a little bit. For your own sanity.

5. You must not be surprised at drama. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “Oh, you’re so lucky – boys are way less dramatic than girls.” … Really? Because my boys are as dramatic as they come. There is plenty of stomping, eye rolling, sobbing, shouting, door slamming, and general sassiness going on around this place. I don’t know why everybody thinks boys are naturally easy-going, respectful, agreeable creatures. It must be because my sons’ dramatic outbursts are over “legit” things … like me not letting them use my good earphones, or getting relegated to “Player 2″ on the XBox. Right? Recently, my eight-year-old “hated this house and all his brothers” after a burping contest escalated. And after tripping over his shoelace, my Kindergartner flattened himself out on the floor and wailed, complete with tears, “This world is too dangerous for someone like meeeeeee!”

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Don’t ever let someone tell you that you’re lucky because boys aren’t dramatic. Seriously. They have no idea.

6. You must be prepared for messes. Sometimes I go slightly insane at the condition of my house. But unless you can afford to hire a full-time housekeeper, messes are just something you’ll have to deal with. And I’m not talking about just clutter from toys. No matter how often you yell and threaten tell them, boys are just not that conscientious about tracking in mud, or grass clippings, or getting toothpaste all over the place, or spilling milk and then maaaaybe half-assed wiping it up with, say, the corner of the tablecloth. (And the boys’ toilet? See #3.) Boys will also wipe boogers on walls and carpets and slop food all over the place like pigs at a trough. This isn’t due to lack of coaching; trust me, I feel like I spend 75% of my waking moments preaching about keeping things neat and tidy. (I spend the other 25% cleaning up the messes that result when my preaching goes in one ear and out the other.)

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All of this intensifies with multiple boys and/or a visit from multiple friends. Which brings us to the next prerequisite …

7. You must have a lot of food on hand at all times. I was so fooled by this one. Because when your kids are really little, they eat virtually nothing, and you think, “I sure am glad my kids aren’t big eaters!” And then they get to this stage where – holy crap – did he just inhale those scrambled eggs? My tiny, twig-like eight-year-old will annihilate a man-sized portion of breakfast and complain that he’s still hungry. And they always. Want. To snack. My refrigerator opens every five minutes when the kids are home. (And in between those five-minute spans, they’re raiding the cabinets.) We spend enough at the grocery store every month to make me feel faint in the checkout line, and we still run out. These little eating machines are like a pack of hungry locusts – and when one has something, they ALL want their own. I can’t wait until they’re all teenagers!*

*Note the sarcasm. I can totally wait. I need time to find a few more jobs and take out a second mortgage so we can almost afford the grocery bill.

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8. You must be prepared to go through LOTS. And LOTS. Of JEANS. I have written several blog posts about this very subject because seriously? Four boys later and I am still utterly astonished at how fast they can ruin a seemingly-sturdy pair. Denim is supposed to be this rugged fabric, and it may work for lumberjacks, but it’s no match for the crawling, scraping, staining, and scooting of little boys. I find this ironic, though, because …

9. You must be cool with nudity. I don’t know how my boys go through so many pairs of jeans because, hell, it isn’t like they wear them at home. In fact, it isn’t like they wear anything at home. In my experience, from the time they are physically able to remove their own clothing, they will. My boys start stripping down the instant they get home from school. Sometimes they lounge around in their underwear, and sometimes they forego the underwear altogether.

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Which brings us to my very last piece of advice …

10. You must get used to “The Grab.” I’m talking about the penis. The wiener. The tallywhacker. The wee-wee, the pee-pee, the goods, whatever term you use. They are going to grab it every chance they get (see #9 for an approximate estimation of just how many chances they get). Your adorable infant son will reach down to grab his as soon as you take his diaper off, and in my nine years of experience mothering boys, it doesn’t stop after that. They’ll pull on it, stretch it, flick it, anywhere, any time they can get access to it. They’ll do it in the bathtub and while watching TV. I have literally been forced to utter the phrase “Stop wrapping your penis around your fork.” They do it in a way someone might, say, bite their nails or twiddle their thumbs: automatically, absentmindedly, innocently, frequently. After a while, you won’t even notice.

