Being A Little Boy’s Mama – The Real Life Version

dirty face

I am bringing this back for a third time, due to what I consider to be an assault on men in America today. How is this relevant?

Your sons are obviously going to have to be well prepared young men to deal with the increased threat from lunatic feminists who think destroying men is how you handle your objections to the politics of the day. I may later write an update, specifically addressing today’s problems. I hope this helps and encourages some of you.

Originally published in 2014. I thought it worth a re-do, in honor of more grandsons being born and joining the family. This comment was from the last update. 

Lately on Facebook, several versions of what it means to be a little boy’s mama have been circulating. They are touching, and bring a smile to your face, a touch of nostalgia, and perhaps even a tear to your eye. You are exhorted to have lots of energy, be ready to put up with bloody noses and reptiles in the house, see movies you don’t like, and various other true things.

We mamas of little boys have a tough job. We deserve a little smile as we ponder our muddy offspring. As I type this, my just recently de-mudded grandson is graciously allowing me a few minutes to recoup from a busy day of swimming, mud bogging, dump trucking, and hugging stinky dogs. His sister hung right in there with him. So, yes, we even need these moments that tell our hearts that our efforts are special moments that will unfold in a story book life for our beloved sons.

However, we also need some harder truths, and now is a good time to take a look at that. So, here’s my version, for what it’s worth.

You might think, because I write this, that I am an expert and my sons are jet setting billionaires who are in a third world country fixing the unfixable problems. Nope, they are just normal guys, who have normal lives with some really wonderful successes like those grandkids temporarily being angels, and great jobs, fun hobbies, or devotion to family and friends. Being there when family needs help, rooting for the right football team (Go Irish!), sitting by hospital beds, listening to troubles. They have tried and failed, tried and succeeded, fallen and got back up too many times to count.

shadow of young family holding handsI’d like to begin by looking at where I want to end up. Since this is my post, I am of course going to give you my opinion of what a man should be, without a single apology or whimper of remorse.

Your little boy should grow into this wonderful creature called a man, and to express that manhood as God meant it to be, indeed, as God wrote it into the very cells of his creation, he is called to reflect the image of his Creator, to walk to paths directed and laid out for him by that Creator, to reach down inside himself to bring forth the manly strength written in those muscles made to be so much bigger and stronger than yours, his mother, to rise to the challenges and overcome the trials that life will throw his way, and in the doing, he is going to get banged up and bloody, discouraged and tired.

If he’s going to make that long hard journey, he needs to be training for it, and that starts with you, from the moment you fall in love with his unfocused but intent gaze, swaddled in his first blanket.

Now that we know where we want to go, how do we get there? Listen closely, this first part matters more than anything else. Your little boy needs this more than anything else you can ever in his whole life give him.

Choose his father well.

Choose. Choose. Don’t let your little boy be a biological accident whose sperm donor is on the street dealing drugs. Pick a man, a man who can guide that little guy down life’s rocky road.

Pick a man who will be just as likely to spend the night in the emergency room with him as he would to play catch. Pick a man who will lead that little boy in righteous ways, and teach him the values of a man, the strength of a man, the love and compassion of a man.

Fatherhood needs participation, not just chromosomes. There are some truly wonderful single mothers out there, and God has given them the grace to overcome and to do what it takes to raise good and decent young men, but a boy really needs a father to teach him to be a man.

Before we get off the subject of dads, if you did your job and picked a man, a real man, he’s going to teach your son some things that you don’t like. Some things that really make you uncomfortable and hurt. No, I’m not talking about how to belch on demand and the fart jokes. I’m talking about how to be strong, how to get up when you fall, how to be disciplined and tough, how to be a winner.

He isn’t going to be a participation ribbon guy. He’s going to push your son to excel. He’s going to lean on him when he’s lazy. He’s going to give him really tough goals. He’s going to look him in the eye and ask him if he wants to stick with that story. He’s going to teach him things you think might be dangerous, like how to ride a bike sooner than you think he’s ready, climb a tree, how to use the lawnmower before you think he’s big enough, how to use power tools, how to run a race, boy_mowing_lawnfix a car, answer for his mistakes. Maybe even how to be a soldier or a sailor, how to go off to war.

