Raising Boys? Has It Changed You? Are You Accepting Of Their Significant Others?

Are you raising boys? If so, how has it changed you? How do you get along with their girlfriends and wives? I didn't give these questions much thought until I read this quote from Joanna Trollope, author of the book Daughter-in-law

"I find that women who have daughters and sons and women who have just daughters are not the same as women who only have sons. It comes out of their reaction to being in this sort of testosterone household where they are the only woman. It seems to me that they can either be supportive and join in, do all the things that the boys do, or they can do a Victoria Beckham and become excessively feminine. I'm making a observation in this book and I'm not being judgmental or critical because it's down to chance how people cope with the hand they've been dealt." (An except from the Article, Accepting Son's Wives).

I am acutely aware that I am the only woman in our household of 5; even our cat is male, however, I have never stopped to consider if I have changed since becoming a part of an overwhelmingly male household. I think that I have become more loving and more patient.  I am also both stronger and softer. No one who knows me well would ever accuse me of being the "touchy-feely" type but I find myself constantly hugging and kissing the boys. As I write this, two of the babies are in bed next to me and I am looking at them adoringly and trying to resist the urge to give them a big hug.  I would like to think that I would be the same way if I had girls.  

In some ways, I have tapped into my softer side but I also feel a need to be stronger or at least appear stronger. My slogans for life have always have always been "live and let live" and "chart your own course" but boys need clear guidance and firm boundaries. Now I find myself being firm with rules and with timeouts, although my timeouts often end with a hug. When the boys sneak into our bedroom holding hands at 2a.m., I am just not strong enough to take them back to their beds. I leave that task to the hubby. 

My friends with older children tell me that around the teenage years, I will be eagerly awaiting the day that they move out of my house but I cannot imagine that day. At this point, I would be happy if they lived with me forever and bring their wives and kids. Yes, I know that I am looking through rose colored glasses and drinking too many sugary drinks. Can I at least follow them to college? Strangers often comment, "you must feel like a queen in your house!" Not yet.  Being a good mother and wife is hard work with little time to sit and relax. I do feel very loved and very blessed. Most days, I am happy if everyone picks up their socks from the floor. 

Ms. Trollope discussed how difficult it is for mother of boys to adjust to their girlfriends and wives. I am years away from that reality, but I have thought about it on occasion. I do hope that the person that they marry will be kind, a giver, strong but loving, compassionate, self-assured and optimistic about life and love. If not, I will resist the urge to say "If she doesn't treat you right, come on home, baby".  Instead, I will relax and reclaim my "live and let live" persona, knowing that I have raised them well.