Tuesday, November 1, 2011

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons

Inspired by a Pin I've recently seen about "rules for dads with daughters," I went searching for a similar list for moms with sons.  This search was mostly fruitless, so I was inspired to write my own Rules for Moms with Sons.  Granted, my list will not be conclusive and may not be entirely uncontroversial.  So agree, or disagree, or take with a grain of salt - but I hope to inspire other moms who are loving, and struggling, and tired, and proud, and eager to support the boys in their lives.  You are the most important woman in his life, his first teacher, and the one he will look to for permission for the rest of his life.  From "Can I go play with them?" to "Should I ask her to marry me?"  Its a big job, but as the mumma, we're up for it.

25 Rules for Moms with Sons


1. Teach him the words for how he feels.
Your son will scream out of frustration and hide out of embarrassment.  He'll cry from fear and bite out of excitement.  Let his body move by the emotion, but also explain to him what the emotion is and the appropriate response to that emotion for future reference.  Point out other people who are feeling the same thing and compare how they are showing that emotion.  Talk him through your emotions so that someday when he is grown, he will know the difference between angry and embarrassed; between disappointment and grief.


2. Be a cheerleader for his life
There is no doubt that you are the loudest person in the stands at his t-ball games.  There is no doubt that he will tell you to "stop, mom" when you sing along to his garage band's lyrics.  There is no doubt that he will get red-faced when you show his prom date his pictures from boy scouts.  There is no doubt that he is not telling his prom date about your blog where you've been bragging about his life from his first time on the potty to the citizenship award he won in ninth grade.  He will tell you to stop.  He will say he's embarrassed.  But he will know that there is at least one person that is always rooting for him.

3. Teach him how to do laundry
..and load the dishwasher, and iron a shirt.  He may not always choose to do it.  He may not ever have to do it.  But someday his wife will thank you.


4. Read to him and read with him.
Emilie Buchwald said, "Children become readers on the laps of their parents."  Offer your son the opportunity to learn new things, believe in pretend places, and imagine bigger possibilities through books.  Let him see you reading...reading the paper, reading novels, reading magazine articles.  Help him understand that writing words down is a way to be present forever.  Writers are the transcribers of history and memories.  They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important.  And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories.


5. Encourage him to dance.
Dance, rhythm, and music are cultural universals.  No matter where you go, no matter who you meet - they have some form of the three.  It doesn't have to be good.  Just encourage your son that when he feels it, it's perfectly fine to go ahead and bust a move.

6. Make sure he has examples of good men who are powerful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity.
The examples of men with big muscles and a uniform (like Batman and LaMarr Woodley) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he also knows about men who kick a$s because of their brains (Albert Einstein), and their pen (Mark Twain), and their words (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and their determination (Team Hoyt), and their ideas (The Wright Brothers), and their integrity (Officer Frank Shankwitz), and fearlessness (Neil Armstrong), and their ability to keep their mouths closed when everyone else is screaming (Jackie Robinson).

7. Make sure he has examples of women who are beautiful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity
The examples of traditionally beautiful women (like Daphne Blake, Princess Jasmine, and Britney Spears) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he knows about women who are beautiful from the inside out because of their brains (Madame Marie Curie), and their pen (Harper Lee), and their words (Eleanor Roosevelt), and their determination (Anne Sullivan), and their ideas (Oprah Winfrey), and their integrity (Miep Gies), and fearlessness (Ameila Earhart), and their ability to open their mouths and take a stand when everyone else is silent (Aung San Suu Kyi).

8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity.
You already are all of those things.  If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything - remember this:  If you have done any of the following:  a) grew life b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body c) taken care of a newborn d) made a pain go away with a kiss e) taught someone to read f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or i) found a way to be strong when that child is suffering...you are a superhero.  do not doubt yourself for one second.  Seriously.


9. Teach him to have manners
because its nice.  and it will make the world a little better of a place.


10. Give him something to believe in
Because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won't be able to be there.  Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone, so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never.



11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle
like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people's feelings.


12. Let him ruin his clothes
Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes.  You'll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing. Don't waste your energy being angry about something inevitable.  Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes.  Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course.


13. Learn how to throw a football
or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw panda bears (or in my case alpacas), or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference betweeGryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song.  Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant.



14. Go outside with him
turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away.  Just go outside and follow him around.  Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions.  It's like magic.

15. Let him lose
Losing sucks.  Everybody isn't always a winner.  Even if you want to say, "You're a winner because you tried," don't.  He doesn't feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed.  And that's a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids.  This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again.....)  Instead make sure he understands that - sometimes you win - sometimes you lose.  But that doesn't mean you ever give up.

Source: None via Emma on Pinterest

16. Give him opportunities to help others
There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help.  Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities.  Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together. 

17. Remind him that practice makes perfect.
This doesn't just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life.  You become a better writer by writing.  You become a better listener by listening.  You become better speaker by speaking.  Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks - they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing.  Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip.  Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier.  Practice, practice, practice.

18. Answer him when he asks, "Why?"
Answer him, or search for the answer together.  Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches).  Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself.  Someday, when he needs to ask questions he's too embarrassed to ask you - he'll know where to go to find the right answers.


19. Always carry band-aids and wipes on you.
especially the wipes.



20. Let his dad teach him how to do things
...without interrupting about how to do it the 'right way.'  If you let his dad show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his dad knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his dad knows everything.  You will always be his mother, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his dad will know the answers.  And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his mom,  you will stay connected to what is happening in his life.  Because he will call his dad for answers, and his dad will secretly come and ask you.



