I Asked 8 Young Mums What's it's Like Raising Two Boys
When my friend casually mentioned that she'd love to be a soccer mum and have three boys, I began to wonder what it'd be like to be a mum of boys. At the time, we had found out we were having a boy, and it seemed like every other pregnant woman around us were also having boys! Our midwife actually mentioned that boy births seemed to be on a record high last year.
And then, I began to notice just how many young mums around me are boy mums! I could very easily have featured over a dozen of such women in the post, but I tried to limit it to 8 of them who each have two little boys.
They all share their experiences as #mumofboys - picking boy names, resources and parenting tips, being outnumbered, learning from them and desire (or not) for a girl!
- Mum to Tese and Toni
When I found out it was another boy, God knows I was deeply pained! This pregnancy was so different, I swore it was a girl. It was a real let down for me initially but after a few days I told myself “you better snap out of this nonsense”, and truly Toni is such a gift. I don’t wish that he was a girl at all. But there’s a lot of pressure for a girl. I get comments like “just give us one girl,” “you need a daughter. The truth is I would really love a girl but my hubby and I decided on 2 children, so that’s it for us.
Picking names for our boys was very significant and we took it to God in prayer. My first son’s name came in a dream and my second son’s name just came to me one afternoon - I called my husband and said this is what I heard, he just yes!.
I wish someone told me that the little boys get erections in the morning as early as 20 months! This shocked me until I found out it was pretty normal.
I’m going to raise my boys to respect women, especially in this culture in Africa, where women are still seen as weak and beneath men. I want to lead my life in a way that they look at me and they know that my mama was a strong woman and she owned her territory and that’s okay!
My first son Tese is so fearless. He doesn’t understand danger yet so he does anything. That’s kind of how I want to live my life. Taking on opportunities without fear, going after my dreams.
I often daydream about how they would look and what their personalities would be like. I look forward to seeing the women they choose too.
My word for younger mum of boys: as we say in pidgin English "you go hear am" meaning "you're in for it" . You'll often catch me screaming “don’t touch that”, “come down from here”, “share with your brother,” but the bond you'll share with your little boys? Priceless
- Mum to Daniel and Alvaro
I'd like to have a girl. Not because of societal expectations (what's that?) but because there are so many women in my family that I can't imagine not passing on all the things I've learned to someone else. I doubt my sons would appreciate learning how to walk in heels. And then I think my husband would love to have a little girl. He's not the emosh type but I think he'd be putty in the hands of his daughter and I'd like to see that happen! But on hearing it was a second boy, I was pleased that my first would get a playmate! I think it's nice to have siblings be the same gender if they're close together in age.
I’m currently reading James Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys." I'm reading it now and learning to be patient with my toddler's mischief and adrenaline. I hope I'm fully ready by the time his younger brother joins him in the rough play!
I really don't think about their clothes much. Jeans. Chinos. Tan. Grey. Army Green. Blue. Plaid. Stripes. That's all they wear. So yeah, not much.
- Mum to Liam and Xander
Both pregnancies were quite different. With Liam I wasn’t myself from week 9 - 11. Nausea and fatigue were the bane of my existence. I slept so much, I would fall asleep anywhere and when I wasn’t sleeping I was throwing up or struggling to chug down plain crackers. We lived in France at the time and were surrounded by a sea of restaurants. The fusion of all kinds of food smells from the restaurants almost ran me mad. When I was lucky I could eat crepes and vanilla ice-cream (some of my favorite things to eat). I couldn’t eat anything else. I still remember my darling husband coming out of the kitchen with so much pride, carrying a tray of some good food he had made for me. On a normal day I would be thrilled but I responded with projectile vomiting while screaming "please take the food away…take it out, take it out!" I had lost almost 15 pounds (6kg) by week 11. By week 13 I was beginning to feel like myself again and enjoyed a relatively uneventful pregnancy. My second pregnancy was a huge surprise! I didn’t find out I was pregnant till I was 9 weeks gone. I was even more surprised that I was hardly ever nauseous or tired. I felt great and was really strong throughout.
One common thing with both pregnancies was my belly shape - My belly was perfectly round and extremely pointy! - attributes that fit squarely with the bump shape myth for boys. At least 10 people stopped me to tell me (in case I wasn’t sure ) that I was having a boy - just from my belly shape!
Growing up with 4 sisters and baby brother that arrived a year before I left home, I felt like I knew everything about girls and nothing really about boys. I assumed shopping for boys would be boring but oh no... that’s not the case at all! It’s an entirely new world for me. I find shopping for my boys so different and so fun. I’m counting down till Xander is a little bigger so I can start dressing them alike! I get excited every time my first son Liam gets a hair cut and I can’t wait for Xander to start going with Liam and their dad to the barber shop.
I love the fact that the boys are close in age. They’re so alike, yet so different. I see them being so close in a way that may be more powerful than it would be if they were of different genders.
