Parenthood

I always knew a wanted to be a mama.

You know the way some people say they never felt the urge to make babies until the old biological clock started ticking, or until they met the right man, or until their friends started rocking baby bump after baby bump. Well, I knew long before that.

Not that I rushed into motherhood by any stretch, being 28 when my little girl was born, but for as long as I can remember I knew my heart held this space for my future babies.

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The thing is; I just always envisioned those babies to be girls. I don't know why, really, other than I come from a family of girls. My mum has one sister. I have one sister. My sister has two little girls. After having N first (and getting my I-am-a-girl-mama theory confirmed – or so I thought!), I would proclaim to those wondering about all the girls that I just wouldn't know what to do even with a little boy.

Like; what are they even into toy-wise (Dinosaurs?! Diggers?). Aren't they so loud? Would you be in for a life of mud stains and sticks and pee on your toilet seat?! It was just a world I had not had any contact with.

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Until Luca Phoenix was put in my arms. All fresh, and warm and new. All 10lb 1oz of him. With his dark hair and his creamy newness and his kissable, pouty lips. When our skin touched and our cries melted into each others, and our eyes spoke with this language only him and I seemed to know. And just like that, I was a boy mama. And my pink and fairy-winged world shifted on its axis.

And now? Fast forward two years (the fastest of my life, coincidentally!) and not only am I still head over heels in love with my little guy, I have also fully embraced being a boy mama – and trust me; it is all sorts of amazing.

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And if you are wondering what makes it so special, here are my ten absolute favourite things about being the mama of a little boy:

1. Little boy clothes

This one baffled me a little, as I thought shopping for boys would be some much more mundane that shopping for girls (I mean; there are no frilly rompers, for starters.). But; let me assure you, getting lost in little boy shorts and little tiny Converse and cool boy shirts and dapper stripes; it is SO much fun!

(To the extent where I have curated his wardrobe so perfectly that I really struggle when people bring us stuff that doesn't go with his "look" of gorgeous greys and nautical stripes and the cutest preppy shorts you can imagine. Sorry; no cartoon characters or garish colours or tracksuits for my little trendsetter!)

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2. Getting out of the house is easier

With girls, the whole dressing thing is a little more time-consuming. With my boy, there is no hair styling. No braids or ballet buns. No "mama, these tights don't go with this skirt!". Just pants, shirt, shoes and you’re off. And (as of yet, and I'm hoping it will last!) he doesn't care what the hell I put him in.

3. Emergency vehicles are cool

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We are now all about firetrucks and ambulances and police cars in our house, and if we see one in real life? Day. Made.

And the thing is; I am all for not gender stereotyping, and L did come into a house stuffed to the brim with Barbies and My Little Ponies and glittery tutus (because that is what my little girl is all about). And what does he want to play with? Cars. Trucks. Race tracks. He was exposed to the complete opposite, is surrounded by it, in fact, as they still share a room, and just could not care less about all of N's girly thing. He is all about things with wheels, that guy.

4. He is always moving

L's level of energy is equally exhausting and amazing. Mostly amazing (when we are not on a plane, which we often are.)

5. It’s good to parent someone who’s not like you

I have come to believe that it is a healthy challenge to raise someone different than you. While N is my spirit animal in every way, my mini-soulmate, if you will, L is like a Jupiter to my Mars. And it's so amazing to get to understand him. To try to relate. To understand where he's coming from. Having a boy gets me out of my comfort zone, out of my head, it makes me embrace a more physical, tactile approach to the world.

The fact that he is such a wild child, so carefree, so full-on and curious, it balances me, I have now come to understand. Type-A, overthinking, control-freak me, I needed him.

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6. I get to learn about a world I was never a part of

Maybe I am jumping to conclusions, as L is still only two, but I have a feeling he will be totally into things like football and snowboarding (he is half Norwegian, after all!) and just activities that are far removed from the ballet and gymnastics that N does (and that I did growing up).

And now I will get to take part in it. Be the soccer mom who shouts encouraging words on a football pitch in the lashing rain. Drive him and his mud-covered entourage of little friends around from rugby practice to karate camp – and I am loving it.

7. The (invisible) bond with other boy mamas

It's like a secret club I never previous knew existed, but that I have now come to be member of. We got each other, us boy mamas. We exchange knowing eye rolls as we run past each other on the street, wrangling our rowdy little dudes. We get it. Smile and nod as we meet in hospital A&E departments when our little wild child's have broken yet another bone or fallen off another kitchen counter.

Boy mamas are a special breed. There is an unspoken kinship that evolves out of the joyful exhaustion, and I am loving it.

8. The knowledge that you are shaping the man he will be

It is both scary and amazing to think about how my tiny toddler boy will someday be a fully grown man. A husband. A father. And the idea of raising him to be the man I want him to be, is kind of humbling. I want L to be the kind of man people will always say was "raised right".

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A man who will never make a woman cry. A man who will know that just because we now know that men and women are equal in every way, it doesn't mean that chivalry is dead. I try to teach him to treat everyone with respect. To be fair. To always consider the consequences of his actions and to never be afraid to speak his mind. To raise boys into men? It's a pretty amazing job.

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9. His always messy hair

Every morning I (try to) brush my little boy's hair. And before we manage to even leave the house, he has without fail messed it all up again. And my heart does a backflip every time, because the truth is, I love his perfectly boy-ish messy hair so much it hurts. I can't help but run my fingers through it and marvel at how soft it is and bury my nose in it and drink in way it alwys seems to smell of shampoo and playdough and vanilla and fresh air – all at one.

10. The way he loves me in a way no other man ever will

You always hear the expression "mummy's boy", but never until I had a boy of my very own did I fully understand the saying. Now I know. The way L loves me is so overwhelmingly amazing and so, so sweet.

His hugs when I walk through the door. The way he still likes nothing more than to sleep as closely tucked into me he can, his clammy little hand wrapped around mine. The way I can smell his head and literally feel dizzy with love. The way, when he has hurt himself or is scared or upset, only me holding him close can make everything OK again. He loves his mama like no-one else ever has (well, no boys, at least) and I am loving every second of it.

What do YOU think, mamas? Is it not just the most amazing thing, raising little boys? I would love to hear why you love raising your boys/girls in the comments, or send me an e-mail at Trine.Jensen@Herfamily.ie

Read more about:

parenting, being a parent, motherhood, raising boys, little boys