21. Give him something to release his energy
drums, a pen, a punching bag, wide open space, water, a dog.  Give him something to go crazy with - or he will use your stuff.  and then you'll be sorry.



22. Build him forts
Forts have the ability to make everyday normal stuff into magic.  Throw the couch cushions, a couple blankets, and some clothespins and you can transform your living room into the cave of wonders.  For the rest of his life, he'll be grateful to know that everyday normal stuff has the potential to be magical.



23. Take him to new places
Because it will make his brain and his heart open up wider, and the ideas and questions and memories will rush in.


24. Kiss him
Any mother of sons will tell you that little boys are so loving and sweet.  They can be harsh and wild and destructive during most of the day.  But there are these moments when they are so kind and sensitive and tender.  So much so that it can cause you to look around at the inward, reserved grown men in your life and think, 'what happens in between that made you lose that?'  Let's try to stop the cycle by kissing them when they're loving and kissing them even more when they're wild.  Kissing them when they're 2 months and kissing them when they're 16 years old.  You're the mom - you can go ahead and kiss him no matter how big he gets - and make sure he knows it.   p.s. (this one is just as important for dad's too).



25. Be home base
You are home to him.  When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back.  When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile.  When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you're the only one who will listen that many times.  When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands.  When he is sick, he will call you.  When he really messes up, he will call you.  When he is grown and strong and tough and big and he feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious.  Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun.  Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.


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Update:  January 2012
Thank you to all who have stopped by and given me words of encouragement & support.  Thank you to all who have re-posted, pinned, tweeted, or facebooked this post (and sourcing my site).  Thank you to those of you that have read my list as I had intended; as a reminder on the hard momma days when you feel like you either want to scream or lock yourself in the bathroom and cry...this was a list I wanted to come back and remind myself who I want to be to my child and who my child needs me to be.  How to be the best mom to my child.  I am inspired by the many readers who, despite disagreeing with a few word choices or rules, were able to make adaptations to the list for how they could be the best mom for their kid(s).   This was a list for me, but to hear from so many of you out there that were able to find a connection with it has been overwhelming, inspiring, and makes me feel very safe to know that I'm no where near alone in this crazy journey of raising a boy.

Many of you have asked for printable versions of my list..well, ask and you shall receive!

Visit here for the short version of my list (just the main points of the 25 rules)
Visit here for the full version of my list

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Update:  November 2012

Thank you to all of you who continue to share, re-pin, re-post, and re-visit this blogpost.  It is amazing to see that I still get fresh comments and visits to this post.  If you are interested in reading more about my thoughts on this piece, please find my reflections about this post and the aftermath that I wrote 1 year later here:

http://studerteam.blogspot.com/2012/11/1-year-later-reflections-25-rules-for.html


912 comments:

  1. love this, tab. there's too many good ones to even start. (every day has the potential to be magical<3 !!) you are a great mom because you understand these things and even better because you help people like me understand them, too.
    thank YOU.

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  2. I came across your post after seeing the same pins a d googling rules for moms of sons. Your list is beautiful and so well written. I literally cried reading them. Thank you for sharing

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  3. Every Mom of sons should read this; not only because it's so well said, but to remind us of what we are to our sons when we don't feel like we've done a good job of raising them. Thank you for putting into words what is in my heart. Just as relevant to mother's of grown sons as it is to new moms just starting out.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I agree, this is beautifully written. You have put into words the same feelings and hopes I have for my own two wild, beautiful, precious boys.

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  5. Wow, sitting here crying! GREAT LIST!

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  6. I have four boys and I love this!! I really learned from it!

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  7. As a mother of two boys I really appreciated this post. I bawled like a baby through it. Thank you!

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  8. Just have to say thank you for putting together such a beautifully written piece of art! After seeing this pin I'm inspired and in tears, and it's a wonderful feeling. Thank you!

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  9. As your Mother and a Mother of three girls, this post shed such an insight on how and why you are such an incredible Mother to your son (my first and only (so far) grandson). Thank you for being such an awesome daughter/Mother/and writer!

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  10. Love this! Tearing up more and more with each one. Thank you for this post.

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  11. Wonderful...a phenomenal list. Beautifully written. I'm posting and pinning :)

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  12. Very, very well written. You chose 25 super important points!

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  13. Loved it. Sitting here crying. So well written.

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  14. I am a mother of three grown sons and two grandchildren now, and I was reminded and challenged, through tears, by your post! Wonderful wisdom, thanks for sharing with us!

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  15. Wow what an amazing post. Thanks heaps for this. I post this to pinterest so I can come back to it often. Must remember all these things for my son.

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  16. This also applies to Grandsons and I'm thinking Great grandsons too!!!

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  17. I'm crying reading this, the past few days have been hell with my little man (20 months). I'm not sure what has been going on with him since he can't talk yet, so we have had a rough few days. I've been grumpy myself trying to calm him down and this just hits home, how much he depends on me and I feel like I've let him down the past few days. - sad and crying

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  18. Wow. Just...wow! What a beautiful post! Absolutely love this. :)

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  19. wow! I can barely type because the tears are flowing so much! THANK YOU for that.

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  20. Just discovered this on pinterest, so great! Thank you.

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  21. thank you for this beautifully written list, I'm crying!

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  22. oh, this is beautiful. I'm getting all teary reading it. Great list!

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  23. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I especially liked the last paragraph: "Home Base". Made me cry!

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  24. As a mom of two VERY active boys, I have to try so hard to empower their strong will when I just want them to sit and listen to me. At one and three, it's like a suicide mission... but when they are 14 and 16, and 20 and 22, and 45 and 47, I know they will have the gusto to be who they are without reservation. Thank you for reminding me of my motherly privilege.

