How Boys Turn You Into a More Lenient Parent
A Study in Boyology
Let me say this first and foremost: I love both my kids so much! This ia NOT a "boy vs. girl" story. This is a "change in parenting behaviour" story.
We had Emmy four years before we had Ian, so we lived in a girl driven world for four years prior to Ian's arrival. The house was quieter and more structured in regards to how we lived our days. As an only child, Em used to "quiet" play or talk in normal tones. She was not a loud child and loved to be read to... the same stories over and over. She loved to color, and play with chalk, and study the ripples of a puddle on a rainy day.
During this time as parents we were used to structure. We were a bit stricter in our parenting methods and were used to the pretty quiet atmosphere in which we lived. Things were picked up and put away. Emmy had a toy room that was hers to trash, but that's where the mess stayed.
Then came Ian. Let me be 100 percent honest. When I went for the gender ultrasound I was sure and ready for a girl. I wanted two girls at the time. After all we were prepared for a girl. When the ultrasound revealed a boy, I was unsure how to welcome a tiny boy into our quiet world. I loved him from the moment I knew I was pregnant, but boys were not my expertise.
Life alters every time you add someone new to your fold: that is a given. What I was unprepared for was the way your parenting parameters change when kids are added. For example: With one child, my house was picked up all the time. If we played we picked up. Things weren't out of place. Routines were followed. With one kids, your home government has been overthrown. My house is still picked up in term that we have clean floors. I now live with small piles throughout my home. Piles of homework, miscellaneous kid crap, mom stuff, dad work stuff. And I don't care like I used to. We still have a routine, but it is looser. More like guidelines versus strict rules.
Boys are motion! I never realized to the extent that Ian never quits moving! Always playing. His summer routine was toys to tablet to scooter to fridge to playing in t water outside. And then repeated ad nauseam on an never ending loop until he passes out.
Boys make you relax that internal schedule setter that you used when it was just you and your girl. Both kids are rarely ready at the same time to do the same thing. And you know what? I quit worrying about it. They will get places on time.
With Ian, I quit being that mom who drove herself crazy carrying everything for every possibility because boys always think outside the possible and go straight to the impossible. So next time they fall in the mud and the puddle eats the shoe never to be seen again, shake it off. Or when they manage to get ten cars stuck in the bend in the toilet and you have to buy a whole new toilet. It will be okay.
Boys will make parents say stuff you never thought you would have to say to anyone. After all you wouldn't have to get on your daughter about whipping out her privates in front of the neighbor. "Penises stay in the pants!"
I know that the more kids you add on the more parents can relax their standards, but there is something about raising boys in particular that creates a laissez-faire attitude in parents. It may be that expecting the unexpected in your boy's actions is too tiring to sustain for any length of time, so parents fall back on a "Whatever will be, will be," attitude. Plus, having a boy in the house makes your girl a little bolder, so play time becomes more rambunctious. Car rides are like directing wartime troops and quiet time is non existent. I wouldn't have it any other way.
All this being said, I am so happy to be blessed raising the kids I have. I wouldn't trade my crazy journey with these two kids for anything!!! (Even sleep) And I am grateful to Ian because he has shown me you can be a wonderful parent if your house isn't perfect or things aren't done quite on time. Kids are pretty amazing creatures. Fearless like I will never be, willing to be messy, late, creative in a way that makes me admire them. So here's to the parents who are lenient! Long may you rule.