Mothers reveal tried-and-tested tricks on navigating the choppy waters of parenting boys ― and enjoying it!

At some point, every expectant mother dreams of having a little girl. A little mini-me who would walk, talk and look just like them. Oh, how fun it would be to go shopping for cute clothes and have a mummy-daughter mani-pedi session. As she grows up, you can both talk about boys, watch chick flicks together and spend hours figuring out how to take over the world from silly and smelly men.

Alas, the exact opposite happens. Life hands you a son ― and if you’re really, “lucky” two or three more in succession. They are adorable little human beings and love their mamas so much. But as a woman, you don’t feel at equipped to parent these little devils. You may share the same genes, but not the same gender. Nor do they look anything like you or want to do what you like to do.

Being a mother of boys ― whether it’s one or a few ― can be challenging. They are definitely more destructive, boisterous and energetic, as compared to their female counterparts.

It’s important to let your boys be themselves if you want them to grow up in a happy and wholesome environment. This way, you’re giving them a secure environment to thrive in. Here’s how to let your boys be boys, and survive the experience!

Survival tip #1: Put all your valuables and breakables away

Nobody knows how, why or when they do it, but boys seem to have natural destructive instincts. And it usually strikes when you least expect it. So, hide your favourite diamond stud earrings because when junior gets his hands on them, he’s flushing them down the toilet bowl just to see it swish and swirl down the toilet bowl. If you travel often, like David and Chloe Pereira, then take note of these tips, too. “The minute we enter a hotel room or Airbnb rental, we take a picture of how the place originally looked like. Then we quickly hide everything and anything we feel our 2-year-old son can reach for and break. Before we leave, we place everything back at its original place according to the picture we took. It has saved us a lot of crying, accidents and unforeseen payments.”

Being wild and crazy can really build up an appetite, so you really don’t want to experience the wrath of a hangry little man who finds out mummy has no snack for him.

Survival tip #2: Wear shoes indoors

Legos and building blocks are a boy’s best friend. This means that you’ll be finding them practically everywhere around the house ― under the sofa when you’re vacuuming, in a pile of dirty laundry or in your handbag. But if this is the extent to which you’ve made their acquaintance, count yourself lucky. Yoges Vijayan, a mum of two boys and a girl, who has settled on wearing bedroom slippers for now but wishes she could put on steel boots at home, “You don’t want the experience of stepping on a Lego or block piece, especially in the middle of the night,” she explains.

Survival tip #3: Always have a snack on hand

If you haven’t noticed it by now, boys are hungry ALL.THE.TIME. We’re not sure where it all goes to, but it’s probably due to the testosterone and super-active metabolism. Being wild and crazy can really build up an appetite, so you really don’t want to experience the wrath of a hangry little man when he discovers mummy has no snack for him. Whenever you’re out and about, pack on-the-go healthy bites like a granola bar, raisins or a packet of biscuits. At home, always have fresh fruit or homebaked muffins stashed away. The good news about having boys who love food so much is that you can dangle the proverbial carrot in front of them to get them to do your bidding. In Shazeen Tyebally’s case, mum to two boys, ice-cream also works wonders. “I use it to ‘threaten’ my 4-year-old when he’s misbehaving. Generally he will work for food!”

Survival tip #4: Learn the names of every car, truck, dinosaur, video as well as sports game

Want to bond with your boys? Jessica Gullichsen, mum to two boys, aged 1 and 3, says you’ve got to learn their lingo. “Learn about all types of vehicles and their names,” she adds. And show genuine interest. If junior loves fire engines, take him to the fire station to meet real-life firemen as well as the trucks. As he grows older and gets into video games and sports, let him tell you all about how he beat his opponent at Minecraft or how disappointed he was when he didn’t score the winning goal at his soccer game. You will both learn more about his favourite subject and have more to talk about. Show up when he’s playing sports and learn how his video games work. Who knows, you might both become fans of the same activity!

Survival tip #5: Educate yourself on fart and bathroom jokes

“In our house, every fart is followed by a loud burst of laughter, from mysmall boy and the big one, which is my husband,” notes Sarah Ammarudin, mum to a 3-year-old. We don’t have a backed-by-science logical explanation for this one, ladies, but the truth remains. Boys ― young and old ― adore toilet humour. Learn a few fart jokes and buy a toy that makes a fart of poop sound and you will be their hero! Plus, it will also come in handy when you need to…

Survival tip #6: Learn to make them laugh

Boys refusing to smile for an all-important family picture? Unleash a fart joke or let one rip – literally ― and watch that frown turn upside down. Is your 2-year-old throwing a full-on toddler tantrum and nothing seems to calm him down? Bring on the jokes, says Mae Wong, mum to Tolsen 2. “When I refuse to accede to one of his many demands and he starts a tantrum, what really works is me acting really crazy to get him to crack up,” she adds.

Survival tip #7: Dress them in stylish and expensive clothes ONLY on very special occasions

Boys go through clothes and shoes like nobody’s business. When they are not outgrowing them, they are destroying them because of all that climbing and leaping off tables and chairs. Invest in dark-coloured, durable clothing and shoes. Dark is great mainly because stains won’t show, and you know junior is going to end his day with a stain or two. Not sure how he gets it, but it keeps showing up. So, don’t forget the heavy-during stain removal detergent. Oh and by the way, none of the cheap stuff when it comes to footwear because they’re not going to hold up under all that mischief your mini-me has in mind for his next trip to the playground. By the way, keep those Armani Junior threads for super special occasions, only!

Survival tip #8: Learn how to co-exist with dirt

Because they are going to be everywhere on your little guy ―– in his hair, on his shirt, underneath his fingernails, and on your walls *oh the horror!*. The best part? He’s going to love it because dirt is fun! Your little dirt magnets are going to drag in everything and anything into your house, so make sure you always have a wet wipe on hand (keep a pack at every corner of the house), coat your walls with stain-resistant paint and hose them down in the shower the minute they get home.

Photos: iStock

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