Monday, May 11, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Living with Boys

Do you have a son? Have you raised a boy? Do you entertain boys at your house? Then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Boys are a different beast than girls. Boys are loud. Boys smell (seriously like so bad). Boys humor is at a completely different level than girls. Boys have the need to wrestle, can't sit still, and express love by punching one another.




I have two boys. But this is the first house where we've had a place to send them. We've never had a basement before. For those of you who don't have a basement and still raise or entertain boys my hat is off to you. Moms and caretakers of boys need a place to send them, a respite from the craziness if you will. Before they were always on top of us: running through the house, crowding into my son's tiny room, and eating me out of house and home.

Now I banish them to the basement. They can be loud, smelly, physical and I can just pretend that all is well with the world and those shouts and grunts are normal sounds emanating from the basement. After all, if I can't see it, it's not happening, right?

We love having boys at our house. I want to be the house that kids feel happy and loved in. Recently one of my son's friends was over eating dinner with us. James had already finished up and rushed back downstairs to restart their video game, but his friend lingered. "You guys are the nicest," he said as he took a cookie from my pantry. "I've had other friends but you guys are the nicest family," he said again as he joined James downstairs.

I was flabbergasted. All that for a measly dinner of leftovers? I kind of felt bad for the kid. But I don't think he realizes how much he touched my heart. I LOVE that he feels happy here. I LOVE that he knows we love his company.

We have an open door policy. (We also have an open pantry policy, which means groceries are often depleted.) Every child who wants to come and play is welcome. Some may not work out as well as others, but I never want a child to feel excluded from our home.

Boys need love just like girls. They need to be included. They need to be encouraged. They need grown-ups to feel their interests are important and interesting.

We make an effort to really get to know the kids our home. Sometimes they might be surprised to learn we remembered their birthday, or their family trip, or the girl they like. But the reward has been chats about those girls, or frustrations in their life, and I couldn't love more the way they open up when they realize we truly care.

So when recently for the second time in about a month those lovely boys broke yet another photo frame on my family room wall of art, I just took it in stride. It's a part of having a house of boys. And while we might not be able to have nice things, frankly I'd rather have the boys.

26 comments:

  1. Hi Jen! I loved reading this post!! but I have a question, why don't you ever make a page with a journaling like this?! The whole story. Lots of it! You are an amazing story teller! One day I would like to see it on a page:)) Thanks!

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    1. What a great idea! Challenge accepted. :)

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    2. Anya, make sure to watch my Youtube channel later today as "your challenge" is going up. :)

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  2. I am in the process of trying to finish that said basement for this boy of mine to have a place. I think I need it more so with him than with the girls. My oldest had a ton of friends growing up, and I loved that our house was the hang out. Brit had some friends over this weekend and we ordered them some pizzas. Man, teenage girls can eat you out of house and home. But that was fine with me. I like having the kids around. We've had many a sleepover here. This boy of mine, he and his little friends like to demolish my living room, moving furniture all over scrounging up all the blankets they can find to build forts. :) Plenty of sword fights and light saber duals take place here. :) It is just a fact that you wait until the kids are much older before you have nice things because kids are hard on things. LOL I have had a few things broke here as well.

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    1. I love tent making activities. I always took it upon myself to make the tent as big and as cool as possible. :)

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  3. Love this so much!! Especially since I have a hoise full of boys :) my favourite part, though, is how they need love and encouragement. Great post!!

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  5. Love this also! I've been recently taking pictures of smelly socks left around the house and yesterday I captured a toy car. I am planning a layout about how these days are numbered and when I look back I just might miss those smelly socks and toy cars cluttering up my counter. I love having an open door for boys too. That way I know who the friends are and what they are up too. But now that I have an 8 year old girl please send me tips on how to handle all this "girl drama", that's one thing that boys don't have, at least not to same extent!

