Things I’ve learned from raising my little boys (so far).
This post brought to you by Green Works. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Clarks Condensed.
“So, when are you going to try and have a girl?”
I feel like I was asked this question as soon as we found out Oliver was a boy.
It doesn’t bother me – it just kind of makes me laugh.
Would we love and adore a daughter someday? Of course!
But will we be equally happy and thrilled if we “only” have boys? Absolutely.
I love being a mom of boys thus far. I remember when I first found that Jack was a boy, I thought, “What on earth am I going to do with a boy?!”, especially since my three sisters were having girls at the same time.
However, I quickly learned that I adored having a boy – and that it was even more fun when we added a second one.
Now I think, “What on earth would I do with a girl?!”
I have seen a lot of articles about raising boys – the ups and downs, the triumphs and downfalls. And most of them I can relate with.
So, I thought I’d write my own post – what I’ve learned from raising my little boys. These might not be applicable to all boys, and I’m sure some of them can are applicable to raising little girls. But this is more my thoughts on the lessons I’ve learned thus far raising my little ones.
Trains, Superheroes, Transformers, and LEGO
This progression of interests seems to be pretty typical with most little boys I know – and definitely with my boys. Anything with wheels? Awesome. Trains? Even better!
Then, the rest of those interests follow. I always feel a little sad when one stage of toys has ended (though I admit, I’m okay with LEGO obsession ending faster. Those hurt!).
Since I have little boys, this is my justification for never getting rid of any toys when Jack gets older. Why spend money twice on the same thing?!
Pee is everywhere
As a female, I just can’t understand how pee can get everywhere – but as a mother of two little boys, I’m starting to understand.
From the first time your change a diaper and get sprayed to potty training and beyond, I feel like pee is just everywhere.
I’ll never forget the time about 6 months ago when I walked into the bathroom and discovered that a certain someone had missed the toilet and hit the bathtub wall.
Part of me was appalled, yet the other part of me couldn’t help but laugh.
I’m just grateful to have a good cleaner that makes it easy to clean up with no residue and does a good job of hiding that boy-ish smell. Clorox Green Works bathroom cleaner is *amazing*. Plus, it’s 99% naturally derived, so I know that our constant cleaning of the bathroom isn’t leaving behind unsafe residue for my babes. They are pretty inexpensive, too, especially if you save with Target and buy them there.
They are the best cuddlers
I know that whenever I need a hug or cuddle, I can count on one of my boys. There’s nothing sweeter than them giving me a hug “just because”, and I’m lucky that it happens regularly in our house!
It especially makes me feel good that Oliver loves to cuddle me, because he can hardly stand when anyone else touches him. Ha! So I know I mean something special to him 🙂
Most days I’m just grateful I kept them alive
Forrest and I always joke that we consider it a successful day if neither of the boys got hurt.
Especially when kids are younger, they seem to be attracted to the most dangerous places, can find the most obscure, small things to put in their mouth, and think that climbing is the best thing in the world.
Oliver has especially been giving us a run for our money lately, and it’s a good reminder to me that my job is simple – keep them safe and raise them well.
I do my best, and often it comes down to picking safer products to use in our house. I may not be able to always prevent my kids from falling, but I can at least make sure that if they lick the floor or something like that, they won’t be harmed from the products we used.
Chivalry is Not Dead
I love that Jack wants to open my car door and does his best to help others. He’s truly the sweetest little boy, and that’s something I hope he will continue to do as he gets older. I believe that if we encourage it, he will, and others will be blessed because of it.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to show kindness and respect for others – even if it seems like no one else does!
The Emotions are Real
If anyone tells you that it’s just girls who are emotional – they are lying! My boys certainly are in touch with their emotions, and honestly, I think that’s a good thing. I try my best to encourage them to not hide them, either.
I shouldn’t be surprised though, seeing as I come from a family where all the men are quite emotional!