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  25. I have 4 boys and couldn't have said it better myself. 26 would be: TREASURE THE TIME_DRINK IT IN. My youngest son is now almost 18 and boy oh boy does time fly.

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  26. As one of the four boys mom raised in the 50s and 60s, my comment is that she could have written or followed these rules... thanks... awesome post! My niece shared it on Facebook, by the way!

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  27. GREAT list! Thank you for creating it. I have two boys and will only have boys. Not that we don't love little girls, but there never seems to be enough stuff for boys out there! :)

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  28. Perfect list! #25 made me cry...thank you for a bit of inspiration today!

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  29. absolutely perfect! Thank you so much!

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  30. This was beautiful.

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  31. You did an awesome job! I really needed to hear number 12! This drives me nuts! The money spent on clothes, now I just buy stuff on clearance, I figure when he's ready for nice things he,ll ask...
    I loved this post, thank you.

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  32. This is wonderful - as the mom of 1 little guy, I got teary reading it. So much to look forward to!

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  33. I have never cried so hard reading anything, than I did this. I have two wonderful little boys. But my second born is still colicky and has major tummy issues still at almost 6 months. My first born sometimes get pushed to the side as of lately. This just makes me buck up and get over the nights of no sleep and frustration, because they both need me more than I need sleep!

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  34. Thanks for this post! I am a mother to 3 boys. I blog at Queen of the house of boys.com It is so nice to see others mothers relating to similar experiences. Would you mind if I mentioned this post on my blog?

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  35. Hi everyone! I wish I could tell you how inspired I am at all of your comments. I am overwhelmed by how many mummas have enjoyed my list. It feels so comforting to know that there are other moms out there struggling (and wanting to scream somedays) right alongside absolutely loving being a mum to a boy at the same time.

    Thank you for stopping by & @Janelle (and any other mommy bloggers) please feel free to mention it this post- of course! We mums of boys need all the support and girlfriends we can get:)

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  36. I just shared this on my facebook page and so many of my friends love it! Thanks so much for putting all this out there to share!

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  37. You just brought tears to my eyes! Loved this

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  38. Found this on Pinterest and love it. I love raising my son and have another one coming in 13 days! Thank you for creating this!

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  39. Love this, it's beautiful and so well written. Thanks so much for sharing, I admit, I got a little teary-eyed. This totally made my afternoon :)

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  40. I am the mom of two young boys (19 & 31 months) and all I could do was nod my head (and cry) while reading this. We are right in the middle of learning the proper way to express our emotions and using our manners (#1 & #9). My husband laughs at us, but I dance with my boys every night before bed because I really believe that is important (#5). #20 is sometimes hard for me to remember, but I do know it is important and I am trying to improve. Every single “rule” relates to me personally, as I ‘m sure it does with others reading this. Beautifully written and much needed; thank you!

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  41. I love this sometimes in a house of three guys I feel out numbered! But now I see they need me as much as I need them! Thank you for this theres alot out there for people who have little girls but not much for us mom of all boys!!!!

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  42. Wow, how touching!! I was moved to tears when I realized I had done those things when my son was little. Maybe not as much as I could have, but enough that number 25 is still intact!! He still calls when he needs a listening ear!! Thank you so much.

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  43. This is just beautiful- i found you from Pinterest. Thank you for the insights and great advice.
    Lou

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  44. Thanks - I scored myself pretty well (NOT bragging) I raised 2 Eagle Scouts, sweet kids, one brawny and brainy the other skinny and engaged to another physicist. Both are home now, doing their laundry, cleaning the kitchen after their meals and hugging Mom, Dad and puppy. Great piece.

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  45. Wow, I love this post. The "rules" are just wonderful, made me tear up just thinking about all the wonderful adventures and lessons we have in store with our little guy!!!

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  46. And don't gender stereotype. These apply to raising daughters as well.

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  47. texting my 20 year old right now...just to tell him how very much I love him and how proud I am of the man he is becoming. Thank you.

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  48. Dads can benefit from these "rules" too. Thanks for posting them!

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  49. Your list is beautifully written and inspiring for moms of boys. I will keep this always and think about the impact I have and will have on my son's life. Your words brought me to tears thinking of the love that I have for my son and how I wish to fulfill all these rules. Thank you.

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  50. Mom of five sons here. I love, love, love this post.

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  51. I'm a mom to two little boys and I loved this! So true and so meaningful! I can't wait to share it with others! :) Thank you!

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  52. I wish I had read this six years ago. I've got some catching up to do!

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  53. I cried. This was beautifully written and so inspirational. I have a sweet baby boy--4 months old, and I am so nervous about raising him. He is the biggest and dearest responsibility of my life and I really want to get this right--or as close as possible. Being from a family of all girls I have no real compass as far as how mother/son relationships work. All I know is that the way he looks at me now makes my heart sing, and I hope to see a glimmer of that in his eyes 20 years from now. I want to remember this post forever! Pinning now! Thank you!

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  54. I can't thank you enough for this post. I have three sons and had just had a day of quite frankly wondering if it would be easier with daughters. Sometimes I just don't know how to enter in but this reminded me how important it is and what amazing little souls they are. Thank you. Tomorrow I will try and be more a part of their world.

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  55. I raised 2sons and having read this, with tears in my eyes am passing it along to my da-in-law with 2sons of her own now. Great wisdom and good confirmation for a job well done, but never done with...

