By: the Tammy half of Lydia Dare
I wish someone had given me a manual for parenting that elusive creature known as the adolescent male. It would have been much simpler had I known the fundamentals. But, unfortunately, they don’t come with instructions.
My parents had a house full of girls. There was my sister and I, our gaggles of friends who were at our house more than their own, and a stray girl or two with freckles and pig tails who just visited and chose not to leave, not until they were good and ready. The point of the story is - my house when I was growing up was a choked patch of estrogen. But then my sister and I both had boys. So, the tides turned. The estrogen that once soaked the hallowed halls of home was then filled with the scampering feet of little boys. Then the raging hormones of teenage boys.
It’s not easy raising a teenage boy. In this day and time, it’s hard to teach a young man what he needs to know. You still want him to do the basics like open car doors (or any doors for that matter) for a lady, to automatically crook his arm when a girl slides her hand into it, and you really want him to learn to respect women.
But, in today’s society, it’s also important that you teach your sons to be appreciative of a woman who can get sh*t done. What lessons do you start with?
At my house, my boys do dishes, make dinner when I just don’t feel like it and they are the masters of the folding of laundry. Do you know why they do it? Because they see their dad does it. At our house, when Dad has the kids on a Saturday by himself, it’s not called babysitting. It’s parenting. Babysitting is what you get when you pay someone to come in and take care of your kids. Parenting is just… well… parenting. It’s making young boys into men in the best way you know how, usually by example.
As for that instruction manual, there’s not one. There’s no one who will tell you that preadolescent boys will begin to resemble someone else entirely when they get a little older. They become young men over night. You reach to pat one of them on top of the head for a job well done and find yourself reaching up to do it. You’re suddenly short, when you’ve never been short in your life.
And that’s when you realize what a good job you’ve done. Sure, your teen might grab your foot just so he can pop your toe in the most painful manner possible, then laugh like crazy when you squeal. He might even wrestle with you and pin you to the floor within three seconds flat. But then there comes that day when you reach for his arm as you walk across the parking lot and he immediately crooks his elbow and looks down at you, and you know you helped shape him. You gave him life, but your actions and your attitude helped to make him into the man he’s becoming.
Then he does something really stupid and you’re ready to stomp him into the floor. Such is the life of a mom of boys. But it’s so worth it the very first time he opens the car door for you.