As a girly girl - I already see that they bring a tough side out of me. I find myself tackling Liam already and engaging in semi rough play - running tirelessly outside, rolling on the floor and playing with even some gross bugs and insects. I’m also getting accustomed to some gross games Liam plays - often with his dad’s lead which always brings so much laughter!
I recognize the role I have to play as a mom of 2 men — I look forward to teaching them how to respect, understand and appreciate women and be amazing husbands and fathers one day. I look forward to teaching them about their important spiritual role in the family - roles women too often shoulder alone. I’m super excited about having daughter-in-laws that I’d love as my own one day.
Funny enough, I’ve always said if I could choose the order and gender of my kids I would choose to have 2 boys first and then a little princess. So far so good, even though my husband thinks he’s done especially after the circumstances of my last delivery - that’s a story for another day! But lets see, time will tell…
- Mom to Sohnna and Nnakere
For both pregnancies, I had no clue I was pregnant and I cried when I found as I wasn’t prepared. For the first, I was excited and my husband was ecstatic as he wants 3 boys!
I was hoping to close my baby shop at no 2 really - I had that girl feeling. But when I got the news, I was a little disappointed - but my husband was over the moon. After a few days I started to accept it particularly as I had friends and family that are struggling to have one - there was no way I could be ungrateful. And the plus side - no extra spending on new things. I had all boy baby specific things. So that was definitely a silver lining.
We wanted uncommon names for our boys. It was hard but my hubby was pretty good with mixing and matching Igbo words until we decided. Naming our second son was easier as we named him by virtue of what I went through in my first 3 months of pregnancy - it was tough!
If I got paid for every single time someone said to me. “So you're going again right; You have to give us a girl”. I really do want a girl. But only for 2 reasons, I’m quite girly, I love fashion - and I’d love a girl to join me on this. Also girls tend to take more care of their parents and spend more time around them than the men. But as the years go by I’m not as keen - but never say never. I’m however afraid of going again and having a boy. I really don’t want 3 boys!
Shopping for boys is super easy and super boring: Same trousers in the stores 3 seasons in a row! I don't bother shopping until I see they have out grown an item. No point - as you’re probably buying same khaki in a different size. I also shop mostly for my oldest son as the younger gets to wear his brothers hand-me-downs. Only in cases where I want to get them on the same outfit do I shop for both of them. Again, dress up time is approximately 10mins - So I have enough time for me!
Although they’re little, I still see that ‘male pride’ coming through. I look forward to them swagged up, all accomplished and right beside me and their daddy before they get married. I love seeing grown men rolling to church, in the presence of God and sitting beside their parents!
- Mum to Harold and Ivan
I think I have always liked little boys and their innocent mischief, although I was very slightly disappointed I wouldn’t be ticking the boy and girl card just yet. But having a second baby boy is like being on familiar territory with no surprises.
Seeing the bond grow between both boys is so heart-warming. The little one thinks his big brother is such a hero and is always amused by his gimmicks, while the “big brother” assumes his role pretty well most of the time. It feels good thinking they will grow up having each other’s backs and doing lots of fun activities together.
I love to co-ordinate their outfits for special outings and there is a lot of colors and styles to chose from, especially accessories like suspenders, bow ties or hats; or even the Nigerian native attires. Little boys look so cute in buba and sokoto! Oh, and sharing clothes…is also a plus, passing down clothes and shoes which haven’t served their money’s worth, as kids outgrow them so quickly.
Toddler boys have a lot of energy, but I take the responsibility of caring for them one day at a time, ensuring that they are fed and clean primarily. I enjoy seeing my boys eat the different recipes I try out, knowing that I am nurturing strong men to fulfill their God-given purpose.
I have heard people say daughters care more for their aged parents than sons, but that should not always be the case. While I wish to have a daughter to share girl stuff with someday, I look forward to cooking and shopping with my boys too; and I hope to, with the help of God, actively and consciously use all available resources to raise great men of good character without prejudice to gender.
- Mum to Tony and Taavi
When I was pregnant for Tony, before we found out the gender, my mum and her friends were convinced I was having a girl because of how much my complexion changed. I got about three shades darker. Apparently baby girls ‘steal all their mothers beauty’ when they are in the womb. Well I can say for sure that ain't true. Or maybe boys steal beauty too? Who knows?
When I say this people always get surprised, but my husband wanted only one child and he wanted a girl. His desire for a female child became my major negotiating factor in having a second child. And no, girl still didn’t happen. However, now that we’ve started raising kids and experiencing all the aspects of their lives we have to worry about, we are pretty comfortable without a female child. I love my boys and I give them one hundred percent attention and care. However, I feel a female child will require a lot more - way more things to worry about.
