by Laura Lee Groves
There you sit—the new mom, rocking your little blue bundle while his big brother plays on the floor nearby. It's an idyllic picture. Suddenly, it hits you—you're now outnumbered. One boy plus one more equals two. Multiple boys, one mom. It doesn't seem like such a big thing now; after all, they're just babies, toddlers. But as those little guys grow, they become more male, and interact in a way that is often foreign to a mom. Trust me ... I know. Four boys, all three years apart, interact in my home.
Did I expect to have four children? Yes. Did I expect they'd all be boys? Well... no. But at one point, Jonathan was nine, Matthew was six, Andrew was three, and Benjamin was a newborn. Talk about feeling overwhelmed! Don't get me wrong—multiple boys are wonderful, but that sentiment comes only after lessons learned in twenty-four years of mothering.
Along the way, I've gathered some valuable knowledge from a variety of sources. But while a number of men have written on the subject of raising boys, a female voice is lacking. The words of a literary character stick in the mind of this English teacher. When Shakespeare's Romeo is chided by his mentor, Friar Laurence, Romeo responds, "Thou cannot speak of what thou dost not know!" A father can tell you a lot about raising boys from his perspective, and researchers and psychologists have much to add. Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys brought our sons' unique challenges to the forefront and provided sound advice for parents.
But there are certain things only another "boy mom" knows. I've had my share of mentors—other boy moms whose boys are older—who forged the way. I made numerous phone calls to one or another of them along the way—and honestly, I still do. We laugh, we wonder, we commiserate. I invite you to laugh, to learn, and to wonder with me as I merge boy mom experience with the words of well-known authorities and the ultimate authority, the Word of God.
What Can You Expect from This Book?
You can expect to learn and grow and nod your head at times. You'll find stories, quotes, true confessions, and the results of research in these pages. Chapters are short and to the point because I know that a mother's time is precious. When children are around, you grab bits and pieces of a book, rarely a whole chapter at one sitting. You may need to pick and choose chapters in this book, selecting those that speak to where you are at a particular moment. At best, you'll learn and be encouraged. At least, you'll realize you're not alone in this boy mom adventure, and you'll find yourself able to smile along the way.
You can also expect to learn more about what makes being a boy mom so unique. Stephen James and David Thomas write in their excellent resource, Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, "Mothering a boy will require things of you that mothering a daughter will never require." The differences in boys and girls are well-documented. Their minds, their rates of development, their learning styles, their hearts are crafted by God in different ways. Because of those differences, many mothers fail to ever really connect with their sons. This book will give you the tools to better understand your sons and will help you find the best ways to nurture them.
You can expect to be empowered. William Pollack wrote in Real Boys, "I believe that by empowering the mother you empower the son... Far from making boys dependent, the base of safety a loving mother can create—a connection that her son can rely on all his life—provides a boy with the courage to explore the outside world." So be empowered, Mom, and empower your sons in return.
Laura Lee Groves is a high school English and drama teacher who has written for Moody Magazine, Focus on the FamilyÕs Focus on Your Child, Indianapolis Star, and Coral Ridge Ministries. She also has contributed to the upcoming Book LoverÕs Devotional and www.KindredHeartWriters.com. The mother of four sons, Laura and her husband, John, live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.