“What I am about to share with you is one of the most embarrassing stories of my life. I trust you, so let’s keep this between us, OK? (There is, in fact, a point at the end.)
Picture it: Naples, New York, 1990. I was a typical ’90s tween who knew the whole ‘Fresh Prince’ theme song and was super flat-chested, but I rocked a spiral perm crowned with a Blossom hat (long story short, pretty awesome).
A boy sat two seats behind me in Mr. Burke’s seventh-grade health class. We’ll call him Ned McButtface. He wore Bill Cosby sweaters and stonewashed jeans. You could practically hear Richard Marx singing ‘Now and Forever’ when Ned walked down the hall.
Anyway, one day in the middle of Mr. Burke’s lecture about our changing bodies, Ned put a book under his shirt and announced, ‘Hey, everybody, it’s me, Lindsay.’
I was mortified. I sat quietly dying inside for the rest of the school day. When the bus mercifully dropped me off that afternoon, I ran up the driveway crying.
I can still hear my mom’s words as clearly as if she spoke them to me this morning. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘did you put a book down your pants and tell everyone you were Ned McButtface?’
In an instant, my whole world changed. I stopped taking myself so seriously, learned to use humor in awkward situations and began to see the funny side of EVERYTHING (Senior Class Clown 1996, baby). It was a moment so poignant, so defining — I remember knowing I must share this timeless wisdom with my own daughter one day.
Now, here I am, proud mom of three of the wildest, funniest, most amazing boys you will ever meet. All of them. Boys.
I don’t give too much thought to the girl I never had, but last week at Publix the sweet teenager bagging my groceries took a look at my kiddos and asked, ‘Aren’t you sad you never had a girl?’
Cool icebreaker, person-I’ve-never-met! This is, in fact, something I try not to dwell on, and how awesome is your day going to be when you have to escort my sobbing, limp body back to my minivan filled with boogers and Hot Wheels?
Such is the life of #boymoms. I can’t speak for all of us, but I’m 90 percent sure most of us have been asked if we’re going to ‘try’ for a girl — like every other human we’ve created was a mistake. We bravely walk past the tutus and Moana shirts at Target, we check Pinterest for braid ideas and wonder who we can practice on.
And so, the hashtag was born. We share our 140-character stories of fart jokes and foot wars and the struggle to relate. This is how we communicate, how we commiserate and how we celebrate.
But when you search #boymom on social media, you’ll almost always see an offended mom who comments, ‘My daughter does that.’ Thanks, Denise, but you can keep your two cents. Enjoy your tea parties and your trips to Justice and your sequins — just let me have my unfathomably filthy dirty bathroom floor. It’s not too much to ask.
Boymoms are a sorority. (Let’s call ourselves I Smella Poo.) Boymoms are reaching out to their sisters in an attempt to catch a glimpse of their own femininity. (Seriously, you guys, I haven’t seen the inside of a Victoria’s Secret in eight years — I buy my bras in two-packs at CVS.) Boymoms sort their laundry into three piles: whites, colors and ‘probably has some pee on it.’ Boymoms wonder if they’re the only ones who have to remind people to brush their teeth, put on pants and wipe their butts on a daily basis.
So that’s our #boymom title we treasure. We wear it on coffee mugs, T-shirts and car bumpers. It was born out of pride and exhaustion and just a tiny bit of mourning.
Can #boymoms be defensive? Yes. Are we irritable? Sure. But at the end of the day, with the ups and the downs and the smears and the skid marks, do we consider ourselves to be the luckiest people on earth? Absolutely.
Enjoy the hashtag, sisters (just maybe avoid the comments section). We’ve earned it.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lindsay Chamberlin, a Florida mom who writes for College Park Community Paper.
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