His punishments are going to be tough, his standards high. It will take a lot more to impress him, really impress him, than it will you.

He won’t worry so much about your son’s fragile feelings, because he knows that true worth comes from that confident manliness that cannot come from participation medals and common core teaching, or lots of mom’s hugs.

Get out of his way. Let him teach your son the tough, shoe leather side of being a man. He will do it with his example, but he has to do it with his standards, his discipline, his tough, tough love, his demands, and yes, even his punishments.

Baby NewtHelp him. Work with him. Unite with him. The little boy God gave you both needs both of you to make him whole. Each assume your role, and the battles you face will be faced with the unstoppable power of a family, a home, stability and strength. Give him those most priceless gifts, and you will give the world a man to be reckoned with.

Now that the foundation is out of the way, there isn’t a lot to add. Just the common sense stuff.

Your overwhelming instinct is to love and protect, and fortunately for us mamas, little boys really need that. But we need to learn when they don’t need it too. They need to learn to be independent. They need to learn by doing, they have lots of curiosity. Let them use it.

They also have lots of natural aggression. Part of growing into manhood is learning to control it. The world has too many bullies. One thing I learned from my husband and father in law, two world-class dads, is that an aggressive boy needs physical activity and demanding work, not just play. He needs responsibility from a pretty early age. He needs accountability.

As he grows, teach him to work, teach him the value of a job well done. Don’t do it for him, and for his sake, make him do it over when he’s shoddy. Teach him by example that there is no substitute for a good job.

Don’t be the mama who always says “My son wouldn’t do that.” Yes, he will. He will do some really rotten things, and you are not going to want to believe it. Dad will usually be way ahead of you in knowing that yes, he deliberately spray painted Mr. Young’s new shed, or broke Sarah’s new doll. Or snuck out the window, wrecked the car because he was speeding, or was drinking at a party when you thought he was at a friend’s house.

Look with your eyes and not your preconceived ideas, because, yes, he will do that. Now, make him pay the piper. Never ever stand between him and the repercussions of his actions.

Teach him honesty, and realize he’s learning it by your example and not your words. When you give a cashier back the five too much she gave you, he’s learning. When you call in sick to work, then go shopping, he’s learning. Don’t wonder why he lies to you tomorrow.

In all things, homework, chores, sports, trouble with bullies, help him, but don’t do it for him. Stand beside him, not in front of him. Your job is to always remember that one day, you won’t be there, and that is as it should be.

Teach him to respect women by being a respectable woman. Boy, is this your job. First of all, way back in step one, picking his dad, you gave him a big jump on this because you picked a man who admires and respects women, and is teaching your son to do the same. But you are teaching him the why and the how. You are teaching him the worth of a good woman, and to look beneath the cheerleader outfit to see the cruelty or the compassion. He might not be the best at that at fourteen, but keep the faith. The essence of the man you and his dad are forming will whip those hormones. Most of the time.

cowboys-up-on-horsesTeach him that life is hard, and sometimes bad things happen, even when you do the right thing. Teach him to be ready for the bad, and just deal with it. Teach him to face adversity with confidence and yes, cheer.

Teach him to keep going, even when he wants to give up. You do this by steps. Finish the task you started. No, I won’t come pick you up on Mount Rainy because it’s raining. Start baseball season with the Bruisers and find out you don’t like it or they lose a lot? Tough, you gotta finish it. He wrecked his car and wants yours? Is that best, or should you teach him that there are repercussions, and he might have to take a bus, or be without a car for a date?

funny-dog-pictures-praying-dog-boy-bedFinally, lead him to faith. Be a Godly example, give him the opportunity to know the wonder of God’s love for him, ground his world in the strength that only comes from his Creator, and you have given him every gift you want for him as a parent. Without this, he has no chance. With it, he cannot be defeated. It will be a gift he must accept or reject, as they all are, but without your example to follow, your belief to ground himself in, he will flounder and search for value and good. Give him  a moral conscience, and an unending source of strength and love, and then watch him become the man he was meant to be, reflecting the perfect love from which he came.