Jack is especially in tune with others emotions. He can pick up on people feeling sad, or frustrated, or whatever, and he’s so good at making sure you are okay. I don’t feel well very often, and it really is sweet for Jack to often say, “Mommy, I know you aren’t feeling well. I’m so sorry. I hope you’ll feel better soon.”
Rough Housing and Loud Noises come Pre-programmed
Once upon a time, I would say, “My children will never be loud. They will never ruin things. And they will definitely never think burps, toots, and all other bodily noises are hilarious.”
Fast forward to reality when I realized that despite my best efforts, these things just seem to happen. While I do think that Jack is one of the most polite children around, he still just seems to think he needs to make noise whenever possible, wrestling is his favorite thing to do (especially with his daddy), and he can’t help but giggle when he hears a burp.
Such is the life, and I just do my best to enjoy the ride.
Big Appetites Start Young
The other day at the store, someone commented on me having two boys and how we’ll go through tons of loaves of bread once they get older.
Boys and their big appetites is no myth – and it certainly starts younger than teenagehood. Oliver will eat everything and anything, and I swear he never seems full. Forrest sometimes jokes that he would probably survive a zombie apocalypse because he can find food where no other can.
And Jack…oh, he’s always hungry. He always wants another snack. And he’s always hungry an hour before bedtime.
I’m pretty sure they’ll eat us into the poor house long before the teenage years hit 😉 That’s why I use certain apps like Carthweel. You can save with Cartwheel on food and household products – every little bit counts. I just saved 15% on my Green Works cleaning products the other day!
Baths are Synonymous with Torture
Some people talk of their children that love baths.
I swear these are unicorn children, because no child of mine has ever loved bathtime as a baby or toddler.
Jack is almost five, and he’s *just* barely gotten to the point where he likes to take baths. We spent many years of him crying the entire time…and Oliver is the same way.
Imagination is Amazing
The imagination of a child is incredible. Truly incredible. I think I sometimes come across as “strict” because we really limit the screen time our boys get, but it really is because we feel that it helps encourage their imagination more.
I absolutely love listening to the scenarios Jack comes up with when he’s playing. It is a very sweet thing to witness, and I can’t help but hope he holds on to even an inkling of that as he grows up. I’ve also discovered that it doesn’t take much for them to use their imagination – it’s pretty amazing to see what a kid can do with a cardboard box!
They are never too young to learn to clean and cook
I strongly believe that it’s important to teach your children life skills like cooking and cleaning from a young age.
Jack has grown up thus far helping me cook and bake, and it’s become something we really enjoy doing together.
We also share a common dislike for cleaning, but I still push through and have my kids clean. You can give them simple jobs to start with – such as cleaning with disposable cleaning wipes and picking up after themselves. Oliver has even learned how to pick up his toys – and he’s just 16 months!
It’s all about picking age appropriate tasks. They obviously can’t turn on the hot oven and cook something in the oven, but they can pour ingredients into a bowl.
You can’t really expect them to clean with harsh chemicals and vacuum the whole house, but you can ask them to dust and make an effort to buy products that are safe for them to be around. While I don’t let Jack use all of the Green Works products, I do love being able to let him use the disposable cleaning wipes – they can really do a lot!
They grow far too fast
When people say, “Enjoy this time – it goes too fast”, when you are in the midst of sleepless nights and endless diaper changes, it might make you want to roll your eyes.
But I can tell you with 100% certainty that it’s true – it does go too fast.
I can hardly think about Jack turning five next month without tearing up. Wasn’t he my teeny, tiny little baby just a few weeks ago?
Every time I see a dirty hand print on the wall, or all of Jack’s toys strewn across the floor (or chipped paint on the wall from the baby gate rubbing against it), I try not to stress out too much – heaven knows I’ll be wishing for these days soon enough.
When I go to wash the hand prints off, I sometimes let them stay a little bit longer, for the next time I see one on the wall, it will probably be just a little bit bigger.