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  56. Beautifully written. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  57. As a new mom of a wonderful, beautiful baby boy, this is the best parenting advice I have ever read. I am a writer as well, and I must say, you did such a great job with this piece. And when you can touch people's emotions as a writer, what better thing. And as a mom, it sounds like you will give so much to your son. Lessons and values that will benefit him for the rest of his life.

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  58. These are great. My son is 23 years old, and I believe I did most of these the best I could. I love this!

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  59. I am a mother of 2 sweet boys that I love more and more each day. This list is very inspiring!! Awesome:)

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  60. I came across this on Pinterest and I am SO glad I did! It just made me cry reading it! You nailed it! Thanks for putting this in words!

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  61. I have two boys and this was perfect..crying now. Thank you!!

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  62. I'm a proud mother of two boys and a little girl. This is absoulutely, beautiful and so true. Thank you so very much for posting this!

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  63. I'm crying because my little boy isn't like your little boys. There are things here that can apply to anyone, but there are other things that just don't apply to my kid. He's different. I guess I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. It just makes me sad that I didn't get to experience having the kind of boy this list is written for. But maybe it means I'm blessed with the challenge of finding my own way.

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  64. Love. Love. Love this. Couldn't begin to imagine the love, frustration, and reward of being a mommy to a boy until he arrived. You really nailed it. Thanks for sharing.

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  65. How beautifully written... Every paragraph made me cry a little more. How blessed we are to have children - I love my 'little' boy who is now 6ft tall and 24!

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  66. mother of four boys *and 1 girl* here. loved your list and it gave me a much needed boost that i needed. reminded me of why i love my boys so much!

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  67. This is just amazing. Thank you so much - as a single mom of two boys, I'm saving it for future reference!

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  68. This was fantastic! Thanks so much for posting this....I am the mom of 2 boys, and a retired dancer, i really liked #5

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  69. You did awesome!! Crying and reading. I am a single mom to 4 children, 2 girls and twin boys age 9... So many things you wrote made me stop and think, and unfortunately the part about let their dad show them with out stepping in to point out the right way... well that isn't going to happen... so I shall put strong men of character in front of them instead:) Thank you!

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  70. Lots of good stuff here BUT...sorry to sound like a spoil sport BUT
    1. you seem to assume that this boy will grow up to be straight, whereas 1 in 10 of all boys and girls are either gay or lesbian (and I am 1 in 10!)
    2. you assume there is a father in the picture. there are lots of women who are single parents. thankfully, your suggestions will help fill this void.
    Peace - and out...

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  71. Beautifully written. I couldn't have said it better myself. I've bookmarked the page and will be printing this out to keep with my son's baby/toddler things. :) Hurray for you, mama. Our sons need so much to be loved in a special way so they can grow up to be strong, secure, intelligent, loving and kind men. It's our responsibility to be there and nurture them in their own unique way, even though it's challenging. I love your list!

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  72. As a decidedly stay-at-home dad I loved it all until I got to rule 20. Rule 20 ruins the entire piece for me. To see what I mean reverse the dad's and mom's role. Here:

    20. Let his mom teach him how to do things
    ...without interrupting about how to do it the 'right way.' If you let his mom show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his mom knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his mom knows everything. You will always be his father, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his mom will know the answers. And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his dad, you will stay connected to what is happening in his life. Because he will call his mom for answers, and his mom will secretly come and ask you(dad).

    I don't think any woman would agree that men have all the answers are smarter and should be in control of everything (manipulative, devaluing and offensive). So, in the same spirit, I find the same attitude in Rule 20 just as unkind and insensitive towards men. Like women we are smart. Like women we can and do have kind, caring sensitive relationships. And finally, just like women, we don't open ourselves up knowingly to have these types of relationships with someone who is prejudiced against us... that would be suicide! That would be choosing to adopt a belief that we are not valuable or as valuable.

    I'm not sure if this is what you meant but it certainly comes across like men have no value. Boys do, but not men except as a proxy for disseminating mom's wisdom and power. So, rather than ask what happens to boys when they enter adulthood, a better question may be to ask how are my beliefs about men affecting my sons growth into manhood.

    Again, this probably isn't what you meant. If it isn't then you may want to rewrite rule 20 so the whole piece is as beautiful as the other 24 rules which only mention dads positively one time... to give kisses, otherwise they are absent, vacuous, and naive.

    Rule #1 is my favorite. Both males and females have a full set of emotions. Boys should be taught their names rather than only owning the domain of anger. Likewise, I believe a woman has the right to have her anger and be able to express it,. Both males and females need to be seen wholly and respected.

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  73. So inspiring thankyou

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  74. As a mom of three grown up boys, I smiled, laughed and yes, I cried. You said it all so very well. To many of the "rules" I was able to pump my fist and say "yes" I did that! For some, I wept because I wish I had done better. However, I have three amazing fearless sons who still enjoy coming home to see their mom!

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  75. Typing through tears. As a mother to 2 boys and 2 girl, I LOVED your piece! Found it on fb! Going to repost and share on my blog as well! Lots of hits for you today!!!

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  76. this is awesome! thanks for sharing!

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  77. I have never before had the privelege of reading your blog...what a great introduction! Beautifully put. Thank you!

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  78. Thank you.

    Reposting, sharing, forwarding rereading, stashing.

    Mom of a 2 year old and a 4 year old
    Jen

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  79. This is beautiful and so true and totally has me in tears. Well said! I have 2 little boys ( and a baby girl) and having little boys is just an amazing experience. Thank you for some good reminders and a few new things to think about!

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  80. 1/2 of these are how to turn your Son into a chick...really?

    /sigh

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  81. Love it! I have 4 boys , two that are now teenagers. But every night before bed they come over to my chair for their nightly Hug & Kiss. They will always be my little boys even though they are easily taller then me.