If he sees you in prayer when times are tough, and also when things are well, he sees the source of your strength, and the foundation of your joy. If your answers come from your faith, your belief system instead of just your desires, he learns to look for truth and rightness. If you lead him into church on Sundays, he will find answers that exist no other place on Earth. He will find Heaven above.

Then one day, when the time comes, he will come home to you, holding the hand of a beautiful young lady and speak the best words in the world.

“We’re going to have a baby.” This, ladies, is the best reward in the whole wide world for being a mother.

Baby C-Section Cropped

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96 Responses to Being A Little Boy’s Mama – The Real Life Version

  1. FofBW says:

    No apologies indeed. Very touching, insightful and full of love.

    Liked by 13 people

  2. Nigella says:

    Lovely thoughts and so true…

    Liked by 6 people

    • Your advice about choosing your child’s father is perfect Menagerie..

      Putting the emphasis on choosing and choosing carefully because I can guarantee life’s road will be rocky.

      I was very careful and very choosy when it came to my sweet husband.

      It paid off.

      Now in my case I turned things around a bit and told my sons to be very careful in choosing a wife.

      I am happy to say all five were.

      And my twelve grand children are doing so well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. JW Grant says:

    Encouraging to read of people with values

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dayallaxeded says:

    Love this and so true for dads as well. I had the idea, early in my parenting years, that raising a kid should be handled with the same best practices as raising and training a dog–consistency, maximum positive reinforcement, minimal negative reinforcement, lots of love, physical and verbal engagement. Of course, the independent thought and action aspects of children threw some pretty big wrenches into those simple gears, but overall, worked pretty darn well. My 2 are genuinely good men and great sons. Grandchildren in God’s due time, I pray.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Beautiful, Menagerie! I can’t wait to share this with my daughter tomorrow.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Lburg says:

    Menagerie, you made me cry…..again. Thank You.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. magagirl says:

    Thank you for this, I have two little boys. This, Sundance, is a masterpiece, I will print it and write my highlights.
    I did choose a great man to help me raise a family, he is my greatest blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. alliwantissometruth says:


    Being a parent is the most important job there is in life. Too bad so many make a mockery of it

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The Boss says:

    “Get out of the way” also means stop scheduling play dates and resume-enhancing activities before young lads speak their first words or take their first steps. Nothing irritates me more than seeing young couples carting their kids everywhere except the neighborhood playground, or letting them find their own things to do. There are youngsters in my neighborhood that are rarely seen – usually on Halloween or when they’re raising money for some resume-enhancing activity by selling overpriced crap. I’ve seen exactly one boy hustle a buck in the 15 years I’ve been in my current house. One. Out of more than twenty. He was looking for steady grass-cutting customers. If that didn’t work, he offered to cut grass while we traveled. Smart. He got that from his old man. Just like I did.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I agree The Boss.

      Children need time to just play.

      No supervised play, no tennis lessons, no soccer practice.

      They need to be able to go in the yard and make a fort out of a bunch of junk they haul back home.

      Then that “fort” can be a pirate ship or a wilderness fort or a space ship.

      To an adult it will look like a couple of cardboard boxes and a bale of hay.

      But to the kids it will be anything they can imagine.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Jedi9 says:

    Pablo Escobar took my father away before I could know him. There have been many influential father figures in my life that helped me become the man I am today. It was God’s will, to send those people in the path of my difficult journey and I couldn’t have survived it without God or my mother. Bless her soul! Later when I left to join the Shaolin order, that is where everything came together in teaching me how to harness my aggression, how to focus with clarity and most importantly how to love and forgive. Eventually I came back to God with new lessons, lessons that I could teach too. I stand here today now a humbled man, but confident as I have arrived with an unconquered spirit and a survivalist mentality. If I ever have children, I will take to heart this post and remember its words of wisdom! To be the best father I could be to my sons, or to my daughters, and to teach them how to be a warrior, because in this thing we call life, humanity, nothing less will suffice in order to be successful at surviving it!