… You’ll probably be too busy cleaning up messes or shopping for new jeans.

Related post: The 10 Best Things About Having All Boys

10 Things I’ve Taught My Son About Being A Man

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Image via Shutterstock

I wish you all could meet my oldest son. You guys, I did really good with this one, I really did. He is a doll. He is one of those people you just want to be around, the sort of person who makes you feel good just being in their company. He is funny and articulate and one of those people who sincerely cares about what other people think. He’s the kind of kid, all six foot three of him, who wanders into the kitchen and asks if he can help and then asks you a million questions about what you think is the best Bowie album. He is helpful and interesting and just has this huge heart and is very charismatic and ugh, he is a good guy. And he is a good guy because of me. OK, I can’t take all the credit, he has a great bio-dad and a wonderful stepfather and grandmas who adore him and lots of other people in his life who have helped to turn him into the man he is quickly becoming. But I have made an effort throughout his growing up to teach him some things that I think will help him get by in this great big world, and here are what I feel are some of the most important ones…

1. Always Be Kind To Animals, Young People, And Old People. Hopefully the majority of people you meet are kind to animals, old people and babies. But  in my life I have encountered people who say things like “I hate effing dogs” or they are rude and dismissive of little kids or they act all bored if they have to hold a conversation with someone over the age of 70. Sure, some people hate certain types of animals or will say things jokingly like “Kids annoy me” but nothing is more of a warning sign to me then someone who is an actual jerk to any of the above. Those people scare me.

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2. That Women Are Equal To Men. I talk about feminism in my house. My boys don’t call women “sluts” and they are taught to respect women. Yeah, it goes a lot deeper than that but we talk a lot about how not to be a dudebro around here.

3. That It Isn’t Always About You. This goes beyond empathy and includes things like opening the doors for people, offering seats to people, and just having general manners. I’ve taught my kid to ask questions and listen when people are talking and take the time to actually hear what they are saying.

4. How To Cook A Few Things. I’ve always been shocked at the adult men I’ve met who can’t throw together a decent meal that doesn’t include boiling water and opening a box of macaroni and cheese. All boys should know how to prepare a meal that doesn’t come from cans and jars, even if it’s making a salad or roasting a simple chicken and making rice.

5. How To Clean House. Mothers, do not send your sons out into this world expecting anyone else they should ever decide to live with to clean up after them. Teach them to properly vacuum, pick up their own shiz, and wash their own clothing. One day they will hopefully fall in love with someone. This person is not their maid, regardless of gender.

 6. About ‘Lady’ ThingsBefore I had a hysterectomy I was basically bleeding all day. Constantly. Maybe it was a lucky thing because I was very open about my reproductive issues and on occasion my sons witnessed me bleeding so profusely I had to be hospitalized. They have witnessed both me and their father throw bloody bedding into the wash. They have seen a gazillion tampon and pad boxes in the bathroom. One thing I plan on telling my daughter is that she should never ever ever sleep with a man who has issues running to the drugstore to pick her up tampons. I’ve taught my son that periods are nothing to be “grossed out” by.

7. To Appreciate Music. OK, I can’t take all the credit for this because so many of the people in his life love music, and all kinds of music. And as far as kids these days go, I think that if they enjoy music and insist on playing it at deafening volumes from their cool rooms they have made in the basement, they should at least know that Deadmau5 has been known to sample Chopin.

8. A Love Of Books. I was born to a family of readers and I’m raising a family of readers. I started sharing my favorite love of reading with my son from the first week he was born and I haven’t stopped. I’m always leaving books I have enjoyed on his bed and we all talk about books a lot. I think reading is pretty much the best thing in the world, second only to that thing people do when naked. I love reading, and I get on best with people who also love reading.

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9. To Earn Things. I’ve taught him that if he wants things in this life, he has to work for them. I don’t spoil him. I don’t do his assignments for him. I’ve taught him that if he wants a nice life he has to take steps in order to make this happen. He is lucky and blessed because he lives in a warm house and has enough food to eat and gets to attend a good school with excellent teachers. He is fully aware of the opportunities he has, and that it is up to him to appreciate these things and not take them for granted. Same with bonus items he wants like video games and recording equipment and date money. He wants these things, he has to earn them.

