Mothering boys

Frequently as a mom I soar up into the stratosphere of knowing all and then I plummet into knowing nothing at all about parenting boys.

I was telling a friend about my oldest son who is 20 and has gone off and made many decisions over the past year or two that I didn’t see coming. Now my 18 year old is experimenting with sapphire blue hair. Meanwhile the 16 year old is doing his darndest to be the best version of himself he can be. I explained to my friend that some of the choices the older boys were making were not how I raised them to be. Her response was “didn’t you?’

“Umm no. I raised them to make other choices, more straight laced looking choices.”

She still disagrees. She explained that I have raised my boys to be who they want to be, I’ve raised them with courage to be different. With artistic gifts that I praised that allows them to branch out and explore their creativity.

It’s my feeling that hair is just hair. Mostly I have always cut my boys hair in a classic boy cut, a style that looks good on them. Ok except for the year or two I thought I could cut hair and those weren’t very classic, and contrary to my oldest sons memory I did not knick his ear with hair scissors once. But once when my oldest was in the last week of 7th grade he really wanted a faux hawk and I let him. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was the last week of school and it’s hair. It grows back. My other son loves his long blue hair. I personally think it looks a little like a My Little Pony mane and I want to braid it.  I know eventually it will fade, turn green and we can have it changed back to blonde.

My 3rd son is a level 10 gymnast at the age of 16. Some boys on his team quit a few years ago because they were teased for being gymnast. This has never bothered my son, I don’t know why. But he is strong and talented and has his own level of courage to be himself.

Isn’t this one of the most important things we can teach our boys? To be true to themselves. In a world that wants to change the way they act with drugs, shaming and fear. Hug your boys and let them spread their wings. There isn’t a one mold fits all in life. We need the doctors, soldiers, artists, dentists, garbage men, we need all of them. So love them, I wish I could go back and love mine more, to be less afraid of what teachers thought or strangers in grocery stores. I don’t remember teaching them to express themselves with tattoos, earnings or blue hair. And I hope some of that is temporary expressions of self, but I love them. Just as they are.

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Parenting Blues

One of my sons is 18 and a senior in high school. He actually turned 18 about 7 weeks into senior year because the cut off in the state we live is Sept 1. Its both hard and nice to be one of the oldest in school. I think it was wonderful when he was in kindergarten and first grade when it was tough to sit still for so long, especially for boys.

Now that he is 18 and just dying to be graduated it’s harder. At 18 you are technically a man, and yet you live at home as a student.

So imagine my 18 man/child calls me with his girlfriend to say he’s going to dye his hair blue. This is my handsome tall, blonde son. I’m not a fan of blue hair, especially on boys. Honestly it makes me sing the “My Little Pony” song in my head, and I want to put pretty bows in it. But he’s 18 and it’s his hair. I told him; I didn’t think it was a good idea, its a tough color to really fix after, he’s about to have senior prom and all sorts of important things and lastly his dad will have a fit, along with his paternal  grandparents who live in the area. But ultimately it’s his hair, I just didn’t think it was a great idea.

So they did it. Bright, BRIGHT blue.

His dad, my ex, had a major fit. He called me quite angry that I didn’t tell our son no. I explained that I had said it wasn’t good idea and I didn’t want him to do it, but for all the reasons above I didn’t just say no. Because I don’t feel it would do any good, and at his age he can make decisions. I was given long lecture by the ex who is an attorney and can be very long winded. He picked apart all my wording just like I was on the witness stand.  And I ended it by saying when I told our 20 year old son no tattoos, did it stop him? No. When that same son wanted his nose pierced and I said no, did it stop him? No.

When I talk about this it sounds like I’ve raised some interesting kids, blue hair, tattoos, nose rings… lol and it wasn’t the way I raised them. We taught them to be pretty straight laced. I’m not sure whats going on. Other then they are strong boys with creative ideas and a desire to standout. Hopefully they will find even better ways as they grow and mature.

I don’t think I was wrong. I don’t think putting my foot down and forbidding him to dye his hair was the right thing. And it is just hair. And in 4 months he leaves for a service mission for our church where he will be very clean cut. I think he wants to get it out of his system now and I completely get it. Maybe I should remind his father about what he did to his hair and ears when he was a senior in high school… But would that do any good? No.

Post note, I saw a wonderful article on Huffington Post this morning about a  woman dying her hair blue. And I’m sure it was the universe talking back to me after I wrote this article! Wonderful read!