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    1. Girl drama is its own wild ride, right? I remember my daughter crying over tying her shoes and yet she wouldn't let me help. It's up and down and throws me for a loop all the time. Isn't parenting an adventure, Melissa? :)

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  6. I have two boys and they melt my head. Every.Day. Can't lie. My feet aren't even on the ground in the morning and they have kicked off. I'm not a fan of wrestling and all that it brings. The trunk of my car looks like a locker room and sometimes smells just as bad from the bags of jerseys in it. The bitter cold winter mornings helping to put up the goal posts when it's still dark and most people are still in their beds. The shorts and jerseys that have dirt so ingrained in them that nothing short of a miracle will get them out. The snot, the dirt, the muddy football boots, trainers and worn piece of grass that marks the goalposts in the garden. The posters of football teams and Ariana Grande and minions on the walls. Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Lego, Cars, Toy Story and all things in between. Boys are wild, not for the faint-hearted, funny, strong willed, noisy, fast, busy, sensitive, caring, beautiful, affectionate. Wouldn't be without them. Along with their sister, they are the beat of my heart. My whole reason for trying to do better every day. Sometimes I fail, sometimes my voice is a little louder than I care to admit but we give them a stable, loving, comfortable home where their friends can come back and know that they are always welcome. I've told them that no matter what happens in life they can always come home. Not every child is fortunate enough to have that. I'd do it all again without question. Love them, as they say, "warts and all".

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    1. I love this! And I agree. You have to love them warts and all. They are my heart as well. :)

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  7. Fun post! Make sure you have a membership at one of those warehouse stores (Sam's Club, Costco, etc.) - you'll need it! LOL! I am a mom of two boys (three if you count the hubster - HA!) and I love it! Can't wait to see your page (Anya's challenge!)!! Have a great week :)

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    1. Marige, I SHOULD start buying groceries in bulk. Never even thought of that. :)

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  8. I had this - my boys are 23 and 22 and yes, when they are all back from college it happens again, but differently. Back then, it was a crazy, loud, thumping, bumping kind of time. Running out the door and back in. Tracking in dirt galore. I didn't have a place to send them - it was in my living room - but in a way, that was good. They were used to me being right there, usually in the kitchen, hearing all, seeing all. I'd ignore a lot of it, laugh to myself through most of it. Since I was always right there, there was rarely a bad word spoken, and serious trouble didn't happen. It was loud and crazy, but it was the best of times!

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    1. Betsy, that's how it was for us for many years: right off the kitchen. I "drop in" on them all the time just to make sure they all know we're there and we feed them dinner so I can chat and get to know their friends. :) Can't believe your boys are so grown up though. Where has the time gone?

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  9. We had the upstairs room and we were ALWAYS where the boys all came to stay. My daughter and her friends were that way up until HS and then there was a "cooler" mom who let do things we didn't but with the boys - always at our house. I was always amazed too at how many parents would let them go off for a weekend with us without even meeting us! But when they grow up you get it all back in millions because they still want to spend time with you!

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    1. That's another reason why I like them at our house. I KNOW what they're doing when they're at our house. :)

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  10. I was just talking about this the other day with a co-worker. We have two boys and a daughter (all grown up now) and our's was an open door, open pantry policy too(they always seemed to know when it was grocery day). Thankfully we have always had a basement! Their friends are all grown up now, some having families of their own, but when we see them, they always tell us how they loved coming over and all the good memories they have. You might spend more on groceries, but it's worth it!

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  11. Yep, my son and his BFF used to play in the living room. Nerf gun battles, sword battles - we have a very casual home with very little that's breakable that's displayed (although, before the kids we used to display more delicate things, I will admit). Now I make the boys go outside for all physical play. They are teens now and they are too strong and too big and too loud to have it any other way!
    It's nice that your son's friend appreciates your efforts to be friendly and accepting and let you know! I try to be that mom, too, except that physical play part.

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    1. The physical play part is hard for me. They get so rough. When they reach a certain point, I also send them outside. Boys must have a lot of steam to let off. :)

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    2. My son used to be a lot taller and heavier than his friend and I was always afraid that my son would hurt his friend. Thankfully, that never happened, but I did keep a close eye on things and made sure to reinforce the idea that when you need to be careful with anyone smaller than you (emphasizing that with girls, especially!)
      I guess if they are willing participants, they are all OK with whatever goes down, but as a mom you'd hate to see someone hurt by your child if it can be prevented.

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    3. My guy tends to be the smaller one in the group. You're an amazing mom to realize the situation and keep an eye on it. I think it's so great that you watched out for him and his friends.

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  13. This is sweet... usually don't read blog posts because I am just browsing for craft ideas... I have two boys 6 and 12...

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  14. I have a son and a daughter and love the juxtaposition between the two when it comes to cleanliness. My son was a complete and utter slob and never understood the concept of not stomping and rough housing in the house where my daughter did. If it makes you feel any better Jen my son is now 34 and keeps an immaculate house and has great respect for his belongings. LOL

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