With three boys (thankfully broken in by one older sister), I’m always looking for parenting guides to make life a little easier – or a little less NOISY. My boys’ lives evolve round three very simple things – balls (I mean the Match of the Day variety, a regular TV viewing fixture), wrestling each other in their pants and play fighting with swords, guns or anything they find lying around.
Last week’s Saturday Times had a superb article written by a mother of three boys (also known as a “MOB” as opposed to a “MOG” – a mother of girls). In her new book, MOB Rule: Lessons Learned by a Mother, Hannah Evans addresses many of the challenges that us MOGs face with our boys and the article made me laugh and of course made me feel massively inadequate.
Hannah’s main theory is that bringing up boys is like dealing with dogs. I totally agree with this and have often described my boys as being very similar to our Border Terrorist in countless ways. Hannah gives us a quick summary of boys’ needs:
- Boys need feeding. By feeding she means regular meals – I find my boys need feeding throughout the day and I regularly find the larder has been tampered with. They seem to like ‘gnawing’ or ‘snacking’ on things just as a puppy needs a chewy bone.
- Boys need, “a tree, a fence or frankly anything vertical, on which to mark his territory.” I often why we even bother having loos for boys and it saves on the cleaning if they continue peeing outside – just as long as the little ones understand that this is only something we ever do at home.
- Boys need authority – clear commands such as “Stop!” “No!” “Now!”, commands that amusingly we are told by never to use by the child psychologists. The most common command in our house is most definitely, “Sssshhh!”
- Boys need lots of love – “sporadic, manic displays of tummy tickling torture.”
- Most importantly, boys need exercising – as many walks as possible. Our garden is similar to Hannah’s – a battlefield of balls and weapons, alongside dog bones.
Hannah’s “MOB rules” are as follows – although be warned that they made me feel a little depressed at the realisation that our parenting skills are at rock bottom:
- No sticks inside – no swords or anything that resembles a weapon, like rolls of wrapping paper, kitchen towel rolls.
- No balls may enter the house – this includes rubber balls, exercise balls, bouncy balls and even balloons.
I suggested these new rules to my boys and was shouted down so loudly I rapidly backtracked, in my usual rather feeble motherly way. Anything for a quieter life.
MOB Rule: Lessons Learned by a Mother of Boys by Hannah Evans, will be out on January 17th at £12.99
Another book to keep an eye out for this week is Steve Biddulph’s book Raising Girls, which follows on from his excellent book, Raising Boys.
Both are available on Amazon.