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Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by girls, because pretty much all of the kids in my family were girls. So, even as a child, I imagined growing up and having a group of girl children to call my own. However, I was very much mistaken and as luck would have it, I ended up with all boys.

Fast-forward to now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my sons. They make me happy in ways I never imagined I could be. But at first, it was so much different than I had ever been accustomed to. If you spend your life around girls and give birth to boys, you learn real fast that there most definitely is a difference between boys and girls. There again, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Along the way, I have learned so much, and I think it would be helpful to share what being the mother of three boys has taught me.

1. Never forget to check pockets.

After I washed pretty much all the dead bugs and rocks that could be contained in my yard (and then my son’s pockets) I learned a valuable lesson. Always, always check their pockets before washing their jeans, or really before going anywhere that they could pull out a dead bug and freak everyone out. Parenting is fun.

2. Boys need just as much affection, if not more, than girls.

Growing up, I always heard that boys aren’t as emotional as girls. I have learned that is a made-up bunch of crap from people who didn’t understand men and boys. Boys are just as emotional as girls, if not more so, and they need just as much love and affection. It won’t spoil them, it won’t make them weak, and it won’t make them a momma’s boy. Give them all the love.

3. Check the seat.

After your sons are potty-trained, I implore you to check the seat. If not, you are going to end up falling into the toilet and stuck in there. It has happened to me more times than I can count.

4. Let go of the idea of perfection.

You need to loosen up. Especially if you are like I was, and have a hard time with messes, dirt, and chaos. Go ahead and get used to it. I am not saying to just let it all go, but honestly, you need to learn to choose your battles.

5. Potty training doesn’t happen overnight.

Boys take a little longer to potty-train than most girls. I am not sure why that is- but from my experience and from talking with friends and reading parenting blogs, I have discovered that you need to be patient and persistent when potty training your sons.

6. You need to be tough.

As I said before, I am a girl who was raised around pretty much all girls. Needless to say, I will say it anyway, I was NOT tough. I sure as hell am now, though! As a boy mom, I have had dead spiders placed in my hand. I have had footballs pelted at my head. And I have been wrestled to the ground by a tiny version of myself that has a penis. I am much tougher now than I was before, I will say that.

7. You will always be their first love.

Your son is going to learn how to love through you. You will always be his first love. So, teach him what real love is. Be patient with him, be understanding with him, and teach him how to do the same.

8. Boys do cry, and that’s OKAY.

I have gotten so mad at people who tell my son to stop crying because he’s a boy and boys don’t cry or whine. Let me clear the air now: BOYS HAVE EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS. No wonder, we have a world filled with men who cannot express themselves or show love. They were raised by people who told them to shut up and stop crying, instead of how to process and manage their emotions. My sons do cry and instead of invalidating them, I listen.

9. Always have snacks.

Boys are always eating. Always. So, if you are going to be a boy mom, you better have snacks on deck.