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.
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?