Everyone tells me that boys are easy.
“Oh, you’ve got two boys. They are so much easier than having girls. No drama.”
Really? Because where I am sitting, boys have a lot on their shoulders. One day my sons are going to (if they so choose) be the head of a family, provide for their wives and children, enter the professional world and become successful fathers, husbands and providers.
That’s kind of a lot of pressure on myself and my husband to raise them to be decent, good, loving human beings. Let’s face it. I’ve met some not so great boys and even worse men along the way. I look at those examples as everything I want my boys NOT to be.
In the spirit of looking to the future, (my boys have birthdays coming up) I thought of some of the little things I want my boys to know as they get older. Thinking of them growing up is hard, but with a little bit of humor, and truth, this piece has been fun to write on a snowy Sunday morning.
1: Being the “good guy” is always better than being the “bad boy.”
I’m not sure who made this a thing, but being a bad boy who gets the girl in popular culture is something I’m over. I get it, Danny was adorable in his leather T-Birds jacket and bad attitude, but now bad boy means something different.
“Girls love bad boys”. Eye roll. It’s 10-1 better to be someone in a position to get good grades, who people respect, and who is a compassionate, caring and worthy of someone’s time.
Please, for the love of God, don’t get swept up in this macho crap. When you’re four misdemeanors in, and your Daddy can’t get you out of MCR because you’re too far gone and the Judge throws the book at you, we’ll see how much you wanna be “the bad boy”. I will let you sit in jail and think of how stupid you were, trust me.
I’m telling you boys, I will bust your ass if you turn out like this.
2: That girl you’ll fall for in high-school will not be your soul mate.
This girl, she’ll be beautiful and perfect and probably a wonderful girl. I’ll love her and welcome her into our family. She’ll be around for a while, maybe four years even. She isn’t your soul mate. I promise, there’s life beyond high school. She will find it and so will you. Please, don’t go thinking you’ve found the one when you’re 17. Don’t neglect your friends, or not go on senior trip because so-and-so isn’t going. Don’t only do things with her, and get so caught up in being someone’s boyfriend that you miss high-school, those years are so fun and you can’t get them back.
Now, if by some chance you prove me wrong and end up marrying this gal, I’ll be the happiest person on planet earth. IF….she meets my standards as a person, future wife and future mother of my Grandchildren. And that’s a very strong IF.
3: When in doubt, ALWAYS open the car door.
Ya’ll are little right now, but I am going to make sure you know the importance of being gentlemen. It’s a lost art that is really only intact here in the South because of Moms like me who stress it’s ever loving importance. You should always treat ladies with nothing less than the respect you treat me, your Mother. I don’t care how much you dislike someone, if she’s a lady you better be respectful, gracious and mindful of your manners. This means opening doors for old biddies, saying Yes Ma’m to the horrible teacher you can’t stand, and helping carry groceries out of Food City for anyone who is pregnant, has a thousand kids, or just needs your general manly help. Remember this.
4: Sports are fun, but I doubt you’re ever going pro. Sorry, honey.
Sports are fun, but they are for recreational purposes only. I will always let my children play whatever they want to play, and never force them if they don’t want to. What I disagree with is being a stage Mom who believes ya’ll are gonna be D1 prospects by the time you graduate high-school. I know those chances are slim, and while I would love for that to happen for you guys and you all to make millions tossing around some sort of ball, it’s unrealistic. You will play for fun and fun only. No crazy soccer Mom stuff from me, I promise.
5: I don’t expect you all to be lawyers like your Dad. BUT, you’ll get some type of an education if I have to drag you every step of the way.
Do I expect ya’ll to suffer through law school like your Dad? No. But I’ll say this, it’s very hard to make it in the world unless you have an education. There are plenty of options if “school just isn’t for you.” You will have some sort of education or educational training before I turn you loose in the world.
6: I know you’re going to try to sneak out, try alcohol, and run wild. You can’t outsmart me. I’ve done it all.
Please. I’ve already scoped out which windows are accessible from ground level, and what doors open silently without so much as a creak. I know your sneaky tricks, trust me, because I was a sneaky trickster once myself. SPOILER ALERT: You can’t get anything over on me. You can’t fool me. You can’t come home with a mouth full of vodka and try to hide it. I WILL CATCH YOU. If you try to sneak out of my house, I will find you and embarrass you.
Like my Dad always told me,
“You can’t outs*** a bullsh*****.”
7: There will be a lot of times that you won’t particularly like your Dad and myself. I understand it.
There will a lot times when you slam your door and curse my name. I promise you, everything I do is for your own good. I promise, you’ll get it one day when you have kids of your own and all you want to do is keep them in a glass bubble. When I tell you no to going somewhere, it’s because I know what you’ll do once you’re there. If I tell you that those friends you like so much are no good, it’s because they aren’t. Only a Mom has your best interests at heart.
8: The world is a big place, go explore.
I want nothing more for you guys than to go out and explore. See the world. Do all the things I never did, see everything I never have. I would love for you to see life beyond this small town. Travel, see different countries, taste different foods, experience different cultures. Figure out what you want out of the world and go get it. Life is too short not to.
9: Never settle for anything, baby.
Never settle for anything. Never. Never settle for crappy friends. A crappy life. A crappy job. Make your life yours, under your own terms and be sure that everything you have is what you want. Don’t stop until you’re completely happy.
10: Wherever life takes you, remember one thing. I love you and you can always come home.
If you hit some bumps along the way, know that your rooms are still here and you can always come home, regroup and recharge. Complete with a home cooked meal and plenty of Dad jokes from your Father.
Maybe I’ll give this piece to the boys when they’re old enough to read. As it is, I’m writing about them like they are already grown up and about to leave me. (They are 2 and 4) It seems like I’ll blink my eyes and that time will be here.
I always want them to remember the importance of little things, because those little things are actually big things.
I hope they never lose sight of who they are, where they come from, and the importance of being kind, honest and genuine people who are just trying to make their way in the world.
We’ll file this one in the archives under “read later” and hope until then that these boys don’t kill me.