7 Things I Didn’t Expect About Mothering Boys

Karen Patten

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t think I was prepared for boys. But, knowing what I know, I wouldn’t change it for the world. From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about mothering boys to become men we will be proud of.  Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! 

I love this quote that I’ve seen floating around recently about mothering boys.

“Being a boy mom will absolutely, gloriously wreck you.”

It’s from Sara Frank at Frankly, Sara. And I couldn’t agree more. If you’re raising boys – this will completely hit home for you!

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

I’ll be honest. My “expectations” about having children were almost nonexistent. Before mothering boys, my experience with children was limited to holding a baby. Once. For five minutes. So I was a pretty blank canvas.

When I found out that we were having a boy, my first thought was terror: “Somebody has made a mistake! I can’t even catch a ball! How can I possibly raise boys?” But my lasting thought was what a blessing because boys always really love their mommies. A stereotype, maybe, but truth.

There’s Nothing Better Than A Boy’s Imagination

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

Related Post You May Also Like: 10 Cool Activities and Games for Boys Who Love to Tinker

I am so happy that my boys both have grand imaginations! We were very intentional about creating a space where young imaginations could develop and thrive. What has surprised me was that “boy imaginations” focus almost exclusively on good guys, bad guys, weapons, destruction, trapping, catapults, bombs, submarines, boats, armies, chases, tanks, swords, shields, fire, fire engines, police cars, warfare, or pee (had to mention that one).

The developed imagination of a single boy can take any innocuous household item and turn it into a trap, a catapult, a bomb, a jail, an enclosure, a holding cell, an ambush, a lair, a cave or a hideout.

And weapons? You name it and boys can turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. I guarantee you I could give my boys cotton balls and they could figure out how to turn them into weapons of mass destruction in no time flat. Didn’t expect that.

Boys Don’t Care About Clothes As Early

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

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When we found out we were pregnant with our second son, I was thrilled! I knew I wanted a second boy. But there was a very tiny moment when I was sad at the thought of not getting to shop for Ruffle Butts. I wanted pink, fluffy Ruffle Butts.

But then I remembered that dressing boys is so much easier than dressing girls. Boys are easy: shorts (or pants) and shirts. That’s it. They don’t really care. And by the time they do care, they pick out their clothes and get dressed on their own.

When you’re shopping for boys you can’t miss with camo or anything with a lot of pockets. They are collectors. Of lots of things. Things that must be stored in pockets.

Ok, on second thought forget everything I just said about clothes. Nudity is the thing. Boys enjoy being nude. A lot. Didn’t expect that.

Boys Eat. A Lot. And Early.

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

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I knew to expect that the boys would eat a lot. I’ve heard stories.

What I didn’t know how was early they would start eating a lot. I mean, a lot. I thought I had until the teenage years before I needed to concern myself with how much they ate. Many days they each eat more than I do.

When I shop for say, pork chops, I buy 5. Everyone has one, but my older son gets two. And sometimes the younger one muscles in on it. Pork chops. He’s seven and the little one is four.

I’m starting a savings account for groceries during the teen years. Like, now. Didn’t expect that so soon.

Blessed With Snuggly Boys

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

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I expected that little boys would love their mothers in a really special way. But what I didn’t expect was how willing they would be to talk about how much they love me and how happy they are to snuggle and cuddle. When he was three, my oldest asked me to marry him! I’m amazed at how open and vulnerable these loving little boys are.

My older son is much more expressive with his emotions. My younger son tries so desperately to hide his emotions and never wants to talk about them. But he completely wears his heart on his sleeve. I can read everything on his face.

I expected more toughness more emotional reserve. But they both have the most vulnerable and tender of hearts. Which makes me mushy. Didn’t expect that.

Encouraging Your Boy’s Courage

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

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I knew boys would play rough and tumble. I knew they would love pretending to be courageous heroes. I expected the blood, scrapes, and bruises that come along with all the rough and tumble. (We haven’t had broken bones yet…but I won’t be surprised if they come).

But my boys are also truly deeply courageous, not just play courageous. My older son used to be afraid of heights and we have an upstairs hall that is open on both sides to the family room below. When he was two, I silently watched from below as he held his breath and slowly, slowly inched his way across the open part of that hall to conquer his fear.

