Dear mum’s of growing boys.
My son is six. He is wading clumsily through days heavy with adventure. Sticky ice creams and skimming his knees climbing anything in sight. Yesterday, I had a forty five minute stand-off with him over the wrong application of butter on toast. I mean, what?!! My boy is three foot of stubbornness in a Pikachu t-shirt. This morning, lip wobbling, fists clenched, he demanded I put on his stripy socks. That he could remember how (said in that whingey, overtired tone. You know the one).
‘You can do this yourself honey.’
He can but sometimes he won’t. Doesn’t fancy it. A Western style standoff over his naked left foot ensues. Anyone else find themselves in this situation? Their kid face down on the floor in protest over something utterly ridiculous. Maybe a Cheerio was the wrong colour, or it rained. Perhaps I should give in and just dress him. What am I pushing for? Him to respect what I have asked, to achieve something on his own. Looking at his coltish long legs and crossed arms he wavers between his baby-self and becoming a mini man. He wants to be big enough to choose not to eat his carrots or watch ‘big boy’ programs on TV, but then some days tells me I should wipe his bottom as his arm is tired.
A six year old is of course still a child, I am not demanding he prematurely skip off to university and start growing a goatee. But all boys save one grow up, and mine is not Peter Pan. Right now both he and I are stuck in transitions. There are times when I get mad at him for not acting his age, and then start crying because my boy is ‘growing up too fast.’ Ooof. No wonder why he is confused.
We need to move forwards but there is part of me that can’t let him go. I need to sort out my s**t. It’s time to Google, or to purchase a parenting book. It is not just our kids but us as parents that need guidance. Reassurance. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?
So what do I do, encourage responsibility, but in a way he does not feel pressured? Offer independence but still warmth and compassion. Ask that he make his bed every day and watch him ride off without his stabilisers. Kids the same age play on the street unsupervised. The idea makes me sweaty, and I say he is too young. Am I being too restrictive? He helped me garden yesterday and I let him hack roses with the hedge shears. I don’t think I am too much of a bubble wrap mum.
Do I tell him to be careful too much? To get down, to stop fighting? Say no, no, no. My boy is a little muddy ball of adrenaline and energy. Perhaps I need to sign him up for more sports cubs. Team activities. Our house is a box so we only have the odd playdate. Is the boy isolated, socially restricted? Should I send him off to a pub quiz? Playdates tend to result in him asking what sex is and telling me to shut up. No more playdates Mr you are living in a cave FOREVER. It worked for Batman.
When he was a child everything was mummy, mummy, mummy, now he is influenced by so many other things. School, the kid next door, Power Rangers.
What am I secretly afraid of?
That today will be the last day he asks me to pick him up. To help him wash his face. To ask for a kiss goodnight. Distance has fallen between us. I think it is called growing up. Not that my son does not need me, of course he does. I, at thirty need my mother just as much, but just in a different way. For different things. It is a strange sort of bereft grief I feel. Mourning for that baby I held in my arms, 7 lb, 7oz. The days turn into months and the months turn into years. I keep the years in my heart. My boy needs to face challenges and I will fight my fears. Time cannot take away the fact that I will always be him mother.
I’m steering the ship, but have been demoted as captain. And am frightened and happy all at once. There is so much for him, for us to celebrate. All of these firsts also have lasts, years are a stepping stone to his life. And he will be magnificent. At least I can still watch him sleep and smooth down his hair as I can’t ‘embarrass him’ when he is comatose.
Dear mums of growing boys, help me find my way. Shine a torch.
Growing up is both wonderful and terribly sad.
How old are your children, teens, tweens, are you an empty nester. Has your baby just turned one and you are celebrating with a hint of sadness? How do you find a balance between encouraging your children to be independent and still give them everything they need? What on earth do they need?!
Little man is one in just under a month and time is flying! he gives me a look of “mummy dont be so silly” and i know there is such an independant stubborn streak in him so god knows how he’ll be when he cant do something!!! #stayclassymama
Sorry I don’t think I can help on this one! He sounds like he has a mind of his own, which is good and bad lol. I love the stunna shades, he’s looking super daper. : ) #stayclassymama
And there’s the proof of my bonkers week!! I posted twice! Sorry about that…..
A really moving post. I can remember my boy being this age and it’s soooo lovely. Enjoy and sorry I took a while to post! It’s been one of those weeks! #Stayclassamama
What a beautiful and moving post. Growing up is wonderful and sad at the same time, you are so right. But for every baby reliance you lose and mourn, a new element of discovery and excitement comes in and they amaze you with the things they can do that are all themselves. #stayclassymama
My “baby” was thirteen last weekend, and I can remember him turning one and feeling as though my heart was breaking! Now my actual baby is almost three and knowing there will be no more makes me want to hold him close and keep him at my side forever!! #stayclassymama
oh bless you sweetheart. such a poignant post. it is so hard when they want their independence and we dont want to let them go. Im thankful my little one still wants her mama at the moment as letting her go is going to be one of the hardest things ever!!
