On Raising Boys…

When I gave birth to my son, exactly 8 years ago this Friday, someone bought me a book called Mother To Son, by Melissa and Harry Harrison. The book was life lessons on how to raise a boy- something I knew nothing of.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had no idea what I was having. My husband and I didn’t want to know the sex (well really, he didn’t want to know). What I DID know, was that I was a beached whale. My father called me Orca instead of Erica. I had zits, out of control cellulite, and a rump roast. I barfed all 9 months. In other words… all the signs of carrying a girl.

On Raising Boys...

When I pushed out a boy, I was shocked. How could I have just given birth to a BOY? I, the biggest “girly girl” with a childhood collection of 65 Barbies, had even been a ballet teacher. I loved dresses and tea parties! I had no clue how to care for a boy. But, of course like everything in life, ya learn fast when given no choice.

When I gave birth a second time, to a second boy, I admit, I had REALLY hoped for pink this time. We only wanted two children, (or again, I only wanted two children), and this was my last chance for pig tails and tutus. But this time, I was in the driver’s seat. I knew the drill. Another boy? A cinch.

On Raising Boys...

Still, during one nighttime feeding with my second son, I picked up this book again, Mother To Son. I laughed till I peed, I cried till snot came out of my nose, and immediately this became my favorite book. I knew there had to be a dad’s equivalent too. I searched high and low, and found Father To Son to give to my husband. Both books are about Life Lessons on Raising a Boy.

On Raising Boys...

I have wanted to share some of the great words of wisdom with you for some time.

So today, as my eldest son turns 8 this Friday, I will share a few of my favorites from Mother To Son. I promise to share the daddy’s version another day.

So if you’re a mom of boys, ENJOY!


“Don’t forget that as a baby, he will always be looking for your face. It will be this way forever.”

“The more you talk to him, the sooner he’ll talk to you.”

“Relax. Throwing food is normal. Heck, throw back.”

“It’s okay if he falls down. What’s important is that he picks himself back up again.”



“His tears will break your heart. So will his smiles.”

“If you make fun of him, he’ll learn to be shy.”

“He’ll continue to whine for as long as it works.”

“From you, he’ll learn the importance of telling the truth. Be a good role model.”

“Play catch with him. He won’t really care if you can’t catch a ball or throw a perfect pass.”

“Remember, your encouragement breeds confidence. It always will.”

“Don’t let his father forget that his son is still a little boy.”

“Don’t tolerate his tantrums. Ever.”

“Teach him how to set the table. This will amaze future girlfriends.”



On Raising Boys...

“He’ll always look for you at his games. Sit where he can see you.” (Made me cry. No clue why).

“Remember, perfectly sane moms tend to freak out during soccer tryouts.”

“If he’s old enough to play, he’s old enough to carry his own equipment.”



“Remember, he’s probably hungry. Even if he just ate.”

“Teach him to hang up his clothes, even if it’s just easier to pick them up yourself.”

“When he dresses himself, tell him he looks great. Don’t worry about what others might think.”

“DON’T miss his school plays. Even if his role is ‘Tree #2.’ ”

“Talk to him about saving for the future. Give him a piggy bank.”

“Teach him to wipe his mouth on a napkin, not on his shirt.” (Love)

“The longer you baby him, the longer he’ll stay a baby.”

“If you discover HE’S the bully, realize something is very wrong. Usually at home.”



“Keep kissing him goodnight. Even if he doesn’t kiss back now.” (Crying again)

“Look him in the eye and tell him that if he ever starts doing drugs, his life as he knows it will come to an end.”

“Play Beethoven in the mornings. It will calm everybody down.”

“Don’t be upset that you can’t afford everything he wants. A small country couldn’t even afford everything he wants.”

“Do not let one single disrespectful comment slide. Ever. “

“He’s ready to learn about girls. He can either learn from you, or from MTV.”

“He will start using copious amounts of cologne. You might have to stagger outside for air.”

“Be a part of his world. Know what games he plays, what shows he watches, what music he’s listening to.”

“Don’t ask his teachers for special favors. They’ll think of your son as someone whose mom is looking after him. That kind of reputation will follow him for years.”

“If he complains other kids get a bigger allowance or more things, don’t give in. He’ll live.”



On Raising Boys...

“If he becomes paralyzed when a girl says hello, you’ll know he’s discovered the opposite sex.”

“Don’t push him into a romantic relationship. Not now. Not ten years from now. Not ever.


“Remember you’re still one of his most important role models.”

“If he knows he can come to you with a problem, he will.”

“Learn the difference between supporting him, and rescuing him.”

“To your amazement, he will want clothes that cost more than his dad’s do. This is when you sit him down and explain the concept of getting a job.” (Love it!)

“He will want to talk at the most odd, mysterious, inconvenient times. Stop what you’re doing and talk.”

“If he does get a speeding ticket, don’t try to get it fixed. Send him to court. Wearing a tie.” (love)

“Remember if he smells odd to you, he smells odd to the world.”

