A House Full Of Boys Doesn’t Equal A House Full Of Balls

Baby Boys

I am a mother of boys. As in, only boys. Outnumbered in the gender stakes, I have no female allies in the house. (Even the cat is male.)

Mothers of only boys are a unique breed. So much so, there are even clubs you can join to meet other mothers without daughters.

Mothers with both sons and daughters can get a bit narky when you claim special standing for having only boys.

“But we deal with that, too,” they’ll say when you complain of stinky bedrooms and an inherent ability not to notice a household task that needs doing.

Yes, but you also have someone you can nudge when the male offspring are suffering from man-flu and share an eyeroll. Mothers of boys can only eyeroll inwardly.

We will never be the Mother of the Bride or the Maternal Grandmother both of whom seem to hold a higher standing in society than the paternal equivalents.

I am not one of those mothers who wishes she’d had a daughter so she could buy pretty dresses and play with Barbies. I was never that kind of girl myself, preferring to climb trees and play with Lego and I had a passionate objection to wearing dresses. I hate clothes shopping and the pink-themed aisles in toy stores give me the heebie jeebies.

But sometimes I can’t help wondering what my life would be like if I had another person in the house whose brain was wired similarly to mine. Maybe I’d feel a little less like an alien in my own home.

So you can imagine how keen I was to open up an article in the weekend magazine of one of our national newspapers to read about other mothers like me.

Boy Oh Boys

Click on the image to read the article.

At the first line – “Neck deep in dirty footy tops, toy soldiers and cricket balls…” – I sighed. As I read on, I sighed some more. By the end, I was more than a little annoyed.

A household full of boys does not automatically equate to a household full of sporting equipment. I do not bond with my boys over football matches. We bond at superhero movies. I do not trip over basketballs in the house but over stacks of Japanese comic books. Our television is more likely to be tuned to the sci fi channel than the sports channel. I do not spend my time managing their sporting schedules but managing how much time they are spending in front of a screen. I don’t have to learn the rules of cricket scoring but I do have to learn how to use the parental controls on the wifi router.

It’s not that we didn’t give them the opportunity to pursue sports. Their father grew up in a sporting household and is a cricketer and tennis player. Cricket, tennis, football, basketball…we offered them all at various times to each of the boys. None of them stuck. It’s just not in their nature.

Boys don’t have to play sports.

Yes, they need activity, especially in the early years. So there were lots of trips to the park, the beach, the indoor play centre. And you have to watch them every second because they will take risks. But I’m more likely to be trying to get hair dye out of a costume shirt than grass stains out of cricket whites.

I suspect I was destined to have boys. My husband is one of three boys. His father is one of two boys. His uncle had two children who were, you guessed it, boys. Let’s face it, I was never going to have a girl.

And that’s okay. Because I consider myself lucky that I scored three boys who love things I love – fantasy books, sci fi movies and cosplay – and I don’t have to trip over cricket balls in the backyard.

Being a mother of boys is a challenge but a house full of boys doesn’t have to mean a house full of sports any more than a house full of girls has to mean a house full of dolls.

Boys are different – I’ll never understand the tolerance for a floor carpeted in dirty clothes and the lingering smell of rotten apples – and being a mother of boys is different to any other parenting experience.


I wouldn’t change it for all the sonic screwdrivers in the universe.

And yes, that title is a sniggering play on words. I live in a house full of boys, remember?




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72 thoughts on “A House Full Of Boys Doesn’t Equal A House Full Of Balls

  1. Very sweet! Sounds like you and your boys have a great relationship. A dear friend of mine was blessed with 4 sons. She is 4’11” and they all tower over her but what she says goes. They may try and put something over on their dad but they know better than to try it with mom! Are your boys that way?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My youngest has just overtaken me in the height stakes and I’m not short (5’8″). So unfair…
      Most of our disciplinary action centres around screen usage and homework. Having always been the one to supervise the latter and being the parenting half with the IT savvy, most of what has to be said is said by me. 🙂 And what I say goes.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have two boys, 23 and 14. Sports definitely wasnt the only thing going on in our male dominated home. Army men and their trucks, guns, and tanks. Nerf guns, cannons, bow and arrows, water guns, pistols, machine guns, suction cup bullets that stick to your face. BB’s. Everywhere. Did i mention guns? Big, small, tiny and gigantic trucks,cars, construction equipment, trains, helecopters, planes. Remotes for everything. Batteries for nothing. Dinosaurs. Super heroes. Monsters. Pokemon. Video games. Camouflage, legos, pirate hats. Slingshots. Cowboy boots, hat, and lasso!
    Of course, thats just the first child.
    Now that my youngest is a teenager, I’d give anything to walk in a bedroom and shake my head at all their toys laying around. I miss those little boys.
    I get what youre saying about being the only girl. More so now that the boys are older. Sometimes i feel a little left out, where when they were younger i would get down in the floor and play army or superheroes with them.
    I must admit, i kinda am hoping for a granddaughter one day 😉
    But boys were right down my alley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine are 19, 16 and 13 now and I have to agree with you about missing those little boys days.
      Guns weren’t big in our house, mainly because I wouldn’t allow it. Didn’t stop them making them out of Lego or Connector Pens. Boys… The occasional sword cut out of a cereal box or a light sabre cardboard tube were allowed.
      I tried to encourage the nurturing side with a whole “home corner” set up with a stove and refrigerator built from wine boxes and a cradle, pram and dolls. It kind of worked.
      Batteries….oh, the search for batteries….argh!


