As the mom of three boys, I’m often asked how I do it. I’m also asked if I know I’m missing out by not having a girl (as if I had control over that), which is my least favorite question. Ever.

Girls are amazing. I love being a girl, but was undoubtedly born to be a boymom. It’s hard to communicate that without sounding frustrated, so I have to dig deep and smile and say something like, ‘I don’t know… these boys are pretty awesome,’ and leave it at that. Sometimes it’s hard to leave it at that.

But that’s another story for another day.

So, how do I do it? I’m a big believer in the truth that God gives us what we need to handle who and what He has gifted us with, so it’s not something I’ve given much thought to. Call it mother’s intuition or maternal instinct, but the second each of those darling boys were placed on my chest, they had my heart. I knew we were in for an epic adventure.

That’s how it is for us moms, right? We do what we know to do, and figure the rest out along the way.

I have, however, made plenty of mistakes along the way, and it’s taken more trial and error moments to figure this out than I’d like to admit. The way children are able to easily and wholeheartedly forgive continues to humble me, and drives me to be my best for our boys always. We can’t forget that they need understanding and grace too. After all, they’re kids who are trying to figure out this world, just like we are.

When the boys were very little, I was a big time helicopter mom.

While I thought I was doing them a favor by protecting them from all the things, by the time our third boy came along, I finally started to see the light. Constantly hovering over them, laying out figurative bubble wrap, stopping their wild horseplay, and being afraid always was not only wrong, it was preventing them from growing into the men God created them to be.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still struggle with this now and then, but overall I’ve let so much go. Brian’s helpful helicopter noises when I’m pushing it don’t hurt either, lol.

In 19 years of being a boymom, I’ve learned a lot. More than I realize, likely. But there are five things that stand out as most important.

1. Let them be rough.

Boys were created with this innate need to wrestle, roll around in the dirt, take things apart to see how they go together, ride 4-wheelers, and shoot guns*, to name a few. Dangerous and daring equals fun. And know this: if a boy is double dared to do anything, he will most definitely do it, if for no other reason than just to prove the darer wrong. 

{disclaimer: I understand not all of you will agree with me bringing up guns, and that’s okay. All I can do is share my experience. Brian and I were raised knowing how to use guns, and have taught our boys to do the same, believing that doing so replaces the mystery of it all with a healthy respect instead. Besides, when I began to see their determination to turn just about anything into one – the most impressive being that time they bit their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into pistols – I knew it was a lost cause anyway.}

Boys are made to take risks.

As an 80’s kid who rode her bike everywhere and had never even heard of a helmet, much less worn one, you’d think I’d be pretty cool with this.

You’d be wrong. At first, anyway.

When we lived in Georgia, our neighborhood was full of boys, and they were always up to something. At one time, several of them had these plasma car scooter things they would fly down our street on (which was a decent-sized hill). I did insist on helmets then, and either didn’t watch or partially covered my eyes, but it was then that I realized how much they needed this stuff. They still talk about how fun that was, especially how great those years in Georgia were – climbing trees and rocks, exploring the woods, their epic NERF wars… it was the best neighborhood for boys to grow up.

I think they still talk about it because it was in those years when they discovered what they were capable of. These days, if I hear a crash upstairs, I typically look up towards the ceiling and shrug, knowing that if something broke, it’s likely fixable. Or replaceable. Those moments were always filled with life lessons for all of them.

It’s those wild, adventurous moments that teach boys how to become men. Please rememberit’s possible to have boys who are all boy but still gentlemen. Just teach them what those expectations are (saying “yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir no sir, holding doors open, when it’s time to settle, and when and how to speak with an indoor voice, to name a few) from the start, and they’ll catch on.

2. They need to see what being a woman of God looks like.

Moms, you are their first love. They look to you for comfort and affirmation, and in their eyes, there’s no one better or more beautiful or more gentle than you. This is your opportunity to show them what being a woman of God looks like because, believe me, they start paying attention early.