I totally know what you mean… and my little man is only two and a half! Its so hard watching him grow into a little boy… his own person without wanting to keep him close. But in the end you have to let them spread their wings… they will always need us! We are always their ‘go to’ for sure, boys always tend to be Mummies boys! #stayclassymama
I loved this! As a parent of a 14 year old boy I remember thinking the same at you when he was 6. He needs everything you’ve given him so far. You are enough. You can do this because you are him mummy and he believes in you. Good luck. #stayclassymams
It’s so hard to get to I’m sure you’re doing a fabulous job at balancing giving your little man his space and encouraging his freedom. And I totally get where you’re coming from – I love how my daughter is growing up and becoming her own little person, but it’s hard to know that she doesn’t need me as much as she used to. But she still needs me, and always will – just in a different way. #stayclassymama
I have absolutely no advice to give as mine is only 11 months old, but please keep us updated on what works! #stayclassymama
Mine will be six next month. It’s such a weird age, isn’t it? One minute they seem like they are 12, the next 3. #stayclassy
It is soooo difficult! (boys and girls 🙁 ) my youngest has just turned 1 and my eldest is about to be 7, where did the time go?! #stayclassymama
Erm…. I don’t think honk works in that sentence! It was obviously supposed to say ‘think’! Although there has been a lot of sicky honking in my house today! Haha! X
My boys are 7,5 and 1 and I know how your feeling with the stand off and the arguments. The older two are pushing boundaries at the moment wanting to be grown up but yet mothered when’s it suits them. My moto has always been to choose your battles some days I will have the stand off over shoes but not argue over say tv. I do find they need to run around a lot maybe the park as a play date for just an hour? #stayclassymama
This scares me so much! Mine are 3 and 9 months, and I’m so nervous for the future. I honk the older the get the better we have to be as parents. There are so many big issues to face and handle, and so many big life lessons to navigate. It seems to me like you’re doing a brilliant job! #stayclassymama
Ah this resonates so much with me as my wee man is 6 too, and I desperately called after him ‘kiss, kiss’ (needy Mummy!) as he walked off into class withouth a second thought for me, and I realised things are changing. He’s my youngest of 3 so I’m trying to hold on to baby him more than ever. But like your little one, he’s a bundle of energy and drive and stubborness and demands. And he’s stretching so much, no longer the cute little thing I could bundle in my arms and I’m wondering where the time has gone. But they’re growing up, and that’s what is meant to happen but I know I do struggle with it. #stayclassymama
You are not alone let me assure you, I have days when I want to scream to our boy J (aged 7) “GROW UP WILL YOU?!” and other days I want to stop time and slow him down …. its a juggle and it will never end.
I thought I was the only one who had an over-wnergetic little man. We’re in a similar situation; we hardly have playdates and sometimes (especially during winter) I feel like he’s isolated. My little man doesn’t ask me about sex yet (he’s only 3yrs) but I am dreading that time when it comes… “Mr you are living in a cave FOREVER. It worked for Batman” – made me laugh so hard!! 🙂
I have a 9 year old boy and 6 year old boy. The 9 year old was very independent, but is a highly sensitive child so needs a lot of support emotionally. The 6 year old is not highly sensitive, but flits between acting like a teen and a toddler. You never quite know what you’re going to get!
I try to avoid dressing him except for at night, when I put him into his PJs. It’s just such a special time that I still love to do it and I believe it helps him to sleep as part of his bedtime routine.
Oh Jade this is so beautifully written. I sympathise, as you know. I don’t have the answer but I do find that the independent streak of 6 has passed and we have settled back into a wonderful way of existing. There’s banter, there’s humour, there’s love and cuddles. Stephen Biddolph’s book on Raising Boys helped me massively. I also read recently about the number of hugs a growing boy needs from his mother and it mentioned that they needed more as they grew not less – they are trying to be men but they need the security that their mothers give them to really feel safe. If I find the piece I’ll message you lovely xx you’re doing a grand grand job – he’s a gorgeous inquisitive bright boy xx
My baby was 9 last month. 9! He still wants cuddles but i fear as i let go each one might be the last. He is growing up, happy or be with me but confident to be away. I guess its success, as a parent them not growing up would be your worst nightmare. We don’t really want them to stop Now, but sometimes an extra moment to breathe I in and hold them would mean the world..
My daughter turned one a couple of weeks ago. In a way I was incredibly happy as I love seeing her grow, develop and thrive. On the other hand I found myself missing the newborn cuddles, the little sighs as she slept and how little she was. It will probably be tougher for me as time goes on, but for now I’m embracing her growing up.