    Liked by 7 people

  11. kidsndogsncats says:

    I wish I had read this, and paid attention! long ago. But all in all, things haven’t turned out too badly. They’ve said they wished they had gone to college when we wanted them to. We’ve told them it’s never too late. The one badly affected by drugs, finally got into a program that worked for him, and is clean and sober now, after a youth spent in struggle and fear (for us the parents especially who sometimes went looking for him in the worst areas of L A. hoping we wouldn’t find him dead). Thank you HP, that didn’t happen. No one went to jail, though I m sure it was deserved sometime.
    Anyway, now there are six of the most wonderful grandsons you could ever meet. They are almost perfect. My daughter/son-in-law sure did something right. Maybe they watched their brothers/uncles and learned.
    And we have three little toddler great grandsons. Since the people raising them were almost perfect, I can have great hopes for this new crop.
    Friday, I hear something on Herman Kane’s show. A lady said something along the line of ‘Don’t be bitter, be better.’ I wrote it down somewhere while driving, I liked it so much. will try to take it to heart and remember it!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Roberta Allen says:

    Powerful. Lots of good ol’ fashioned advice & wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Charlie says:

    A wise person once shared her father-n-laws wisdom,
    “Best gift you can give your children is to love their mother”.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. tonyE says:

    Great writing…. we got a young man and woman (25 and 23). Both are hard workers, honest, one finished college the other, I don’t know, I think she’s made out to have her own business but in the meantime she goes part time to finish her AA.

    Yes, a close knit family with parents that respect each other and stick for each other are extremely important to raise a child. IMHO, that’s 90% of the job. The other 10% we parents have to work at.

    Now, I’m a guy, so toilet humor training was my job.. and I must say I did a superlative job. Down to the “elephants singing”, “barking spiders” and “creaking wood floors? Outstanding.

    Going to winter trips. “you will wear a parka, what you don’t know what a parka is? OK, wear this whether you like it or not! It’s a parka and I don’t care if you don’t like the color!”

    When the kids had their own anxiety attacks… oy vey! “What the hell? Anxiety…”… instead of kicking their butts straight, I decided to sit down with them and got them over it, “this time”… next time “grow up, OK?”. But “you can always talk to me”.

    Each kid got to total only one car… they were grounded for long after that and informed they would be killed by yours truly if they wreck a second one. No more accidents after that. In private, mom and I breathed sights of relief that no one got hurt….

    Being the dad is to be the backstop. Mom gets to do mostly what she wants. Raising a kid is like an iron hand in a velvet glove… mom is the velvet, dad is the iron.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. joanfoster says:

    This just makes tears well up in my eyes. I am going to copy and pass this beautifully written piece to my children. I recently had the misfortune of understanding the repercussions of a son not raised well. One of my daughters was married at the end of summer last year. It was the wedding of her dreams – absolutely beautiful in all respects and she was the most radiant I had ever seen her. Three months later her husband wakes up one day and announces he no longer wanted to be married. He refused to explain why, refused couples counseling, refused individual counseling – just walked out one Sunday morning with no other explanation than he simply had a change of heart. Some people want the big party, but no heavy lifting. There are young parents who have children not for the love of them and the fulfillment they bring to life, but as accessories.

    Every young man or woman thinking of entering into marriage or thinking about conceiving a child needs to read this wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing the words of wisdom.

    Liked by 3 people

    • olderwiser21 says:

      This same scenario just happened to my niece except he left after 3 years instead of 3 months. Said he loved her but didn’t want to be married and didn’t ever want children, and oh, by the way, wasn’t sure he believed in God! Told her on a Friday and was gone the next day! The sad thing is, all the rest of us could see this coming from a mile away. It is actually a blessing in her life to be able to start over (luckily -no kids) and do it right this next time. Be picky, young ladies – this young man had a terrible childhood and probably has no chance at any kind of personal relationship that lasts. Very sad…..

