It is their nature to turn Hot Wheels cars into stealth missiles, aimed and launched at one another the moment I leave the room. I provided the Hot Wheels as toy cars, not as ammunition. And alongside their mother they play with them as designed, toy cars driving this way and that. But as soon as they are left to their nature the intended design is thrown aside. It is woven into their nature to be physical and rough, to battle. All behaviors unurtured.
I question, ‘How do I nurture behavior that is not natural to me?’ This is my motherhood, asking myself daily questions like this- How do I do what needs to be done, to do it well, when it is not natural? So, I work to nurture their nature; to welcome the creative expression that presents as brute force. When my nature is to nurture with qualities like soft voices and gentle touch, and their nature is to welcome nurture with acts of physicality- like a headbutt.
I am left wondering, ‘What is the best way to nurture their nature, in a way that leaves me poured out from my strength and not sucked dry from my strife?’ It does not come naturally to mother a boy, but I am nurturing my own learning to lead a life I enjoy.
The Nature of Mothering a Boy
Wakes with the sunrise. Full of energy; restored.
Pays no attention to the ok-to-wake clock at the door.
It’s by nature, not nurture that my child wakes with a smile.
If by nurture, we’d all stay in bed and cuddle, grumpy, for a while.
Dresses daily in the same shorts to guarantee he is “super fast!”
And a “fast shirt” and “fast socks”, “Am I the fastest?” always asked.
Wakes scavenging for food until a discarded apple core is found.
Always hungry, never at mealtime. An appetite with no bounds.
Arts and crafts are expressive with crayons slashed on paper then thrown.
Quiet time: unsupervised, bunkbeds and the real possibility of a broken bone.
Don’t punch your brother, take your hands out of your pants.
We don’t use that language, just go pee in the plants.
She may not want to play “fight”, Let go of the dog’s tail.
Days filled with growls and karate; bruised elbows without fail.
Toy cars as hand grenades, not by nurture but by nature.
Every item a weapon for the battle that will feature:
A ninja, and batman, Ironman, and a king.
By nature, not by nurture, anything pliable becomes a sling.
Bird, bug or squirrel- all living creatures are prey.
Fighting villains and bedtime as the day fades away.
Brute force and loud voices- communication non-verbally flows.
The headbutt: a loving expression that only a boy mom knows.
It is by nature that I am a mom to all boys.
It is by nurture that it’s a life I’ve come to enjoy.