It’s a Boys’ World

by Abby on October 26, 2011

Underwear makes a good hat, right?This thought occurred to me one recent morning as three boys ran around my house wearing underpants on their heads, laughing hysterically: “Oh my god. I have BOYS.”

Of course, this wasn’t the first time since giving birth to my two sons that I realized I was surrounded by testosterone. (The third underpants-wearer was the kids’ friend, BTW. Not my husband.) But as they get bigger and turn into real boys instead of babies, I am constantly confronted with their maleness. And also, their underpants, stinky feet, and penis jokes.

I grew up with an older brother and I don’t care much for pink, so it’s not like I imagined myself playing Barbies with a gaggle of girls when I became a mom. And despite what the baby-pushers urging me to “try for a girl” might think, I’m not devastated that I don’t have a daughter. I love my boys. And now that I’m a mom of ONLY boys, I can’t picture myself as anything but.

There’s a hilarious passage in Kyran Pittman’s memoir, Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life. The mother of 3 boys, Pittman remarks that little girls are now as strange to her as boys once were. She writes:

Whenever I babysit one of my friend’s daughters, I am at an absolute loss. I’m used to boys coming over and running off with the herd. The girls stay at my elbow, looking up at me expectantly. They want to talk. I never know what to say. “Crayons?” I offer, as if holding out a pack of cigarettes. “Something to read?” It’s awkward, like having a foreign exchange student over for tea. Boys are the devil I know.

It’s so true. A little girl comes over, and I can’t get past her cute shoes or her new bangs. I don’t know what else to talk about. What is WRONG with me? The last time I watched a friend’s daughter, she wanted to sit in my lap the whole time and read books. Fine, but after a book or two I kept expecting her to sprint off somewhere or start diving off the back of the couch while I read a magazine.

When I changed her diaper, I braced for the battle I usually have with my toddler son. But this little girl not only lay there compliantly, but helpfully handed me a wipe instead of grabbing her privates and trying to kick me in the face. It was a strange new world, folks.

As much as I hate to perpetuate gender stereotypes, there’s no denying that boys and girls are different. I will never be a full member of the boys’ club in my family. This becomes apparent when, in response to our 2yo calling a random woman in the grocery store a “chucklehead” to her face, my husband snorts with laughter instead of reprimanding his son for being rude. (Although I will admit that I also thought it was funny. The first time.) Or when Dad’s idea of “winding down” before bedtime involves shirtless moshing to the Dropkick Murphys.

Oh, well. What can I do? It’s a boys’ world, and I’m just living in it. Lucky for them. Or those underpants on their heads probably wouldn’t be clean.

LINK O’ THE DAY: This post was inspired by a new blog I found, This mom of 3 boys blogs about what she calls her “Dude Mom Life.” Yep, that’s me. Mom of Dudes.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Malia Jacobson October 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm

MAGAZINE? Having boys means you get to read a MAGAZINE while they play??? Wow, that is a strange new world, indeed. 🙂


Abby October 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

Ha! Sometimes when the boys are wrestling or drag-racing Matchbox cars on the kitchen floor, I can read a few pages.


Adrienne Gomer October 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Oh man, this post just confirmed all my worst fears. When I was pregnant with my daughter I said, “this better be a girl” because I knew I wasn’t prepared for any of what you just described. Luckily she was and now that I’m pregnant again I am saying the same thing “this better be a girl” not just because boys scare the bejesus out of me, but who else is going to wear the thousands of dollars worth of adorable clothes I’ve bought over the past two and a half years? I always knew having a boy was like that and having a girl is pretty much exactly how you described (on most days) and I wouldn’t want it any other way. You are a strong, strong woman.


Abby October 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

I’m with you on the clothes, but boys aren’t scary. Active, yes. Energetic, yes. Risk-takers, yes. But they’re actually very sweet, too.


Lou Mello October 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

You have nailed the spirit of boys dead on, they are just different and totally goofy when they are young. I am the oldest of 3 boys in my family and I am amazed to this day that we survived childhood and that the houses we lived in are still standing. We played football, basketball and baseball as kids…IN THE HOUSE!!! My Mother just gave up the whole discipline thing at some point. I guess it never really mattered anyway, one brother is a dentist, another a banker and I’m ….well….just not really sure what the heck I am.

Girls are fabulous and I love my daughter more than anything, but, couldn’t throw her around the house like a beanbag like I could my brothers.

Just give in and go with the flow…and think about rubber walls in the house. 🙂


Abby October 27, 2011 at 9:37 am

Oh my goodness, your poor mother. 🙂 My MIL raised 3 boys as well, and she reminds me that yes, there’s a point where you just have let go and let them do what they do. As long as no one’s bleeding, I guess it’s all good.


Angie October 29, 2011 at 5:55 am

Even though I have a girl on the way, I relate to this post 100%. I had no idea I’d be a boy mom, but I quickly learned that it suits me. I’m not a Barbie, fairy princess kind of person. (But I also thought I wasn’t a Transformers/Spongebob person either).

Boys rock. They ground me and provide a level of fun and laughter I never imagined. I’m looking forward to having a girl. But I didn’t “try” for her. In fact, those insinuations annoyed me to no end. But I’m sure I’ll discover I have it in me to be a girl mom, too.

I guess that’s what kids, do. They surprise us.


stephanie February 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Abby, this post is helpful to me and I go back and read it occassionally as I am the SAHM of a 2 yr old boy. I swear I don’t know where he came from! My entire family was girl growing up- aunts, grandmother, mom, sister- and now my sister has 2 little girls! It’s girl city! I guess it’s been almost 3 yrs since that tech told me she thought she could see boy parts and I just kept wanting a second opinion.
Anyway, here I am, 2 yrs in and almost daily I find myself questioning some of the stuff he does as to if he is actually insane, or if it is “normal’ boy behavior!
Anyway, thank you for your posts- they help keep me going in this boy’s world I now live in, too. (I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, either.)


Abby February 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Thanks, Stephanie. Always nice to hear from another “boy mom.” Stay strong! 🙂


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