      Liked by 1 person

  16. skipper1961 says:

    I put my Mumm and Dad through hell between the ages of 17-27 (alcohol). At 35, with 8 years of sobriety “under my belt”, and helping my lovely wife raise her/our two daughters, the lessons learned by my involvement in their lives, it hit me! THEY (my parents) WERE RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME!!!! I stopped by the condo on my way back from a show in Miami to visit with them. I asked Dad to sit, and told him, “Dad, I don’t know how you didn’t choke the life out of me back then. Not only was I wrong, but YOU WERE RIGHT (every time)! And in case you were worried if you ‘did your job’, or not, I’m here to tell you, that you did, and I GET IT NOW!!!” That was followed by the most sincere apology I have ever extended in my life. Mumm was sitting on their bed in the other room, crying. She told me later, that she didn’t think she had ever seen my Dad so emotional (after I left, of course) Don’t let that opportunity pass you by! Make things right (if you can). I miss them both dearly, but I am so blessed to have had an opportunity to make amends, and make them proud. Menagerie, I bet you and Sundance are the coolest parents/grandparents around!
    Thanks for the awesome post.
    God Bless

    Liked by 8 people

  17. Sam says:

    Wonderful, Menagerie. I have seen with my neighbors’ two sons what happens when neither parent is the father, although in this case parents were a married man and woman. The sons ran wild, totalled a couple of cars, lied, stole, vandalized property, dealt and used drugs and so on. Confronted about vandalism, the mother said “my son said he didn’t do it and I believe him. He wouldn’t do that.”.

    Eventually one son ended up in prison and the other escaped from jail, aided by Mommy dearest. Her home was raided by cops one morning, her son was taken to jail and so was she. She ended up doing weekend jail for a year. The son was sent to a medium security facility.

    Spoiling the son leads to bad outcomes. Always. Lack of male role models results in males who cannot behave well in society.

    It is very, very important for women to chose their husbands with a lot of care. Know what a man should be and find one to marry. Men are still out there.

    Liked by 3 people

    • skipper1961 says:

      A female co-worker once tried to lecture me about reproductive “choice”. I responded with “How about “choosing’ to keep one’s knees together?” She was not amused. But her other female co-workers’ seemed to enjoy her soap box being kicked out from under her.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. stella says:

    Even better this time, Menagerie! Needed more today than ever, when some parents seem to have a hard time recognizing the difference between males and females.

    Liked by 7 people

  19. yakmaster2 says:

    I’m the mother of one child. He’s going to be 25 this month. His father and I separated when he was 4 and later divorced, but I made sure his Dad saw him on a steady basis and kept him involved in his life because I knew my boy needed his Dad.

    He was an affectionate boy who loved me very much and I put him before dating or my social life. He was my shining light, the great love of my life. I thought we would always be close.

    When he was 12, he got into trouble at school with a bully and his Dad convinced him to come live with him “for a while” and change schools. After much talking with my boy and my Ex, I let him go there without fuss or drama. That’s the hardest thing I ever did—then or since! I cried privately every day for 8 months. I felt like a piece of me was missing and my new husband felt helpless to fix me.

    Unfortunately, my ex-husband was not as generous about letting me in on what was going on in my boy’s life during his teenage years as I had been for him in previous years. So, I missed milestones like his first date, first girlfriend, some school events, proms, etc etc. Oh, how I hated that—and the fact his stepmother often spoke negatively of me. It was hard, especially during holidays that had to be worked out and timed each year. I would get melancholy for past holidays when he lived at home with me.

    It was not until a few years ago that my son told me during his first year at his Dad’s house he missed me terribly, but felt he had to hide it so as not to hurt his Dad’s feelings. I had been so hurt that he seemed so easily to leave me behind!