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  82. WOW WOW WOW as a Mom of 2 little boys I can't stop crying as I read through this. There are tough days as a Mom and your words bring out the best of what it means. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are phenomenal Mom!

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  83. I think this is a fantastic article, very heartfelt, and very relevant. However, I think in this day and age it's incorrect to believe that Dads always go to Moms for all the answers, secretly or in public. Dads are playing a far more engaged role in their children's lives, and often have the answers themselves, either through their own experience, or because they had strong mothers AND fathers as role models.

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  84. Thank you for the time you took to write this all down for us all! My little boy will benefit from this and I will too!

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  85. These re really very lovely...but 8a and 8b are pretty crappy. Hopefully your son will never have to support his future wife through adoption or surrogacy so they can become parents...or my fear is he will somehow see her as a failure. Growing a child and gving birth aren't amazing feats of strength that make you a supermom...crackheads and teenagers and women who have no business parenting do it every day. What is miraculous is that there are parents able to open their hearts and homes to love and parent the unwanted or the unloveable. THOSE are superparents.

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  86. I need to work on #12 and #22 -- holes in the knees of their pants and making a mess of any room besides their play room makes me nuts! But one day they will not be here to make messes and I will not buy their pants any more. Thank you for this!

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  87. Great post. Along with teaching him how to do laundry, teach him how to cook!

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  88. My friend sent me a link to this list..... love it. I have a almost three year old girl and a one year old son and already I catch myself treating them differently because of their gender. And that's okay.... I just need to remember that boys need just as much guidance as girls. It's like the johnson and johnson commercial that says "did you ever think the love of your life would be a chubby bald boy taking a bath in your sink". Thanks for the post

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  89. Wonderful post. I have two young boys, but this is great for any mom. So special and close to the heart. Thank you for sharing.

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  90. This is a beautiful post and now that my son is a grown man, I remember everyone of these things about his childhood. My son is a loving, caring, compassionate, strong, intelligent and wonderful son and husband. Life is short, take the time to teach and love them, it will be worth it!

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  91. great post!!! as a mom of three boys I can't agree more with all of it!!!!

    I shared it on twitter, facebook and +1'd it!

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  92. May I add ENJOY what you were blessed with!! I am the mother of a little girl and so often when I meet a mom of boys she will make comments that imply she wishes her son was a daughter.Things like, "I wish I had a little girl to dress up." It makes me sad. Boys are wonderful and should be loved for all their "boyness"

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  93. Can't believe some of these negative comments, get a grip people...geez!

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  94. i love this! i have a 2-1/2 year old son and another on the way :)

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  95. What a great list you have created!!! I especially like the points on teaching them what they are feeling and allowing them to physically express it in a safe and acceptable manner. Great post!

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  96. Great blog. So well written aand inspiring. I'm a mom of a one year old and these are great tips as my son grows. This list made me laugh and cry. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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  97. Not all mom's have a father to help, not all boys have earned awards. Many single moms with no father figure to help. Some of this is based on her type of lifestyle, but over all the message is wonderful. Some good tips in here. Funny how someone wrote half of this stuff is how to turn your son into a chick. =D

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  98. I am now crying at my desk at work. :( You nailed it! Makes me want to go get my 2 year old from daycare and take him on an adventure! thank you for doing this. I love it! :)

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  99. AMAZING! I LOVE IT! THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! I'M GOING TO SEND IT TO EVERY MOM I KNOW AND DAD'S CAN READ IT TOO. :)

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  100. this is so beautiful. i can't wait for my own baby boys.

    xoxo

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  101. Beautiful! So glad my cousin shared this on FB. I think I will have to do the same.

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  102. This is true for all children no matter Sons or daughters. I raised 5 children 3 now Men and 2 now young women. A woman who loves her children will instinctly do these things. Mothers who need help or new ideas can learn from all these ideas and post. The most important thing is never, never no matter what they do stop or say You dont love them anymore. Even the worst person on Earth had a Mother. My children have and will do things I dont approve of or agree with but I love them they are my soul.

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  103. #26: If he wants a Barbie for Christmas, get him a Barbie. Encourage him to be his own individual and pursue his interests without trying to force him into a mold.

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  104. To all of the posts that are NEGATIVE (the dad upset at #20 and the person who is mad at the fact that the gay population is not represented) LISTEN UP: It is our job as parents to educate our children about prejudice in the world, sexism, racism, sexuality, stereotyping, etcetera. This post is beautifully done and if you do not like something, deal with it yourself and use this piece to educate your family. I think that most issues in the world today are from the fact that anyone can come in and bash someone elses work. If the gay piece is not represented SO WHAT - this family does not have 2 moms or dads - go to a site for gay parents. I am straight and I am not going to gay sites and voicing my distain that God is not mentioned and that a home should be with a mom and dad. Same for the dad - go to a site for dads who stay at home - deal with it! Go to a site that blogs about dads who are at home. For the author: change NOTHING - you rock!

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  105. Love them all, except #20. Not all little boys have "Dad" to go to. My son has 2 moms and between the 2 of us he has plenty of support. However, we also have wonderful man-friends that he can go to as he gets older to ask those questions he feels he can't/won't ask us.

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  106. I most definitely cried. I reposted this to my blog with credit to your blog, of course. Thanks so much for writing that!

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  107. Thank you for this. I have two boys and I loved reading through these. Some made me laugh while others made me cry but they all are so very true!

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  108. LOOOOOOOOOVE this...such a great post!!!