“Remember, the stronger a mother you are, the stronger a man he will become.”



You’ll have to read the book.


And finally, thank you to my girlfriend Tanya, who shared this with me. And she doesn’t even have kids.

My Promise to my children ~

I am your Parent 1st – your Friend 2nd. I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare & hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU! When you understand that, I will know you are a responsible adult. You will NEVER find someone who loves, prays, cares, & worries about you more than I do! If you don’t hate me once in your life – I am not doing my job properly.

Well said.

I’d love to know which lessons are your favorite.


  1. Just stumbled upon your blog this morning when a friend recommended it. 🙂 We love the “Father to Son” book! And my oldest, a boy, turns 7 this Friday 9/23!! 🙂 My second born is also a boy, but my third is a girl (third time’s a charm?). Great blog post!! Thank you!

  2. Erica – great post! As you know – I am also the mom of 2 boys…older than yours, so I know the VALUE of some of the later stage things that you write about. 1 – yes, always, always sit where they can see you at games BUT I add – never, never run on field/court/etc and never react suddenly to anything. 2 – yes, continue to kiss your boys good night FOREVER, 3 – they do look for your face forever, 4 – make sure that you teach them about girls and NOT MTV, 5 – and my own – so happy that I got blue over pink b/c I do not have to share my shoes 🙂 Rachel

    1. Rachel – Your shoes comment made me smile. My daughter is just starting to fit into some of my shoes and she’s quite excited. I even have a pink shoe shaped eraser she bought for me with her Accelerated Reading points. I love having a boy and a girl – every day is unique!

  3. Hi Erica,

    Here is what I have learned, not so much from raising my son but from watching my mother-in-law with my husband once we got married.

    “A son is a son until he takes a wife. A daughter is a daughter all of her life!”

    Actually, I have learned this from my mother too.

    And i have two kids – a boy and a girl!

  4. I absolutely loved this. I have 2 boys and a girl and I think this is universal advice for both sexes. Happy 8th birthday! I love you blog.

  5. I loved this! My son is 8-years-old and it all fits so well. I wasn’t sure what I’d “do” with a boy either, but he’s growing wonderfully and I’m so proud of him. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’m a mother of a 7 year old and this completely connected with me. I have to admit that there are many times when I feel like my son comes from another planet and I just don’t ‘get’ him.

    This is where we are right now and I had to laugh out loud:
    “Remember, he’s probably hungry. Even if he just ate.”
    “Teach him to hang up his clothes, even if it’s just easier to pick them up yourself.”

  7. I so needed your advice on how to raise a son. I actually needed it years ago, but tonight I am so tired of nagging and so tired of being ignored ie clothes are still on floor after the 10 millionth request. So thank you so very much for letting me know what I’m going thru is normal.

  8. Great post! My fave: “Remember, the stronger a mother you are, the stronger a man he will become.” (And I love, love, love what your friend Tanya has to say! Are you sure she doesn’t have kids?)

    While many of the ladies commenting have younger children, my son is turning 20 in November. YES 20!!! I really don’t know where the time went, but those teenage years just whipped by (I’m talking lightening speed here ladies!) So continue to be a strong mom, don’t take it personally when they’d rather hang out with their friends and keep the conversation going (driving in the car seems to be a great place for this…unless their the ones driving – LOL!).

    Happy Birthday to your little man in the making Erica!

  9. My favourite is the “He’s probably hungry” tip – our guys, ages 7 and 4, eat like horses!

    Can totally relate to the “what the heck am I going to do with a son?” feeling at the beginning. Although I am still trying to understand the appeal of Star Wars, and won’t ever be a Lego or wrestling expert like my husband, I have to say that being a mom to two boys is great.

    They are sweet, polite, caring, active and funny little people … except for when they get hungry.

  10. It’s an unfair demand to ask mom to understand what a boy is thinking as he; while he is trying to grow into a man. For that matter; why would mom ever want to think about trying to become a man…or at least, let’s hope not.
    Through (sorry=unabashed plug) BAMmomtools.blogspot.com we are trying to look at the science studies of how a man (boy) brain does not even work in the same hemispheres as a womans.
    The good news is it’s guy 101 and we male creatures do not have a 102; however there are a few simple tools that help moms understand what boys are thinking and why they are thinking that way.
    Most raising boys blogs seem to be in the “happy” time of boys 1 to 8, but what about those tough years, truth of lesson one, that little boy is soon going to be gone and a young man is going to be born in that household; and mom; you need to be ready for that time too.

  11. I am a mother of 2 boys! I found this through pinterest! I think our oldest boys are about the same age. My oldest turned 9 on Oct. 18, 2011. I LOVED this and now will have to go out and by the book!!

  12. I am a mom of 2 boys. I think our oldest sons should be about the same age. His bday is Oct 18th 2002. I need to find this book. I linked this post to my blog @ skeltonfam4.blogspot.com

  13. Being the mom of twin boys who will be 8 next month, I can indeed relate. Love it,, especially wiping his mouth on his t-shirt!!! sssooooo true,,

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