    These days he texts or calls when something is worrying him or is going wrong, but it took him growing up to separate perjorative terms like “apron strings” and “mama’s boy” from simply have a frank discussion with his mom. His Dad’s idea of toughening him up was to train him to shut his Mother out.

    Still, I think I did the right thing by letting my son go live with his Father as a teen. He was a strong-willed impulsive boy, perhaps heading for more trouble, and he respected his Dad’s discipline at that age more than mine. I knew that being a parent requires sacrifice and I wanted then, as now, the best for him to be productive and happy.

    That’s my story about my boy. I’m glad to report he’s worked and had his own apt. since graduating college. He’s recently moved and started grad school at UNC Chapel Hill. He tells me I’ll likely have to wait until he’s 30 for my first grandchild as his girlfriend is in grad school too and no marriage for them until they’re financially solvent. I look forward to that with so much anticipation!!!

    Liked by 8 people

  20. kyasgrandma says:

    My husband traveled a lot for his work.
    Our son and I were often “just the two of us.”
    One day, I realized I was raising our son to be the boy I wanted him to be – and I was not raising him to be the man I wanted him to become.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. PDQ says:

    I recently bought this book for my 21 yo son: THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG MEN, by JC Ryle. Written towards the end of the 19th century.


    Reasons for Exhorting Young Men
    Dangers to Young Men
    General Counsels to Young Men
    Special Rules for Young Men

    Praying and waiting for feedback… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. C. Lowell says:

    Seems a good place and time to put in a plug for Christina Hoff Sommers’,

    _The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men_

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Gil says:

    Well this is just what the dr. ordered for me today! My 4 yr old is at a maturity crossroad, transitioning from the toddler to the little boy who wants to do everything by himself but still loves to ask mommy to do it.
    My husband works nights so I do about 99% of everything, even playing roughhouse, except thats daddys job on his weekends.
    I tend to think I am fairly strict and make him do a lot other kids dont at his age. Im homeschooling, and he is writing his name, doing addition, subtraction, and learning about money. I read about 3 books a day, every day, and explain concepts way beyond his age because I dont think patronizing kids as if they couldnt understand higher thinking is a good idea.
    He is a sensitive kid but all boy, rough n tumble. So today when he was running away from me and started going down the stairs and tripped and flew another 5 steps to the landing, on carpet, I didnt panic or freak out.
    He was ok. Scared but ok. So I reminded him that he hadnt learned to fly yet and probably should walk next time. He cried a bit, got a hug and was fine. Ready for the next one!
    I am careful to tell him when he is in trouble that I dont like what he did, but I love him. He knows it too. Doesnt like getting in trouble, but he is learning to discipline himself.
    We were at the grocery store and it was not a special day or anything. I had turned to grab something and he said “I love you mommy”. He said it loud enough to me that another woman laughed. He got a hug and his I love you too. And I didnt cry, but I smiled, because I made a mental note to remember that one the next time he has a tantrum.
    I hope I am doing it mostly right. It is pretty much just the 3 of us so there isnt anyone to lean on.
    Thanks Menagerie.

    Liked by 11 people

    • stella says:

      Sounds to me as if you are doing a great job! None of us is perfect, you know, so be easy on yourself as long as you are doing your best.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Sylvia Avery says:

      Oh Gil, you sound like a really wonderful mom. Probably one of the best things you could do for your child is to choose to home school. The stuff that gets taught in the public schools is a nightmare an antithetical to probably just about anything you want your children to know and believe about the world. It must be an awful lot of work.

      Being a parent is the most important job you could possibly have. I admire you for your efforts in doing it well. Your son is blessed.

      Liked by 3 people

  24. ZurichMike says:

    Beautiful post, Menagerie!

    Liked by 5 people

  25. delmarvajim says:

    Menagerie, was it you that was involved with Baby Conner? I often wonder how he is doing

    Liked by 4 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Conner turned two on July 31. He needs iron boots. He apparently has mountain climbing in his future. He is active from the moment he raises his head until forced into bed. He never walks, literally , runs everywhere.