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  109. Wow, just beautiful! I have three sons, and these are wonderful reminders of many of the things I believe in but lose sight of once in a while.

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  110. Last two made me cry like a baby. My "little buddy" will be 28 in a few weeks and is expecting his first child...

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  111. I love this list. We are a family with two moms, two sons, and no dads (but lots of male role models). Yet most of this list is just as relevant. Don't forget, a lot of moms of boys are single moms or moms with female partners... and we love our boys just as much as those of you with husbands and are just as excited to raise strong, gentle men... and just as perplexed about how to do so. Honoring their boyness (first lesson I learned was about not fretting over dirty and torn clothing) and creating new models for what a man can be (nurturing and gentle as well as strong and brave). One of my favorites is #1. My oldest foster son was raised until he came to us in a home where there was little vocabulary taught (especially to boys) about feelings. So he didn't know that he was angry when he was angry - He didn't know the difference between sad and mad and fearful. I feel blessed G-d has given me the opportunity to teach him how to identify his feelings with words, even if he experiences his emotions more as feelings or responses in his physical body.

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  112. I am sad that some people have seem so upset that those of us with different families have spoken up. The comments I've seen (and I haven't read all of them) aren't enraged or anything, just pointing out the ways this list does and does not apply to families with single moms or two parents of the same sex. Perhaps asking for a little more inclusion. I certainly hope my comment wasn't taken as negative in any way. I just think it's important that we find commonalities and also encourage inclusion of all kinds of families (though obviously each person's blog is their own outlet so they will be the ones who chose who they do or don't include). I didn't take this blog post as purposely exclusionary, or in any way mean-spirited, but rather as the blogger writing from her own perspective as a married heterosexual mom of a boy. And lesbian moms and married dads and single moms have spoken up to share the ways they do and don't relate, or how they felt reading this (publicly posted) piece. This post is not offensive to me, but I did want to share that I relate to much of it despite not being in the same demographic :)

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  113. I was crying through most of this! My husband and I will be having twin boys in about a week and this is beautiful!!

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  114. I came to find this on Pinterest. Didn't know all of what it entailed but by the end I was in tears. This piece is amazing thank you so much for coming up with it!

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  115. Nice on the whole, but #10 is horse shit. If you're willing to let your children learn to accept the fact that they can fail and learn that they have negative emotions, then you should be willing to let them learn that they can go through life without believing in fairy tales.

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  116. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! I have created a new pin on pinterest for it!

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  117. So well written and true! I have a 15 year old son and a 9 year old son. They are both loving, tender-hearted boys, who are quick to forgive, eager to learn and share, and love their Mom almost as much as I love them. Wiping my tears away still...

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  118. i couldn't have enjoyed anything more. thank you.

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  119. Love #20. I think because moms (esp. SAHM) are with the kiddos more, we think we know best. There are many ways to successfully accomplish daily goals. Frankly, I think sometimes dad's way seems like more fun too.

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  120. As the mother of two grown sons...teach them to sew a button on a shirt/pants. They will definitely thank you later. One of mine is now a US Marine and one is living on his own and shows horses. Both have had "emergency" needs for button repair and both knew how to do it. Most men don't...they will thank you!! Great list for MOTHER'S of sons. If you aren't a MOTHER it wasn't meant for you so DON'T bash her work. And just because you don't believe "Anonymous" it doesn't mean those of us who do are believers in fairy tales.

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  121. I love, love this list! As the mother of three young boys it really hit me. Some of the things I'm good at now. Some I need to work on more. Thank you for such a wonderful list! I think I'm going to print it and keep it for future reference. Love my guys!!!

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  122. WOW!! I love this! You did an amazing job.. Thank you very much. Proud Mom of a 7mth old son.

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  123. I have two daughters and am expecting our first son, I will likely revisit this post regularly as I navigate the strange and wonderful new world of being a mother to a son. Thank you.

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  124. Brought tears to my eyes. No greater love in my life than my two handsome boys. Thank you for this.

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  125. This is awesome! Thank you so much for writing it. I laughed out loud when you said you had to learn to draw alpacas, for me it is aardvarks! I love that my son chooses his own way and doesn't just put down "dog" as his favorite animal.

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  126. LOVE this! it made me cry...my son is 13 months old and so much of this rang true. I love the kissing one...I want to teach my son it's ok to give hugs and say I love you. Same with the laundry..my husband never learned and I blame his mom...I don't want that to happen to my son. Great list and well thought out! Love it!

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  127. Thank you for writing this list so beautifully. I read it as you intended, from your perspective knowing parts can be shifted to apply to others' lives. I was nodding my head as I read each point. You've included very important parts of a person's life. Bless you.

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  128. Simply beautiful! My little guy is 2 1/2 and is learning and teaching me a lot. Thanks for writing this and giving us moms more ideas of what to teach.

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  129. I have 3 boys and this is great! the only one I'd change is #17- I say to my boys "Practice makes PROGRESS....and that leads to perfection" for my boys they often feel they won't ever be perfect or it takes too long. But if we focus on the progress they are making, it makes things more doable!

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  130. Thank you. I love this to bits and pieces and then some.

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  131. This is so beautiful...I found this post via facebook! Wow! My son, 19 years old, just eloped and is going into the Marine Corp in March...I needed this...so encouraging!

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  132. I am so happy that I came across this post. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  133. i have two pics to send you about the dad teaching the littly guy how to do things. do you have an email?

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  134. What a wonderful charge to mothers. Thank you.

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  135. I love this post. As a mom to two boys, it's a great thing to intentionally parent them to grow up to be men that you could be proud of.

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  136. this is beautiful. thank you.