Dressing them up and shopping for their clothes has to be the absolute best part of raising boys for me. People say it's boring and I agree. But it's fast, efficient and stress free. Button down shirt or t-shirt, shorts or trousers, sandals or shoes and that’s it. They don’t even need to be matchy matchy. I really admire baby girls when I see them adorned in accessories but being a really busy mum all I think about is how much time it takes get those things on and keep them on. And don’t get me started on the hair! Don’t get me wrong, if I had a baby girl she will probably be the queen of all that stuff but right now I really enjoy not having to worry about that part.
In our household, there is no such thing as the presence or absence of gender equality. Chores, decisions and actions are not labelled by gender. Whoever is available gets the job done or makes the decisions having the family’s best interest at heart. What we teach them is empathy and concern for everyone’s well-being. To try your best and contribute all that you can to keep the family together, to get the job done and to make sure everything stays intact.
Just like girls have a special bond with their fathers, I really think boys have special bond with their mothers. Well, right now at this age they just want hugs and kisses from momma and want to cuddle momma. It's so heart warming. I know it probably won't last long, when they get into high school my hugs and kisses will become an embarrassment.
I have learned so many things and gained some major life skills from raising my boys like playing rough without getting hurt. But I’ve mostly learned to be patient and communicate in the appropriate manner. As tiny as they are, these boys won't get anything done if you yell at them. I get more positive response from them when I clearly communicate. That leads me to patience. My boys are strong willed and sometimes getting them to change their mind can be tricky. So patience is key. This has applied to other aspects of my life too. At work, with other family members and with friends, I just find myself trying to be patient and more tolerant of behaviours
- Mum to Gbolabo and Olapade
I was really excited when we found out the sex of the second pregnancy because he is exactly what we wanted. We want to have two boys and a girl last. We also already had all three names picked out.
My first son is so affectionate. He randomly gives me hugs and pecks on my cheeks several times in a day, and says “I love you mummy”. It makes my husband jealous, he keeps saying he can’t wait for his daughter to come.
I ensure my first son watches his dad do chores like laundry and dishes and cleaning up. That way he knows chores aren't meant for girls!
For parenting boys, I definitely recommend an online course - Moms of Men by Lisa Bevere
- Mum of J and CJ.
My boys are like night and day. J is sweet, kind, creative, social, yet independent and he loves endless snuggles. CJ is fierce, intense, yet shy and sensitive. He doesn’t like hugs; but he needs companionship. Even if they’re both the same sex, they’re not the same. Parenting two children of the same gender has given me an even greater appreciation of how distinct their little personalities are. Their differences surprise and delight me daily, and helps me resist assumptions and generalizations.
When we found out we were having another boy, we were so glad J, would have a brother to play with. The ironic thing is, people (somehow) expect us to be sad or longing for a daughter that we don’t have. With time you learn to ignore comments like “you must be scared to have a third, in case it’s another boy”, or “you should try for a girl, you know boys always leave their mothers”. People need to realise that being a boy mum is being a mum - and that simply rocks! I love my boys and I wouldn’t change them or a thing about them.
As a mother of boys - in this world of gender discrimination, glass ceilings, sexual assault, pay inequality, objectification, and so many other elements that so often work against women – I know I have a great responsibility in teaching my boys how to respect and treat women as equals. I’m very intentional about it and I refuse to get bogged down by stereotypes. I’m constantly reminding myself that there are actually no limits for my boys. They may enjoy cooking! They may love sewing! They play with teddy bears and they love pink! I’m very careful not to stereotype them… to be mindful of our culture and our faith, yes, but not to force them into a “box”. To expose them to all things regardless of if it is a “girl thing” or a “boy thing” and to offer it with an open heart and an open mind, not with preconceived notions of how society will take it. It’s very tricky, especially in this part of the world but one step at a time!
The absolute best part of raising boys is their protective instinct. There is a sort of protectiveness toward me that my boys exhibit - in spite of their mischievous impulses. They can’t bear to see me do the “fake cry”. My boys have always clung to me in a way that they don’t with anyone else. My relationship with them is so special.
There's a strong and consistent love that also comes from being the only girl in an all-male household – it’s like being a rock star in your own home; everyone adores you!
Reading books about parenting boys has been wonderful for me; one of my favorites is I’m Outnumbered by Laura Lee Groves. It’s an easy read by a mom of 4 boys; sharing practical tips and relatable advice.
The gift of making men for the future is wonderful and I look forward to them growing up to be fine, kind, Christian men. Teaching them emotional intelligence and seeing them display compassion with understanding is the best part. When they are grown men and they see their wives (or their female colleagues at work) as absolute equals – I will know it was all worth it.
Finally, there's a strong and consistent love that comes with being the only girl in an all-male household. it's like being a rockstar in your own home - everyone adores you!
I really did love every single one of these experiences - it makes me look forward to so many experiences with my little boy! I'll have to say that these mum of boys definitely 'sold it' - and I'm so thankful to them for sharing!
Have you got a boy kid(s)? What's your experience? And if you have girls too, how does parenting them differ? If kids are in your future plans what's your ideal number and gender?