So many times I’ve heard that being a boy mom is so much easier. Less hormones. Less drama. Less accessories. Thanks to a surprise twin pregnancy, I’m a boy mom (big bro & little bro) with a bonus little girl, so I get to see both worlds. As my oldest recently turned 8, I am starting to learn more about the struggles boys face that aren’t talked about enough. For now, let’s chat about sports.
To be honest, sports are not 100% my gig as a boy mom.
I’m that person that loves to exercise and loves to go to a professional game (mostly for the social part), but when it comes to playing or getting into sports – yeah, that’s just not me. That being said, I am all for my kiddos playing sports as I see the value: from learning the game, to the discipline it takes to play, to the struggles of losing and winning, building relationships, and of course, staying fit and healthy. But with my oldest, we are starting to learn about the drama that comes along with sports, too.
- We are in the “awkward boy” stage. The time that I associate with boys about 7-12ish, where they have their likes/dislikes, they aren’t little kids anymore, but they certainly aren’t yet a teenager. This age for us comes with testing of boundaries, new (not so nice) words repeated that shouldn’t be, attitude and anger and frustration and all the emotions as they’re learning how to handle things now that they’re too old for tantrums. All of this of course seems elevated these days thanks to COVID and usual outlets being limited.
- Sports are in my mind the boy version of cliques. You’re either in, or you’re out (and no, there isn’t a lot of research on this). You see, even now at the age of 8, we are seeing that it’s hard to start a sport. There are those kiddos that have natural talent or have been groomed from the time they could walk to play a sport of their (or their parents’) choice. They’re already on traveling teams or in competitive leagues. So boys like mine, who have “dabbled” in a lot of things, find it hard to join in. Finding your place on a team that’s already established is so hard, and it comes with a lot of stress, anxiety and sometimes embarrassment because of the very stark difference in skill level. Even the rec leagues have a few players that are just standouts compared to the rest, and it can be hard to get the skill development to feel confident.
- While this boy mom is all for having fun, learning the game, and enjoying the moment, my son believes he’s going to be the next [fill in any name of any pro athlete that he’s currently into]. So while he doesn’t want to practice more than the minimum, and drags his feet to practice and games often enough, he expects the moment his foot hits the court, field or gym floor that he’s going to succeed. While I’m proud of the self-confidence, I struggle a lot with how to explain that we can’t always be the best, or how to help him through the disappointment when he has a day that doesn’t go as he planned it in his head. We talk a lot about how, for example, the person who assists the person making the basket has an important role on the court, or what would happen if the guys blocking for the quarterback weren’t there. But it’s so hard to see his heart drop when he starts to compare himself with others. Plus, I’d rather foster his love of building his Legos and learning about space; those seem more likely to benefit a career choice someday.
Being a boy mom is a lot of fun. Getting to play with boy toys and getting dirty outside, wrestling and tagging and jumping through puddles – it’s just fun. But the struggle is real y’all.