10. Not To Be An Asshole. This includes just being a generally nice person and having manners, but also to just not being an asshole. Stick up for the bullied. Speak out when you witness bigotry and racism. Call your friends out when they are calling girls “bitches.” Do the right thing. I decided to have this kid. I brought him into the world. It’s my job as a parent that I let him out into the world to do no harm and to hopefully make it a better place when he has the opportunity. He will fail, and make mistakes, and at times be in a jerky mood and drive me crazy. But overall, he’s someone I am proud of. I can’t take full responsibility for who he has become, but I like to think I helped a bit.

Related post: Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

This post first appeared on Mommyish

30 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Years of Parenting Boys

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boys

I am a mom to all boys. I am thrilled to be their mother and I don’t pretend that I am happy about it while secretly coveting daughters. I would have been happy with all girls, too, or with a mix of girls and boys. I just wanted children, ever since I can remember. Period.

My children are growing up, as children do, no matter how we try to press them down and keep them small by squishing them in tiny beds (like you don’t…). I’ve now entered my 18th year as a mother of all boys, and I’ve kept mental notes along the way of what I’ve learned, the hard way — sometimes the easy way…

1. Teach your boys to respect women and how to treat women. Women on the average are physically smaller and shorter than men, but this is only the physical. Mentally, and person value wise, women are equal to men. It sounds ridiculous to have to teach this, but it’s what we as mothers need to do. I turn off commercials that show women as less than capable or inferior or needy, because actions speak louder than words. I comment on magazine covers or ads that show women feeble and manipulative. I am now the second shortest person in my house, there are three taller than I am, and only the 5th grader has to look up to me when he speaks, but my voice in this house carries weight, because I have never backed down from issues or made myself appear as anything less than physically and mentally able. Is this the first and longest and most run on paragraph in this post? Yes, it is, because this one is the most important of what boys need from their mothers.

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2. Some boys will not want to talk as much as you do. Very possibly true. You may feel the need to ask and jump to the emotional right away, they may not. You know your child, his eyes will tell you if he needs some nudging to open up verbally. Otherwise, if they want to be left alone for awhile, oblige and give them that distance. But keep that one eye open, to their hearts, should they start hanging around you like they want to say something.

3. Say nice things to them. They may roll their eyes, but it still sounds like honey on toast. Drop them off at school with a “Knock ‘em dead, handsome,” and a “Whoa! Here’s some sunglasses for those lethal blue eyes!” They’ll think you’re a cornball, but inside, they love to hear someone is that gaga over them.

4. Always always always and always, let them know how glad you are they were born. No matter what. Never say you can’t wait until they’re gone or they move out or leave for college. No matter what the day has been like, NEVER say that.

5. Tell them you love them, and like them. Prescribed dosage is twice a day. For teens, as necessary. Via phone, text, email, notes left on the kitchen table, it all counts.

6. Teach them how to graciously give, and receive, an apology, by modeling it yourself.

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7. You are the sentinel at the internet gate. Have your household screens password protected and be the administrator for downloads/uploads on their electronics. Censoring? You bet it is. What they fill their minds with, stays. While you’re in control, plant the seed of a conscience. While you’re censoring, monitor their time on screens with a timer.

8. Remind them that they exist because the world demands their presence in it. Please, take part in your world, children.

9. Be visible in their schools or extra curricular activities. They feel pretty proud when it’s their mom reading in front of the classroom, teaching Sunday school, the one on Friday afternoons teaching JA, the boy scout leader, or the forensics coach. Parents are needed in so many places in and out of school. Don’t let the same ones always be doing the same work, you get on in there. Your boys will beam that it’s you.

10. Find out who their teachers are, the people they eat lunch with, and what they have for homework. Ask them about one of these things, every day.

11. Remind them to wear their seat belt and NEVER to text while driving. Every day, every time they leave. Say, “Please wear your seat belt. Don’t text. It’s safer that way.”

12. Ask them what they’d like more of, from you.

13. Talk to them about drugs, alcohol and sex, even if that’s not your thing. Tell them what drugs do to a young person’s brain and body, tell them what alcohol does to a young person’s brain and body, and tell them what too early sex does to a young person’s heart and soul. Also say, “Just because you’re physically able to do something doesn’t mean you should.”