      Right now he’s outside on the porch with his grandfather. He is climbing into the big crock and metal bucket that are the dogs’ water containers, a favorite past time of his.

      He is, in the stinker little boy best way, a pure hellion. Here is a picture from this afternoon. He won’t ask for help getting in the pool. Why bother when you can turn up on your head and flip yourself over?

      Thanks for remembering him!

      Liked by 5 people

      • Gil says:

        Mine is in his pool like that right now. He used to stomp fully dressed in the dog water dish and when I got upset from all the extra laundry he did the logical thing. Took it all off and ran around free!

        Liked by 2 people

      • skipper1961 says:

        Huzzah! The boy thrives!! Pardon my not asking a similar question, Menagerie, but I thought one embarrassing “assumption” per thread should be my limit. That’s terrific!!! And of course, what boy doesn’t go through the upside down/reverse entry/exit phase? Remind him to keep his chin up!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Menagerie says:

      P. S. Forgot to say that Conner is one of my grandchildren.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Sylvia Avery says:

    Menagerie, thank you for a beautiful post. I read one time that the most important choice a person can make in their life in terms of their overall happiness is who they marry. That stuck with me.

    Marriage is a choice. I think we approach it poorly equipped. We are inspired to find our soul mate, that when we fall in love that is it-ding ding ding our soul mate! But love is an emotion and like other emotions it is not always the best way to make a decision. Or maybe it is lust and not love…? The choice of a mate takes careful consideration for optimal results.

    There used to be a lot of societal norms that protected children and young people in their associations with others so that their circle of friendships and acquaintances pretty well excluded unsuitable potential mates. Not foolproof, but it helped. And parents’ opinions in mate selection were more important. Now many parents’ abdicate that role completely.

    Anyway, your post was thought provoking and I hope it takes root with a lot of young people and young parents. It is so wise. And we need men. Masculine qualities are under attack daily in this society especially in our schools. I worry about our boys, and I pity our girls who seem to have a shrinking circle of real men to choose their mates from.

    Thanks again for a beautiful, important essay.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Gil says:

      All those protections have been eroded by help from hollywood and thinking that it was always about control and suppression instead of consideration for maturity, wisdom and protection.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sylvia Avery says:

        You are absolutely right, Gil. Sadly right.

        As a much older and slightly wiser person one of the regrets of my life is that I was given a pair of really, really good parents and that I did not sufficiently honor them per the Commandments.

        If I had accepted that they were acting out of love for me and a desire to see my life full and happy I would have listened to them. Or had I simply obeyed, never mind their motivations.

        But I thought they were just trying to control me, and by golly I knew best. Well, I didn’t sad to say.

        Liked by 2 people

  27. Mustang4176 says:


    Liked by 1 person

  28. JAS says:

    WOW! Great musings. I’m just about to be a first time Grampa : )

    Liked by 3 people

  29. The Tundra PA says:

    Well done, Menagerie! It is my life’s greatest loss that I could only be an Auntie and never a Mom. This post is truly beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Menagerie, what a wonderful story. My husband and I had one child, a son. He was spoiled a bit, maybe a lot but he is an excellent son. He never gave us any trouble and I know it was because my husband kept him in line. When he was 8 he mowed neighbors yards, earned his spending money and has been working ever since. He is now 53, he and his wife (who is a wonderful daughter-in-law) had 3 children who also gave me 9 great grandchildren. He now has 2 successful businesses.

    My husband died 3 years ago and there hasn’t been one day to go by without the support of one of my family members and I am sure that it was because of God’s influence in our daily lives. I am surely a blessed Mother

    Liked by 7 people

  31. Sherlock says:

    Great post, simply great. Well done indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Deb says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I have nine children, and my first four babies were all boys. I spent my first 10 years as a mother learning how to be a little boy Mom. love my girls, but I also remember those 10 years spent as a “boy mom” with a certain fondness.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. ScarletTanager says:



  34. Texmom says:

    Many truths here. Thanks for reposting.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Bill O Writes says:

    As a former Boy Scout Leader with two Eagle Scouts this is why I like scouting. Cub Scouts can have den mothers, Boy Scouts have men as scoutmasters. They are boys, not girls. They turn sticks into swords. They get filthy. They play in fire. They take things apart. It makes a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Ploni says:


    My thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. linda7780 says:

    Unfortunately, I read this with tears in my eyes. I failed this task in so many ways and pampered my son. Now, I suffer the consequences of my ignorance. But, I am saving it to help the young ladies in my life know the things I was never taught. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Menagerie says:

      Don’t ever ever give up hope. St. Augustine’s mother begged God for years, many years, on behalf of her son. Eventually he converted to Christianity and became one of the pivotal early church fathers.

      We mothers stick together. I pray not only for my own children, but all those who have drifted down a wrong path. Many, many people pray and work for the good of those who aren’t listening right now.

      What looks hopeless to us is something for God to work with. Please don’t give up hope.

      I’ll be praying for you and your son. If you are so inclined, perhaps you might want to ask for additional prayers on our prayer thread. You will see the link at the right of the screen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • linda7780 says:

        Thank you for the encouragement and prayers Menagerie. I needed it. Lately, things seem hopeless because it has been going on for so long.

        Liked by 1 person

      • linda7780 says:

        Sorry for not finishing, I am still trying to figure out this posting stuff through WP.😊
        I wanted to say, they did feel hopeless until I read your comment. I will stand with you in prayer and encouragement for others also.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Menagerie says:

          I won’t forget to pray for you both. Together, we will pray for all mothers and children who need it. Thank you for your reply.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Menagerie says:

          I just posted this comment over at Stella’s Place. I thought it might help you also, so I’m copying it here. Something to think about.

          I just read today’s commentary from Bishop Barron. It finishes with some of St. Augustine’s wisdom. I’ve read this idea about prayer before, and it has been crucial in my thinking. So many give up angrily on prayer when they don’t get instant gratification.

          What if there is so much more to prayer than we ever thought about. Not just that the answer might be no, or that we have to wait. What if it IS an exercise for us.

          MATTHEW 15:21-28
          Friends, in today’s Gospel we witness the strange exchange between Jesus and a feisty woman. It is one of the only scenes in the Gospels where someone seems to get the better of Jesus. First Jesus refuses even to acknowledge her. Then his disciples tell her to back off. Finally, Jesus hits her with a devastating one-liner: “I have come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel; it is not right to throw food to dogs.”

          This woman—probably a widow and certainly a foreigner—is given a triple brush-off. In this she stands for all those who stand outside, on the margins, alone. Then we hear the woman’s snappy come-back: “Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.” She will not be put off by this brusque behavior.

          Now, what do we make of this story? A long tradition stresses the perseverance of the woman in the face of the “test” that Jesus sets for her. And there is something right about it. Augustine says that we pray in order to expand our will to accept what God is going to give us.

          Liked by 1 person

  38. This was a wonderful read. So profound and insightful. I welcomed my lil bubba boy into the world last week. Reading this was EXACTLY the right start to this mamahood journey. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  39. TreeClimber says:

    I come from an all-female family, my husband is the sole male from his (he has male cousins, but they’re both she-males – my ultra-feminine sister, sadly, has more spine/sand/guts than those two put together.) I’ve received lots and lots of advice, but none like this – perhaps the most useful I’ve read, and certainly all I’ve heard on raising a boy into a man. I fear terribly I’m not up to the challenge, that we’ll fail him as our first child, that we’ll make all our mistakes with our eldest and he’ll be damaged from being the first. But at least I have guidelines, now, specifically for a boy. Thanks, Menagerie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Menagerie says:

      You will make mistakes. We all do. If I could narrow down my advice to two points it would be this. Take him to church, raise him in the faith. And never, ever overprotect him.

      I’m now a grandmother many times over. Had lots of time to think, wonder, regret, hope. Those seem most important to success.

      Let him fail and get back up again. This builds his strength and confidence, which you protecting him can never do.


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