When I meet someone for the first time and they hear that I have four sons I often hear one of the following comments…
“Better you than me!’
“Wow, how do you manage it?”
“So, you’re the queen?”
Never in all my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be a mother of four boys. When the doctor placed my first born in my arms eighteen and a half years ago and announced that it was a boy, I actually panicked a little bit. I thought, “What am I going to do with him? I don’t know anything about dinosaurs or airplanes!” Seven years later, our fourth son was born. He was perfect and my husband and I were excited and proud. Then it hit me… this was our last child and I didn’t have a daughter. I must be honest and admit that I felt alone.
As I was raising my young sons, I’d find myself looking at clothes and toys that were targeted for girls.
I’d walk through the aisles making comments in my head….
Pink tutu and blinking wand… maybe.
Purple sparkly bike with ribbons on the handles… definitely.
Yellow dress with matching daisy purse… absolutely.
Hair bows… buy them all!
And then I’d head back to the land of blue and red with many less options. Fortunately, boys don’t care as much. They’re fine with less options and don’t need matching accessories; which makes my life easier.
Being the only female in a house of males can be challenging. I quickly learned about dinosaurs, trains, and airplanes. I watch football, baseball, and hockey as I try to keep up with stats and scores so I can join in the dinner conversations. But I also do my best to point out things to my all male crew that might not be obvious to them. Things such as the beauty of flowers, the joy of shopping (I’m still working on that one), the happiness that dressing up can bring, and explaining why I need so many pairs of shoes. I still feel like a fish out of water at times, but I make it my mission to help my sons understand the unique differences between men and women.
My husband and I have brought them up in a home full of love, and have made sure that they have a relationship with Christ. We are fair, but firm. I like the verse Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” This verse speaks to fathers, but I think it is easily applicable to mothers as well.
As our sons have gotten older, I feel that I have an important role in making sure that they have stayed true to who they are and not the norms that society believes young men should be. If you’ve seen any of the video game covers or watched a commercial during a football game, you know what I’m talking about. I want them to be the type of man that I’d want my daughter to date. Through this, I realized that I had an opportunity to teach them about being a true gentleman. We talk about sex, drinking, drugs, and why certain images of women are offensive.
Don’t get me wrong, my four are not perfect. They are loud, smelly at times, and argue with each other. They don’t always fold their laundry (even though I tell them several times) and don’t always want to share. But they have good hearts and have developed into God-loving young men. Two of our sons have been on mission trips to Africa and Guatemala. Our third son raised over $1,000 from a lemonade stand and donated it all to charity. Our youngest son helps his grandparents and refuses money.
Through our relationship with Christ, our sons see models for happy, healthy lives. They appreciate the relationship that all six of us have and want to maintain it. I’m sure that they will make some mistakes along the way, but will feel confident that they know they can ask us for help and forgiveness.
So my advice to young moms is this: do your best each day and apologize if necessary. Be honest with your kids and talk to them about your struggles. Pray with them. Be a model for them and let them know that they are loved by you and God. And don’t forget to do something nice for yourself every once in a while!