It really took my breath away to witness such courage when he was only two. I’ve been privileged to witness many such moments for both boys since then. Didn’t expect that.

Mothering Boys’ Who Play

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about raising boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

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I expected boys to be all into sports. And many are, just not mine. They enjoy playing sports, but it’s not “their thing.” So what happened instead? I read a definition of boy once: “Boy: n. A noise with dirt on it.” Yup. That’s pretty accurate. I feel like the Grinch sometimes:

They rush for their toys! And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! – from The Grinch Who Stole Christman, Dr. Seuss

There are things that boys consider fun that I will just never see the fun in. And they all involve noise of some sort: smashing, bashing, screaming, pulling, pushing, banging, knocking, crashing, jumping, hurling, or catapulting (a family favorite). It’s all fun to them.

It’s all fun that is, right up until the moment that somebody gets smashed, bashed, pulled, pushed, banged, knocked, crashed, jumped on, hurled, or catapulted (again, a family favorite).

The noises all sound pretty much the same to me – sometimes I can’t tell if they are playing happily or trying to kill one another. But I’ve gotten used to it. Didn’t expect that.

How Much Being a Boy Mom Fills My Heart Surprised Me

So after my experiences to date, I have to conclude that a lot of raising boys is nature and not nurture. Hardware, not software, if you will.

But I’ve also concluded that the Universe knew exactly the right choice to make for me. Boys are the perfect fit for me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Didn’t expect that.


Don’t Forget to Pin This to Come Back to and To Share With Friends!

From one boy mom to another – here are some every-day truths about mothering boys from toddlers to teenagers to be men we are proud of. Mothers of boys are totally and beautifully wrecked with love – and here are some of the surprising challenges of parenting boys as well as tips and advice that will encourage you and have you nodding your head in agreement! #boymom #raisingboys #boys #motheringboys www.themidlifemamas.com

38 Comments

  1. […] The other day, my good friend Karen, from SpOIL My Family, and I were talking about just how different our ACTUAL kids are from the gender stereotypes we had expected.  Sweet Karen has two adorable little boys and I have two precious little girls!  We thought it would be interesting to really lay it out and see just how our expectations for girls/boys aligned (or MISaligned) with the reality of raising those boys and girls.  Be sure and check out her awesome perspective here. […]



  2. Megan Gonzalez on September 9, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for writing this post. It’s helped calm my fears a little. My husband and I are looking to have kids in a year or two and I’m terrified of having girls. I was raised in a two-daughter house and so was my mom. That’s what I want! So of course, my husband wants boys, or at least one and one. I would have no clue what to do with boys! It scares me. But this has helped me to see the good side of little boys too.



    • Karen Patten on September 11, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      You’re so welcome!!!! Boys are totally amazing! And I’ve learning to love so many of their cool toys – building blocks and dragons are some of my faves!



  3. Sasha on September 15, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I can totally relate! I was afraid of having a boy but then I did and I realize they do have big imaginations and they are easy to dress… And mine like going around “shirtless” as my now 4 year old said. We have 3 boys and 3 girls… The boys are easier!



    • Karen Patten on September 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      What is it with the no clothes thing???? Hahahaha! Boys are so fun!!



  4. Tove Maren on September 15, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I love this! I have four boys – and you are spot on! How is it that everything is turned into a weapon or a superhero-something… but the best part: THEY DO LOVE THEIR MAMA! Oh boy – we have four mama’s boys in our house! I have to share this on my FB – it’s too good!



    • Karen Patten on September 15, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Thank you so much!!! Having boys, for me, was SUCH a blessing in disguise! I now think they have much cooler toys and books 🙂 Lucky you – four mama’s boys!!!!



  5. Clare Speer on September 15, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    so so sweet! this was such a cute post for me right now – I am going to become a first time grandmother to a grandSON in a few months! (We have all girls in our family)!!!!! 🙂



    • Karen Patten on September 16, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Awwwww! Then he will be so special as the only boy! Be careful – he’ll have you wrapped around his little finger soooooooo fast! Congratulations!