  3. You are lucky to have such sensitive boys who share your interests, Heather! Not only boys have floors littered with clothes and grot! Boys are a feature in our family too, with many generations of mainly boys. My brother has 9 grandchildren, one being a girl. I have 6 grandchildren, lucky enough to have 1 girl! Boys are wired differently, and being the only girl with four brothers, I should know! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are great boys and we have wonderful conversations about nerdy things.
      Out of ten grandchildren, my parents scored only three granddaughters. I had two sisters and two brothers but I’m closest to my younger brother. And I get along best with my nephews than my nieces. I think I’m just wired for boys. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the photos of your 3 handsome guys. Sounds like we had the same kind of sons … right down to the Japanese comic books. And while I’ll never be the mother of the bride either, my life is definitely interesting 🙂

    A recent FB exchange with my 30-year-old son:

    Jordan – As we work our way through yet another Harry Potter marathon this year, I’m still left wondering where my invitation letter to Hogwarts has gone to. ‪#‎offended‬

    Me – Listen, you were enough trouble without knowing any magic. No way I was going to let you anywhere near Hogworts. You’re welcome, World

    Jordan – YOU THREW MY LETTER OUT??? We’re going to need to have some words!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. You have a lovely red-headed threesome! I think it’s absolutely wonderful that your boys know about sonic screwdrivers and love the sci-fi channel. There is nothing odd or wrong about that. Kudos to them and their awesome mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the photos of your three! my kids , one boy one girl both did not fit into the ‘usual’ category. Those ‘normals’ drove me wild. Good for you to embrace what your kids are passionate about. As far as stinky clothes and apples on the floor, both of mine seemed to partake in the activity but my daughter had a lower tolerance. She would launch into a cleaning frenzy from time to time where I think my son might just have been swallowed up by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. From the photos, it looks like your boys are a close knit trio. They look like their are their own gang, like their own big bosses. I think it’s the stern stares they are wearing and showing to the camera.

    You are so right. Not all boys are fans of sports and not all girls like all thinks frilly and pink. Talk about gender stereotypes but let’s not go there. Cosplay sounds fun. I bet over the years you’ve put together costumes for your boys and it must have been fun hunting all the material to build each outfit. The Doctors photo reminds me of characters from Harry Potter, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They look pretty serious in that first photo, don’t they? Makes me laugh. 😀

      Hm. They have had their moments and at some point one or other has been on the outer but as they get older and develop similar interests, they seem to be a tighter bunch.

      The stereotyping in the article just really annoyed me. If there are hundreds of members in the MOB group, I cannot believe every one of them has sporty boys. That would be weird.

      I think I developed a bit of a reputation around school regarding costumes. I’ve always loved it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Stereotyping makes me grind my teeth and it seems to have gotten worse not better over the years! Like you I have three boys, but unlike you I have one daughter. Though she was never a girly girl, she wasn’t particularly sporty either, apart from one phase playing football. And before you think girls conspire with you, think again. She was very good with the wooden spoon stirring up her brothers then sitting smugly in the corner whilst all hell broke lose. She also won top prize in slamming doors and sulking and forget buying dresses! I have to admit she is the one child who keeps the most in touch with me and who keeps in touch with her brothers. My ‘boys’ are 40, 35 and 33 now – the first two played sports at one time or another and they all watch football, but the youngest was much more ‘bookish’ and interested in nature and wildlife. And yet he was the one who joined the army!

