By: Jennifer Murray

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Boy Mom

things i learned by being a boy mom

I’ll never forget laying on the examining table as an ultrasound revealed that I was carrying four BOYS.  It seemed foreign, surreal, and overwhelming to process. I never imagined what a houseful of boys looked like. Hadn’t the rarity and shock of being pregnant with four at the same time been enough to wrap my head around?

Fast forward five years, as cliché and cheesy as it may sound, I wouldn’t have it any other way. These boys are living a life of brotherhood that makes grown men envious. They wake up to a day of uncharted adventures and go to sleep surrounded with their best buddies. I’m blessed everyday to be surrounded by their giggles, scheming, imaginations, and the unique ways they love me in return.

It may not always be pretty or clean or calm or what I expected, but it’s a life full of beauty. Everyday, I’m learning more about how they are wired, how they learn, and hopefully how they can thrive best.

Here are a few things being a boy mom has taught me thus far:

1. Boys need adventure. They need to be able to act out rescue missions, explore nature’s playground, get grass stained knees, and take some {supervised} risks. They learn so much through experience rather than just instruction.

exploring nature and having adventures with boys

2. Boys ruin stuff. Most of the time it’s completely unintentional.  They aren’t doing it to be destructive and unappreciative.  They are just the innately rougher gender. Although I want them to understand that things have value, I want them to grasp that their hearts are more important than just “stuff”.  Their attitudes and character should demand more of my attention than an unintentional spill on the the carpet or crayon on the wall.

3. Boys eat up your encouragement as much as the food in your pantry. There’s not much that lights them up more than a verbal assurance that they are brave, smart, handsome, kind, or responsible.

reading a bedtime story with daddy in bunk bed

4. Boys’ fun is loud. This wasn’t an easy adjustment for me. I grew up with a 9 year gap between myself and my closest in age brother.  Therefore, a lot of my childhood functioned almost like an only child. I was accustomed to parents who didn’t raise their voice and I played contently in quiet.  Sometimes I have to take breaks from the constant rumble, but there’s beauty in the noise if you listen.

5. Boys need boundaries. Their hearts need instruction, direction, and an understanding of what is expected. Our house could be pure chaos and disorder if we allowed them to rule the roost.  And while that may sound “easier” or more fun, it’s not where they thrive best. Boundaries as stale as it sounds,  give way to less stress, less disappointment, and  less commotion. Things go so much smoother when we communicate what our boys should anticipate, and what we expect from them in certain situations. It also gives them freedom to be wild and rowdy when appropriate. It simplifies things – and that’s where we flourish.

boundaries in raising boys

How about YOU – what has parenting boys/girls taught you?

71 Responses to “5 Things I’ve Learned as a Boy Mom”

  1. Sandy a la Mode
    May 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    i am a mama of a new little baby boy!! i loved reading this to get an insight of what my future life will be like! 😀
    Sandy a la Mode recently posted.. The Bad and The Good

  2. Jen
    May 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    All kids need boundaries! They may be mad about it, because they are not getting their way… But your the parent nd parents set boundaries ( and follow through).

  3. Jessie
    May 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I am about to give birth to my 4th boy! I too have struggled with the loudness of their fun-having ways. I was always close to my sisters, so having all boys has certainly been an adjustment. But what I have learned is that their band of brotherhood is every bit as wonderful as my sisterly bonds, and when I realized that, I was able to more enjoy their boy-ness and brotherly-ness…if that makes sense. They’re pretty great!