  6. Melissa on September 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I have two boys too and I can totally 100 percent relate! I have never been jumped on so many times in my life! And oh my gosh the food – sometimes my 10 month old can out eat my 3 year old. He ate an entire banana at lunch time in about 2 minutes and it was like his long as his arm and I bet if I had offered him a second banana, he would have eaten that entire banana too.



    • Karen Patten on September 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

      Oh! The jumping on!!! It’s crazy! But they love it 🙂 We can start our savings accounts for groceries at the same time!



  7. Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla on September 17, 2015 at 1:56 am

    WOW! These photos you captured are awesome! Like WOW! And your article itself entertained me to the fullest! I have a one year old and you gave me a moment to think and picture him doing all these things! Thank you for letting me into your world and displaying it so wonderfully! 😀



    • Karen Patten on September 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      One year is such a wonderful age! I admit that when they begin talking it’s one of my favorite stages; you’ve been waiting for a long time to know exactly what’s going on in that sweet little head! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!



    • Karen Patten on September 18, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Thanks for stopping by.



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  12. Robyn on October 15, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Love this post so much! I have one baby boy, 11 months old & I love being mum to a son, I wouldn’t even mind if all the rest that come after him (if we’re lucky enough to have more!) are little boys too. This gives me so much to look forward to as I watch him change from a baby boy into a little boy. Love the part about your boys being able to turn cotton balls into lethal weapons!



  13. Robyn on October 15, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Love this post so much! I have one baby boy, 11 months old & I love being mum to a son, I wouldn’t even mind if all the rest that come after him (if we’re lucky enough to have more!) are little boys too. This gives me so much to look forward to as I watch him change from a baby boy into a little boy. Love the part about your boys being able to turn cotton balls into lethal weapons! #TheHappyHomeLife



    • Karen Patten on October 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      I haven’t had girls – so I can’t say anything about that. But having boys has been so much more fun and rewarding than I first feared. Enjoy that sweet baby boy – and take lots of naps!



  14. Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies on October 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I’m quickly discovering a lot of these things now as my son grows! He’s only 2 1/2 and is a big handful with a heart of gold. 😀 Love this post – Thanks so much for linking up this post over at #TheHappyHomeLife linky party!



    • Karen Patten on October 19, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      I love #TheHappyHomeLife linky party! I’m glad you enjoyed the post – boys are the best handful 🙂



  15. Mother of 3 on January 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    YES! I have three boys and this all is true! They are messy and loud and crazy and we have had broken bones and stitches… but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!



    • Karen Patten on January 2, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Sometimes I still just have to take a deep breath thinking about how amazing these (sometimes foreign) little creatures are!!! 🙂 Today mine actually found a plunger at the hardware store that was “shaped” like a rifle. It made a shooting noise – needless to say – we were in the plumbing aisle for a long time 🙂



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  17. Shara on January 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Great post, thanks. I have three daughters and then I had a boy who is now 1! I didn’t expect him to be so different! So I really relate to this post. Til 9 months he was just the same then boom, he learnt to crawl, and he hasn’t stopped moving since then. He walked months before the girls, climbs everything, opens cupboards, and escape out doors. I have had to childproof in a whole new way. I never felt an enormous responsibility to keep my girls alive like I do with him! And boy can he eat, like all day long.
    Thanks for the insights into the years to come.



    • Karen Patten on January 13, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Your comment cracked me up! Thank you – I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! Hope to see you back soon!



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  21. Erin on May 27, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Oh my gosh, you are so right about boys! Perfect post and spot on!



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  25. Stefanie on May 18, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I have two boys 5 and 3 best years. Laughter and tear came out reading your post, its all true. For me they are the best. Also have favorite my are legos and cars, never thought I will have some many boys toys. In my house we are all girls, it weird for me.



    • Karen Patten on May 21, 2018 at 9:06 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!



  26. […] wrote 7 Things I Didn’t Expect About Raising Boys with my friend Hillary at The Cole Mines. Hillary wrote a similar post about her two […]



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Hi, I’m Karen, the Atlanta mama, writer, and creator at Intentional Family Life. I’m a passionate advocate for intentional living so that you can experience all that you deserve for yourself and your family. Here, I inspire moms to chose what matters most and then to only do the things that move them closer to what matters most. Read More About Karen…

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