Raising Men: 3 Reminders

“You are outnumbered!”

Yes, that’s me. I am far outnumbered by all the boys in my house. It’s just me and our dog Daisy: the reigning females.

Being a mom of boys means a lot more to me than just the idea of dancing with them on their wedding day (commence the bucket of tears because you know I’ll be a hot mess). It’s more than putting up with the stereotypical mess, smell, or quantity of food that disappears on a daily basis (it starts early). I am their first interaction with the opposite sex, after all. It’s more than just being a mom.

Set great expectations.

I am spoiled by my husband. He opens doors for me, hugs me often, tells me he loves me multiple times a day, takes care of my dirty dishes. He serves me endlessly. I give most of the credit, if not all, to his parents.

It’s not that I expect my boys to serve me. I don’t even expect them to bring me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, or even a dandelion from our yard in the summertime. But I do have great expectations, expectations that are realistic and learned. Things like good manners and respectful attitudes. Kind words. Listening ears and obedient hearts. Expectations that I hope will lead to men who serve just like their daddy served me.

My boys are 4, 2, and nearly 1. These are expectations they struggle to meet because, hello, they are little. They need corrected and encouraged often. They throw tantrums and cry over missing toys. They sure as heck do not have respectful attitudes and kind words when I tell them to clean their room. But I still set great expectations for them. Because in the days to come, I expect them to meet them over time.

Check your heart.

What is your motivation for discipline? What is your aim in your corrections? For a long time, my aim in discipline was so I didn’t look bad as a mom. I wanted perfection. I wanted well-behaved, respectful boys. And I expected it because I didn’t want to be embarrassed.

Check in with what’s going on in your own heart before you make a decision you regret.

Often times, when I go into a situation to correct a boy’s behavior, I am going in emotionally. I have anger. I have frustration. I have irritation. And it ruins it, completely. All they see is my crazy eyes (because for real, I can get crazy eyes). I need to check in with my heart. When I’m in the right place, I can be rational. When I’m not in the right place…crazy eyes. . And probably more yelling than I will openly admit.

Challenge yourself.

I hope in the future, when my boys are men, they think of me fondly. I hope that I was a great example of what a woman after God looks like. And I hope that I played even just a small role in their Christian lives because I longed for Christ when they were young.

Motherhood is a humongous challenge in itself, so you may think I’m slightly delusional when I say that you need to challenge yourself even more. But I mean it. Do the things that you are scared to do, even the things that you think you need to wait to do when your kids are older. Do not be afraid to be yourself, the you that is enthralled with the Most High. If that means working while your kids are little, do it. If it means staying at home, do it. If it means starting a business, do it. If it means finishing your degree, do it. Whatever you do, do it for the Kingdom. Make your life more than the growing of your boys. They will become men regardless of how much you hover over them. It’s the kind of men you want them to become that matters.

Raising boys is a lot of work. And I think it’s made easier when we put our confidence in what the Lord does, not what we do. My love for them is priceless; my hopes for them, endless. It becomes even more valuable when all that I have and do for them is wrapped in the love of Jesus. I’ll be praying for you, just as I hope you’ll pray for me too. These soon-to-be-men need us to need each other.

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