    PS I LOVE the title ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I think it has gotten worse even since mine were younger and it was bad enough then. I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t find tops that didn’t have army-themed logos on them.

      Isn’t it funny that the bookish one joined the army?! I thought I was going to end up with three IT experts (actually, I’d whinge that what was the point of having three boys if I didn’t get a plumber, an electrician and a builder? I don’t need IT experts, I’m pretty competent in that area) but while the Eldest Son is heading that way, the Middle Son has decided he wants to study Japanese. He’s not sure what he’s going to study alongside it, but it’s been fun exploring the Arts Faculty at the university open days just for a change of scenery. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • My three are all different: eldest worked in hospitality now with an airline (I’m waiting for the time he is entitled to free flights for more than his immediate family); middle one works in IT though started in a call centre (to my amazement as he only communicated in grunts) and the youngest, although very good at IT, decided he wanted to work outdoors. I thought he’d be an Oceanographer or work with animals in Africa but he was badly bullied at school and failed all his exams which made things harder, but he seems to have been happy in his choice of career which, after all, is the most we can hope for.
        I wish your boys well in whatever they do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sometime in the past 24 hours, I just wrote a comment on someone else’s blog about how irksome it was when my boys were young that girls’ tees all had frills sewn onto the shoulders and boys’ all had sports logos or violent or heroic “heroes”. Luckily, I found one store that sold acceptable clothes. That same store no longer does. The gender-typing is worse now than twenty years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Isn’t it? I recently had to buy myself a pair of men’s pjs because all the women’s ones were mostly pink with Tinkerbell or Minnie Mouse on them. Ack. (The ones I bought have Animal from the Muppets on them! 😀 )

          We have a store called Pumpkin Patch that sells clothes with much gentler designs. And they’re great quality. I was so sad when my boys grew too big for me to buy them clothes from there any more. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • The store I used to buy the boys’ clothes at got them from China (how un-P.C. of me), at a time when China wasn’t catering so much to the U.S. market’s tastes. Apparently, most of today’s parents WANT revoltingly-stereotypically-gendered clothes for their children.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay for mothering boys; and yay for busting stereotypes. I have one child — a son — and while he did the sport thing when he was younger, his real passions are skateboarding, photography and movies. And while I’m rubbish on a skateboard (though I get kudos for riding in heels), we bond over films and photography. I grew up with two brothers and a mum who (as the 4th girl in 5) subtly undervalues our gender, so I always felt I’d parent a boy better than a girl. I didn’t realise how much I was influenced by stereotypes until I was wandering around Mothercare in the last weeks of my pregnancy and accidentally stumbled into the candy floss pit that was the “girls department.” I remember the sense of claustrophobic panic, and offering a silent prayer (to a deity I don’t believe in) “please let me have a boy.” Ironically of course, he went through a fairy wings phase and has loved dressing up so much I probably made more costumes for him than I’d have had to for a girl anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I soooo get your reaction to the “candy floss pit” (great term!). Makes me shudder just thinking about it. I think I was just meant to have boys.

      My middle one went through a stage when every time I picked him up from kinder he would be in a dress and hat and pushing a pram. And we have a gorgeous photo of him breastfeeding his baby doll. 😀

      I am impressed at your skateboarding ability. The Eldest Son was given a skateboard in Grade 5 by a friend for his birthday. We live on the top of a very steep hill with the nearest flat bit of footpath a good 15 minutes walk away. It sat under the bed for a year. Then we dragged it out and took it down to the school to try it out on the basket ball court. He fell off and fractured his elbow. It went back under the bed where it remains untouched to this day (he’s 19 now).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well said!!! I live in a house of males too, but only one of which is a child. And he does in fact love every sport, but there is no sporting debris around my house, and he puts things away, and looks after all of his things…everyone assumes stereotypes don’t they rather than find out the truth?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was younger I had this idea in my head that one day I would have 4 boys (although marriage was not something that had even crossed my mind at that point). Ultimately, I chose to get married and to not have any children, so I have no experience in what it would have been like to raise a houseful of girls or boys (who most probably would have been redheads as I’m one). But the idea of a joining club such as the one you mention makes me shudder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that interesting? I wonder why you had that idea?
      After reading the article, I’m not keen to join myself. I should have known. I was once invited to be part of a group to start up a parent support group for gifted children (the Eldest Son having been assessed as gifted). It only took a couple of meetings for me to realise that I just didn’t fit the typical mould for a parent of a gifted child (no, we didn’t know he was gifted from birth; no, he didn’t prefer documentaries to the Wiggles as a toddler and no, we did not have to have words with the kindergarten teacher about making the program more challenging – ‘ack’ to all that) and I never went back. I suspect I would find the same in a MOB club.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. There’s a lot I can relate to here. Let me get some of the obvious differences out of the way first. I’m a father, so this obviously changes my perspective somewhat. On the other hand, girls have always been a rare commodity in our family. Almost all of my cousins are boys.