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  137. I have one girl and three boys and I love, love, love this post. I think I'll be sharing it on my blog tomorrow. Thank you for your lovely words!
    http://amysreallife.wordpress.com

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  138. i loved these!
    such common sense, but sometimes we forget to remember common sense.

    i sure love my son.

    and i sure hope there is a #20 again someday to teach him how to do things. :)

    cute blog.

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  139. This is wonderful, you made me cry.

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  140. Great post! After having 6 precious girls we were surprised to give birth to a son in 2007....and WOW! What a different world we now live in! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  141. Lost a son when he was 59 of cancer.. . Memories of what could have been. Thank you for posting.

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  142. Truly inspiring words to live by. I will be referring to these many, many times as my 9 month old son grows up. Thank you so much for sharing.

    PS:
    You should make this into a book. I know I would buy it.

    Looking forward to learning more from you.

    Thanks again,
    Rani.

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  143. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart and for my 8 month old go getter of a son. Thank you.

    And thank you for #8. I think we as mom's never give ourselves enough credit!

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  144. Love it. Soulfull, poinient, truthful. My son is 4 and every day his smile, laughter, quirky boyness delights and amazes me. I can't wait to see his story unfolds, I am undefinably happy to be his mom.

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  145. I am a single mother of an 11 yr old and have raised my son on my own since he was 6 months old. Believe it or not, I have done or am in the process of doing every one of those rules. I am humbled at the person he is becoming. I learned from my parents who instilled those same values in me. Thank you for sharing.

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  146. Love this. Thank you for helping me to keep things in perspective.

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  147. Thanks for your kind, heart-felt reminders/suggestions. I agree whole-heartedly with every single suggestion....so much so, that I already do them or have done them. :) Great minds think alike I guess. I have a 12 year old who is in wrestling, football, and baseball. He does often get embarrassed by me being his biggest fan and yelling loudly at his events. However, he also told me that "if something ever happened to me while he was still in sports, he'd save me a seat at every sporting event out of respect and love for me." That tells me that while he may be embarrassed for the moment, he still really loves me being there and supporting him no matter how loud or crazy I may be. I love being a mother and find it the best job in the world! Yes, it may be hard at times, but it is also very rewarding and the best gift anyone could be given! Don't ever give up on your children...they need you and believe it or not, they love you! ♥ Enjoy motherhood! ♥

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  148. I LOVED this. I would love permission to post this on my blog www.justalittlebs.com Please let me know. Thanks.

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  149. Love, love, love this list. Thank you for reminding me that being a mom to boys is one of the greatest joys in life. Sniff, sniff...;)

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  150. Beautifully written . . . I am the mom of 4 kids, 3 of them boys, and your list is perfect.

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  151. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. As a mother to 3 boys it's nice to know that I'm on the right track. :0

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  152. A friend shared this on FB. I laughed at the "build forts" comment. My 12 year old had a buddy sleepover during the holidays and asked to build a fort out of our couch cushions, numerous throws, sheets, dining room chairs...they had a blast! Much of it applies to girls too. They need to know about strong women and intelligent, kind, innovative men. Very moving and so full of truth! Thank you for sharing your talents!

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  153. I love this post! Thank you so much - it's awesome! I am sharing it on my facebook page now - please check out my blog www.raisingnaturalkids.com when you get a chance!

    Dawn

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  154. Love, love, love your post!!! I write a blog about raising boys and will pass it on to all the parents.
    http://www.BoysRising.blogspot.com

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  155. I love this. My little boy is 6 months old and I can just see how soon he will be doing all these things you write about. And I can't wait to teach him everything!

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  156. It is a beautiful, thought-provoking list. Thank you. :-)

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  157. so very beautiful! thank you for writing this! i always try to remember to be the home base for all of my children, in hopes that they will always know they can come back to me for anything! my son amazes and inspires me daily!

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  158. Wow, such a great post. Read it through my tears. Everything you said is spot on!

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  159. Thank you so much!!! Crying my eyes out...just perfect, perfect!!!

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  160. I loved this and I think it applies to every type of parent as well as any child, boy or girl. We are all wonderful and loving beings who try to do our best by our children and I think this list is a very good example of just how to do this no matter your family dynamic. Great job!

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  161. Thank you so very much for this post. It is very well written and comes from a warm heart. Thank You!!

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  162. As the mother of 3 adult sons...I wholeheartedly agree with everything you have written. You did a great job and your child(ren) are blessed to have you for their mom.

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  163. Beautiful. As a mama to 2 young boys, this made me teary. Thank you!

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  164. Amazing post...as the mom of 2 boys, this is just what I needed today! I will hang on to this list for years to come! Thank you!

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  165. I believe every wise word you put in this. And this love is a never ending process. It also applies to our grandson.

    I'm a mother of two son's and a grandson.

    My cup runneth over

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  166. Lots of inspiring stuff here, including all the suggestions. I have only one to add, that you make that map bigger, to cover the whole world.

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  167. I shared this on Facebook and I have to say that #20 is my favorite. We live in a world where men are completely emasculated by our culture, media, TV, movies.... It would be hard for me to recall a show that I have seen lately where the father wasn't treated like a stupid moron. I'm so thankful that my husband is the head of our household and that he leads our family. I'm thankful that he has such a special relationship with our son and I want to do everything that I can to encourage that because I believe that my husband is incredibly wise and he is the person to go to in our house when you have a problem. I have no doubt that is how it will still be years from now and that is what I love about number 20. My son will call my husband looking for advice and my husband will give it and like any good husband will probably also ask my opinion because he respects, loves and treasures me and my opinions. This was a wonderful post and I hope you will ignore some of the negative and rude statements that people posted. Bless you.