  4. Victoria@Snailpacetransformations
    May 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    For me I experienced almost the opposite. Although I only had a sister growing up I was always a tom boy. When I had my first boy I breathed a sigh of relief. When I had the second I was thrilled. When the third came out a girl, I was a bit scared. Would she be a girly girl. Would she want me to do her nails and hair! (how does one do nails and hair) Would she grow to detest me because I wasn’t a girly girl mom. But so far things are working out just fine. I have learned to make a passable bun in her hair. So far my less than perfect nail polish application is okay and she doesn’t detest me yet!
    Victoria@Snailpacetransformations recently posted.. Shopping Saturdays: Shopping Second Hand Curriculum Sales (Part 2)

  5. Christy @ Raising Knights
    May 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I agree with you completely! I learned a long time ago to not get attached to material items in our home. Even after 17 years and 5 boys, they still surprise me with the ways they can break or ruin things. I have also learned that boys are more sensitive than most people believe. They need to feel safe in expressing their feelings and be taught how to express them appropriately.
    Christy @ Raising Knights recently posted.. Broken {Life With Boys Link-Up}

  6. Jael
    May 8, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    I loved all of this! I have 4 boy as well, ages 3-8. Each one of your observations rang so true! Sometimes I feel such a responsibility – I am raising 4 future husbands, 4 future fathers. Just as their dad carries the weight of being their primary role model, I need to model the characteristics they should look for in a wife. Moms of boys: allow your little men to shower you with affection and bring you gifts (no matter how sticky or gooey they are!) Encourage them to express their thoughts and listen to them as you someday hope their wives will. Treat your boys, and your husbands, like you hope their wives will someday treat them. And teach them to unload the dishwasher and clean bathrooms – I’m hoping my future 4 daughters-in-law will thank me for that one! “Sons are a heratige fromt he Lord!” “How pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” These are some of our favorite verses. I know they mean girls too, but for us the older versions that only include the men are really fitting 🙂

  7. Emily Cook
    May 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    ” there’s beauty in the noise if you listen.”

    So very true.
    And today, I noticed it in the weirdest place: driving down the country road, drinking my morning coffee, listening to the boys make fart noises in the back of the van and laughing like crazy. 🙂
    Emily Cook recently posted.. Impossible Mother Job: Being the FAIR Queen

  8. Rachelle
    May 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I love this post. And those four boys on the chairs is beyond adorable. I only have one boy — a big 14 now and he is still in need of adventure every day. Just wrote my own post on raising an adventurous child.
    Rachelle recently posted.. Raising An Adventurous Child

  9. Erika Shupe
    May 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Oh – Love, love this. =) Love the photos. Our “littles” look like the photo of them all following dad in the grass…and I love how your husband is reading stories to the boys all in the top bunk! One thing I’ve been wanting to ask a mother of quadruplets is how do you read stories to them all!? LOL With our 4 youngest being all within 22 months, I desire to read to them all, but getting them all to sit with me has been pretty much impossible – and I wondered how a mother like you would do this. I’ve had two on either side of me with their arms in mine (pinned down pretty much ;), one in a booster seat in front of me (with our legs touching for closer-ness) and another one sitting beside a sibling trying to follow my verbal instructions to remain where she is. LOL But I think just corralling them all in to a play yard maybe while I read would be good! And I love your part about how they need boundaries to thrive and have freedom and some order. Having some boundaries is really critical isn’t it. Well I’m just so excited to keep reading and reading your blog… =) —

  10. cheryl
    May 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I totally get it. have 4 between 13 and 2 and the adventure thing is on the money. Outdoors is our key to happiness.

  11. Jennifer
    June 20, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    On the other side of boys adventure and loudness is the knowing that lots of prayer got us throught the ruining stuff and the encouraging their hearts part!
    They are both men now and I am so grateful to be a mom of two young men!

  12. Heather
    December 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I have a daughter and two sons (although the younger boy is only two months old) and I can say that most of these things I see in my daughter and my older son. My daughter needs adventure, craziness, and noisy play just as much as my son. She is as wild and fearless as any little boy or little girl I’ve ever seen, and my son has actually always been a tiny bit more cautious than her. I think what I’ve really learned is that it has less to do with your child’s gender and more to do with their personality.

  13. Lisa
    May 10, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    What a great article. It truly helps keep the important things in perspective.
    i still struggle with the noise and wonder how my house (the actual structure) is going to survive 4 boys. But, I think ahead to how quiet it will be when they are all gone and the noise and destruction somehow seem OK.


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