Being a boy mom is both amazing and gross. The love between a mother and a son is indescribable, but so are the smells.
The moment I saw those two pink lines on that little white stick, I knew I was having a boy. I wasn’t shocked one bit when the ultrasound technician confirmed that three months later. What I didn’t know was that 9 years after his birth I would go from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.
I grew up as a total girly-girl. Bugs, dirt, and fart jokes just weren’t my thing. That was something that I left up to his dad. I quickly realized as the divorce proceedings began that I was going to be doing most of the parenting on my own, and that meant I had to become comfortable with all things boy so that my son was comfortable with all things boy.
These are a few things I’ve learned during my transition from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.
Expecting him to be the “man of the house” wasn’t fair.
At first, I tried making the transition fun by telling my son he was going to be the “man of the house” now. I thought it would make him feel special and give him something to look forward to, but instead, it made him feel like he had to grow up too fast.
I had to realize that expecting him to fill the opening left by his 41-year-old father wasn’t just unrealistic, it wasn’t fair. Just because his father and I are divorced doesn’t mean he doesn’t still get to be a kid and do kid things. Sure, he needs to chip in a little more around the house, but he shouldn’t feel the need to be the protector or the provider. That’s my job now.
A positive male role model was incredibly important for him.
After my divorce, I was kind of anti-male. I wanted to prove that I was an independent woman and that I could do this whole life thing- including parenting- on my own. While I’m certainly capable, I understood that my son still craved positive attention from male role models and that I needed to support that.
That didn’t mean I had to go out and find him a step-father. I didn’t have to look far to find many positive male role models for him. My father, brother-in-law, nephews, friends, and even my son’s teachers stepped up to the plate. Although it was difficult to admit, there are some things as a female that I just don’t get. The “guy stuff” was still important for my son to learn and I needed to respect that.
He needed to see my ups and downs, but not be burdened by them.
This whole single-mom thing isn’t easy. Life is busy enough, but taking on the work of two people can feel overwhelming at times. At first, I tried to act like everything was totally fine in front of my son because I didn’t want to feel weak or for him to worry.
I realized that I wasn’t doing either of us any favors by hiding my feelings and that this, in fact, could be a great learning experience for him. I started talking about age-appropriate things with him and made it clear that he could ask questions if he wanted to, and I saw the anxiety melt away from him. This whole time I was trying to hide things so he wouldn’t worry, but it was just causing him to wonder and worry even more.
Seeing his mom go through struggles, but to push through them and become stronger because of them is only going to make him more humble, determined, and able as he grows up.
Being “one of the guys” is actually pretty cool.
Before my divorce, I was kind of left out of the “guy stuff”. I didn’t really know what I was missing. Cars, video games, football, hockey, fishing, and yes, even fart jokes, aren’t so bad after all.
I’m still not a fan of bugs, but that’s what exterminators are for. Watching this boy grow into a man is pretty amazing. Seeing the wheels turn as he watches YouTube videos about how to fix things or listen to him talking about how when he grows up, he’s going to buy a McLaren P1, is incredibly special.
I would have missed all these moments if I were still a married boy mom. I’m learning that this whole single boy mom thing is just as wonderful, if not more. I still get to be a girly-girl, but I have a tough side now that makes me feel like a warrior. Soft, strong, and one proud boy mom.
-Lindsay, The Divorced Mama Bear