Everyone warned me that raising boys was messy, wild and loud. Oh how they were right, and especially about the noise level! Sometimes as I’m surrounded by yells, screams and squeals, I imagine the real-life job description of the infamous ‘Boy Mom’ title reads something like this:

  • The ideal Boy Mom candidate enjoys physical work to the point of exhaustion. Jumping, running, sword fighting and roughhousing skills are necessary. These will also be included in the training program upon hire.  
  • Candidates hard of hearing are encouraged to apply, to reduce frustration caused by repetitive questions regarding whereabouts of personal belongings including but not limited to socks, toys, homework and sports equipment.Lifelong learners are often successful Boy Moms, as there is no short supply of lessons on sports, YouTube influencers, Roblox or Minecraft strategies. 
  • Beautiful homes are unnecessary, as all walls are fair game for holes. The ability to repair drywall, however, will be beneficial.
  • Most have steady balance for unexpected hugs of superhuman force, coming from any direction at any given time.

Raising my sons is my life’s greatest responsibility, one that far outweighs executive titles I’ve held throughout my working career. As a mom of four boys that bounced into the world within less than six years, my initial perception of raising boys paralleled these often-stereotyped generalities. And while I do believe these bullet points are truthful in my experience—although intended to be comical here—they leave out the most overlooked and intimate parts of being a boy mom. These are the corners of motherhood that have completely, and forever, changed my filter of which I view the world. 

Here are four things I learned as a mom to four boys

Perfectionism is overrated

It’s okay not to be picture-perfect, sporting flawless hair and the most fashionable ensemble. My boys have taught me that they love me and have fun with me regardless of what I look like. As long as we’re together, they don’t care if I’m dolled up or disheveled. Bed head and athletic clothes are a staple in their world. I love their approach to style that makes me feel valued no matter what I’m wearing that day!

Injuries can happen anywhere

I remember when we went to the ER three times in a week. We were asked whether or not we felt safe in our home, but then they realized we had four boys and we all enjoyed a chuckle. Boys can be physical and rough. I’ve stopped trying to protect my kids from every injury. I’ve learned to provide suggestions for safety and an environment that tries to reduce injuries.I also don’t want to stifle the independence of creativity and free play. My boys have gotten injuries on bike rides and falling off of a bed, they’ve gotten hurt exploring nature and riding on their hoverboards. Injuries can truly happen anywhere, so I have learned to not panic over every possible risk. Without constantly hovering over the endless possibilities of harm, I am able to be a more laid back mom.

Everyday household items have alter egos

Did you know that spatula you were given for your wedding actually doubles as a sword? That beautiful couch in your living room is also a trampoline, meaning it’s impossible for your son to simply sit on it. No, that would be too easy. My boys are hard wired to take a running start toward the sofa, using it as a catalyst for their impending flip before they’re allowed to sit and watch tv. And never mind those blankets. They’re not (always) made for snuggling—they’re actually to create shelter. I love watching my boys exercise their creativity in unique ways that will forever shape how I see what I once thought were standard items. I envision one day, when my boys are grown and out of the house, that I’ll always look at blankets and spatulas in this most endearing way.  

My boys have taught me so much and I am proud to hold the title of boy mom. Being a boy mom means my house is filled with handprints on the wall, holes in the drywall from tackle drills gone wrong and more blood and urine stains than nearly anyone could fathom. These are the stretch marks of my life with four boys. It may not always be beautiful to those on the outside, but those on the inside know the growth and transformation behind these visible marks.