Again, please don’t forget that you are going to mess this up from time to time, which is why it’s important to remember grace. Give it and receive it always.

They need to see you spending time with the Lord.

This is true even when they’re too young to know what you are actually doing. Talk about God with them – start with pointing out the things God made, and as they grow, your conversations will naturally get deeper. Sharing what God is doing in your life and telling them what you’re praying over them are two wonderful ways to make these conversations easy and natural. Not only will they always associate you and their home with safe, happy memories, they will likely look for a wife who loves Jesus too.

3. Kick awkward to the curb from the start.

You might remember those awkward conversations about sex with your parents when you were a preteen (or whatever age you were at the time). Mine actually happened with my Momo (my grandma) and wasn’t bad at all. She had a way about her that made things comfortable, and quite often, hilarious. I carefully tucked away the memory of how she handled that conversation, somehow knowing it would come in handy eventually. It did.

One of the advantages of being a boymom is that typically it’s the dad who takes each boy out to fish or hunt (or whatever else he might be into) and talk about the birds and bees. But we’re not going to get out of it that easily. Things will come up. Trust me. The sooner you establish that it’s not weird or embarrassing to ask questions, the sooner they will learn not to be embarrassed or ashamed for asking them.

Creating a safe environment for them to ask questions sets you both up for a lifetime of trust.

It also gets easier for you to hear the questions and not react with a cringe or shock if you establish this habit early. Keep the answers simple, and don’t make a big deal about it. Also remember – it’s always better for them to ask more questions than for you to give more info than they are ready for.

4. Be intentional with their girlfriends/future wives/wives.

There are a lot of things I love about my mother-in-law, but the thing that tops the list was the way she made me feel like family from the very beginning. I always knew where I stood with her, and that was in love. We couldn’t be more different, which makes this even more special to me because it shows that she loves me unconditionally.

For the first time in our family, all three of the boys have girlfriends at the same time. It feels like a little glimpse into the future, which has been fun! Brian and I have set out with a determination to show these girls that we care about them and take an interest in them. Whether or not these relationships last forever isn’t necessarily important; making them feel welcome and loved always is.

So, what does that look like, you ask? For us, it’s inviting them over for meals around the table. Playing card games with them. Including them in family traditions. Taking them out for coffee (either with your son tagging along or not). Just do whatever you normally do. I promise you, this will mean the world to your boys.

A wise woman once told me that when you do these things, you won’t lose your sons. They will want to come over and spend time with you when they have their own families, or in other words, as I’ve so often heard, you won’t lose them to their wives’ families. It will be balanced, as it should be. I’m counting on that.

5. Love their Dad well.

This seems obvious, right? You would think so. Have you ever been around other moms who talk bad about their husbands in front of their kids, or drop the ‘just wait til your dad gets home’ threat on them? Doing that disregards the team mentality your marriage should have, and making Dad the bad guy is not what you want to do.

And then there’s the “Can’t Adult Today” trend that’s hung around way too long – acting generally beat down about life as if it is all a big burden isn’t good for you or your kids. Sure, it could be making light of a situation, and there are absolutely going to be hard, trying days. On those days, it helps to remember that there is a large number of women who would do just about anything to be in our shoes. Remembering that fact alone can be enough to remind us of how blessed we are, right?

Honor your husband always.

In private. In public. And definitely in front of your boys. When they hear you brag on their dad, it’s builds them up too. They will look to him as an example of what a husband and dad should be even more because of your attitude towards him. Kiss him in front of your boys, and let them see you having fun and laughing together.

Making your marriage a priority is one of the best gifts you can give them.

I know there are so many more things I could share, but I hope this has been helpful. I’m sure you’re already doing a lot of these. Those of you with boys who are babies or preschoolers are in such a great spot to incorporate these ideas, but even if you have older boys or teenagers, it’s not too late. Just remember – the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He made you their mom, and there’s no one better for the job than you. Rest in that truth.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any tips to share with us? Please include them in the comments. Thank you!