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  168. I am a father ,and a son. This man is just telling his feelings. It's not to hurt single parent or some man that can't have kids. The life experience he shares is not insulting to a man or woman.Before i was divorced i experienced these memories with my ex-wife but most important with my own mother and along with her my dad (god rest his soul)experienced it with her. So like the man said take it with a grain of salt.
    I have 3 sons and i know that they love me the same way, believe in the love of mothers the love they give isn't always given back the same way.

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  169. Nothing like little boys, love this post!

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  170. Great work! What a sweet, sweet post. I don't have a boy, but this still made me tear up and share it with my friends who do!

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  171. Love this! Thank you for posting!

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  172. I love it...did all these things with my sons and they both grew into fine young men, with gentle loving hearts, great sense of humor, and...are both Marines....

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  173. I loved reading these Top 25. All of them melted my heart. As a mom with 2 adult boys, I see where I could have done better, but cherish what I have with both my boys. Never too late to continue. Such sweet words to hold close to my heart. 143

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  174. What an awesome list!!!! I am a mom raising 4 boys full time, one that i gave birth to and 3 that have grown in my heart each day since i first started dating their father. This list really represents the feelings that i have felt for the past 10 years. There is no bond like that of a mother and her son! Although i loved each and every one, i have to admit that my favorites were 3, 8, 10, 13, 15, 19 and 24!! I guess everyone has certain ones that they can identify with more than others and those are mine! Again, awesome job!!!

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  175. LOVE this. I mentioned this post on my blog. Hope you don't mind.

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  176. Can you make this into a poster?

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  177. was looking for the part where you teach us how to freeze-frame them and keep them as our babies forever.
    Very touching and well said...sniff sniff <3

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  178. It is as sad that a beautiful list like this has to include #10 as it is that we have to be anonymous just to comfortably be open about not believing made up stories. The only regret I have in raising my fabulous son and in life in total is having been raised with #10 and taken it on board deeply and then having followed #10 to seemingly lovely results, only later to find my brilliant son had grown wise enough to see through things in ways I hadn't., This left me to either look afresh and discover that no proof exists for any of it or to believe that people like my son could be damned eternally for a thought held or not held in mind. The emotional ordeal of truly looking at things I thought I had already deeply contemplated, after so many years of accepting them, nearly broke me completely, and my greatest parenting wish is to be able to have a redo with the understanding I now have that implanting these fairy tales into young minds, teaching them that invisible things can be known to be true, is certainly abuse.

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  179. Oh wow! I LOVE this list :) Each and every one of them are so true and good to be able to look at in this form!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  180. Tab....I loved this everything you said is exactly how you should raise not only sons but all childred. I love my two sons more than anyone can imagine. Thanks for the great page.

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  181. Thank you for creating this list. It was absolutly beautiful and definatly a tear jerker!!

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  182. This list is AWESOME!!! I am blessed to be the mother of 7 boys (and 2 girls). My boys are all different, lively, dramatic & dirty :)

    This hits the nail on the head from dealing with the dirty clothes, to letting them ask their dad the questions. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us long to say!!

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  183. It's a "personal" blog people, written from her own perspective of personal experiences. That's the beauty of a "personal" blog, you need not represent any other person or group but yourself. It's not a parenting manual. Take from it what you will. If you don't agree with her points of view, write your own variation of the topic, on YOUR OWN blog.

    Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing!!

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  184. LOVED THIS! I have a 2-year-old son and I love him with every cell. This summed up the best things to teach him so well.

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  185. Thank you. I really needed this post. I might need to print it & put it on my dashboard. That's probably not safe, but it's where I'm generally looking when I'm trying to figure out how to be a better mom.

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  186. This is a beautiful, absolutely wonderful list! My son is a freshman in college and just returned to school yesterday! You're so right! Thank you for putting all of this into words to share them with others! It's amazing how fast they grow up and how important these things are to their becoming good, strong, loving, wonderful men!

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  187. After two friends shared this link on FB, I thought, "I must read it" And I did. And now I'm going to steal it, print and frame it to remind me everyday ... You really, really did a beautiful job with this and I thank you for sharing with us Mamas of Boys!

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  188. Bravo! You totally wrecked me with #25, and I am now considering waking my five year old son right now, at 11:25 pm, just so I can squinch him and kiss him and tell him I love him. :)

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  189. I came across this via a friend sharing on Facebook. This is probably the single most beautifully written thing I've read in a long time. I have been having a hard time personally and feeling like a failure of a mother to my 3 sons and 1 daughter. This makes me feel like I'm doing a great job and I really needed this right now. Thank you for speaking to my soul, not only as a mother of sons, or a mother, but as a woman.

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  190. Thank you so much for sharing this. As a mother of three sons I found this very inspiring. Loved it!

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  191. Excellent List..thanks for compiling. I've got three sons...love my boys! I recently starting bragging on them in a blog...they're not keen on it yet. Hopefully one day they will be.

    http://mymom-servations.blogspot.com/

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  192. Having just lost my 19 year old son last month, your list made me smile and made me cry. I can remember him telling me thank you for teaching him to do laundry and to cook.
    Thank-you for the time you took in putting together your list.

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  193. I am in tears. This is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart (: Well stated!

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  194. I have a 12 year old boy. This makes me want to weep. Beautiful writing.

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  195. THANK YOU!!! I needed this today!! I am a mother of 3 boys and 2 girls. I get lost in the day with all the noise and busy bodies. Thank you for writing this! You are a blessing to all of us who read this!

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