    The thing that I really liked about this post was your willingness to tackle that hoary old myth that boys have to love sport. My children think sport is okay, but are not that bothered about it either way. As for myself, I like walking, hill-climbing and cycling, but I don’t have a lot of interest in watching other people chase a ball or whatever. I’d rather watch Doctor Who with my kids than a baseball game. I’d rather visit a science or history museum than a sports arena. I’ll watch a bit of the Olympics or maybe an occasional game during the Soccer World Cup and no other sport at all in the years in between.

    Where does it say in the laws of the universe that boys have to be obsessed with sport? People who think that we should are presumably the same ones who also think all girls love to ooh and ah over pink dresses and dolls. Some do and that’s fine. Some don’t. And guess what… that’s also fine!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your perspective, Bun. I like that you, as a father, are supportive of non-traditional views of boys and girls. I was never a conventional girl so I think I’ve grown up with a sensitivity to those who stereotype either gender. I was disappointed in the article not only because it stereotyped boys as sports-mad but also stereotyped their mothers as women desperate for pink frilly things. The description of their gatherings was enough to put me off.

      As you say, sporty or not, both are fine. I just wish the author of the article had been a bit more inclusive.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Where does it say in the laws of the universe that Boys must do Sports? Good grief, man! Where have you been living! I think it must be the first law. For are not women who do not know rules of sports treated as though we are dim-witted, but men treated worse? And would a man who chose to duck a business event because he had tickets to a Big Game not be immediately excused, but if he had front row tickets to a major ballet, placed on the Short-Timer list? When you read your morning Guardian, do you not see that its categories, ranked in apparent order of importance, are:
      Top Stories/Sports/Opinion/Culture /Business/Technology
      Boys and their games are ranked ahead of business news and editorials. Every few months, some girls and their games are tossed a bone, just for show.

      Does that answer your question, Bun?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I does seem like it’s the first law of the universe at times. I’ve had male colleagues in the past who were perfectly nice people, but who found it a struggle to get through a conversation with me once it became clear I knew nothing about which team had won, which team had lost, when the game had taken place, who any of the players were, and what particular sport we were talking about.

        There will surely be many women who are heavily into sports too, of course, but I either haven’t worked with them or else they were capable of talking about other topics if required, so I didn’t find out about the depth of their interest.

        Of course, the fact I have nothing to say about the topic means I sometimes get put down as some kind of rabid sports hater with a radical agenda, but I don’t hate sports, I just don’t care about them. I’ve never been able to understand why people think the results are important. Politics is important. Science is important. Sports, not so much.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. I grew up with three brothers. It never occurred to me that there were any serious differences between us. I was lucky, although much of what we did was oriented towards their preferences, camping, snorkelling and canoeing were fine by me. I did dream of a sister in my teens, and ended up with two daughters – you get floors hidden by dirty clothes, rotten apples, empty yogurt pots under the sofa etc with them too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Teenagers are teenagers, eh? Although, from what I’ve heard, we get fewer slammed doors. Makes up for all the banged on and kicked doors in their pre-teens. (It got so bad at one time, I took the doors off their hinges and they had to go without doors on their bedrooms for a while. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Enjoyed the post (as you saw from some of my earlier comments), enjoy your breezy, entertaining writing style, sympathize with your testosterone-impregnated (well–that’s a particularly poor choice of wording, isn’t it? 😀 ) environment.

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. I just love the way you write. Your post made me giggle as I just recently had a conversation of a Mom of only boys and it sounded a lot like what you just said. I have both and I love to see how my girl enjoys dancing, playing with her dolls and dressing up just as much as playing soccer, doing Taekwondo and chasing her brother and his friends around when they have a Nerf war. Boys and girls have their unique little “labels” but if we let them, we will see their real personality. I think that we can push them into being boy or girl. You know what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read this comment ages ago and have just realised I never got around to replying. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. Yes, mothers of boys have a mutual understanding that no other mother will really understand. 🙂
      I know exactly what you mean. My boys had cars but also dolls. They had Lego and dress ups. I think kids just need to be kids and be given every opportunity to be who they are.

      Liked by 1 person

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