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14. Teach them the difference between assertive and aggressive, by showing them how to ask for things they want. Model the behavior of cooperation seeking, rather than bullying and tell them that asking for something is the best way to get it. Reassure them in their attempts and encourage them to speak up for themselves. You can begin this with their interactions with teachers, and later on when talking for themselves at doctor appointments.

15. Congratulate them on their accomplishments, attempts, grades, projects, events, races, meets, competitions, papers, and debates. Tell them how proud you are, that you see the work they did, and how impressed you are with their dedication and self-direction. Never take the good in them for granted or as a given. Being a kid now is harder than it ever was.

16. Let them know your expectations. Set the bar as one of value, perseverance, effort, and challenge. Share your stories of when you pushed beyond your comfort zone, and how you triumphed, or not. Let them know that it’s in the push that we see the glory. And the glory is in the effort.

17. Teach them what is obvious to you – Do Your Best, Work Your Hardest, and Honor Your Commitments. Then show them.

18. Smile often, and tell them how much you enjoy being their mother. They don’t need to know about the intricacies of your adulthood, and don’t complain to them like they’re your friend out on girls’ night. Just let them know being their mother is the highlight of your life on this planet.

19. Don’t think you don’t matter. OH BOY, you matter. Attend any of their events when you can. When they see your face there, they have to stop themselves from bursting into a full grin. Even if you don’t see it. That’s what I tell myself, “Oh if he could smile that pearly smile right now, he so would.” They’re beaming inside.

20. If they act like they don’t need you, sometimes it’s because they don’t. Not always. Could be. And hard one to call, so take your cue, assess the situation. Look into their eyes and read between the lines of their voices. They’re biologically wired to seek independence and lead, but a well placed, kind, “Just let me know, I’m right here,” is a reassuring encouragement for new endeavors.

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21. Boys are the opposite sex of what their moms are. They’re not our carbon copies, remember this when you have times when you can’t understand them. Hormonally and biologically, they’re not female. The hormones testosterone and estrogen have separate purposes.

22. Make your house an emotionally safe, accepting place. Promise them you will always listen, then never break that promise. Whatever they come to you with, zip your lip, and listen. If you want your children to come to you and speak freely and openly, they’ve got to trust you.

23. Make your house a physically safe place. Don’t invite danger in. In all its forms. Watch who you bring into the home, and who you allow into the home. Even if they come with your child.

24. Take a deep breath before reactions. Don’t think parent/child, think human/person to person. This is especially important when they get older. Unless you’re teaching them how to drive and they look like they DON’T EVEN SEE THAT STOP SIGN OMG.

25. Squeeze in the little things they like. Sometimes that means getting up earlier, going to bed later, not finishing that book like you want to, but make the pumpkin bread that he loves in the fall. Fifty minutes of your time, but he smiles when he knows what he sees when he comes home from school. Loving your boys physically, verbally, emotionally, will not make them mama’s boys. It will just make them secure of how they matter in this world.

26. Teach them to value themselves and every bit of themselves. Let them hear you say over and over, “Don’t give yourself away lightly.”

27. Find a common hobby. Bike riding? Walks? Trips to the library? Reading books silently side by side? Looking through cookbooks? Seeing scifi movies together? Watching soccer plays of the week? Tennis at the playground or against the garage door? Community theater? You can find something. Don’t give up.

28. Guide them into independent decision making. Ask them what they think and why. Tell them you trust what they’ll do, and let them own that decision.

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29. Teach them to not waste water, use leftover water to water plants, and turn off the shower while you soap up. Give them a conscience about what needs to be treated with wonder and respect.

30. Tell them they can call you anytime, from anywhere, if they find themselves in a place/condition that is not right. You’ll come, no questions asked, you’ll fly there faster than Superman. Stick to that promise.

“Accept your child for who he is, and watch him blossom.” I’ve kept this in my heart, ever since my children were bitty toddlers and I read it in a parenting magazine. I keep those words at the ready, every day, and it’s the filter I speak through.

So much love to all you parents, and all that you do.

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