I realize that as a mom to 3 boys there comes a time, and rightly so, where I can no longer instill certain qualities into them, but my husband can. That a time comes, for all boys, where they start clinging to dad more and wanting to participate in the "guy-things." And this is right, it is natural, and I am all for it. But during those few precious years that they actually desire to be with me more than anyone else, I am determined to instill certain elements of refinement into them.
Manners, for instance.
We are big on please and thank you. And I am a southerner, so having my boys say yes-mam, no-mam, yes-sir, and no-sir are at the top of the priority list for me. I also have a running list of things we do not say. "Gentlemen," I assure my boys, "do not say fart in front of a lady. And I am a lady."
I try my best to influence this house full of testosterone toward a civil and respectable upbringing. But occasionally it works the other way around and I find myself saying things that only a boy should say.
For example: this past Friday I got together with my Bunko group. They are 16 of the most beautiful women I know (inside and out). I could write a whole blog bragging on how great each one of them is. Maybe I will one day. But I digress. Bunko is the night each month that I desperately need both as a mom and a woman. It's nice being around other humans who appreciate the finer things in life. Like lipstick and flat irons.
Anyways, we get together once a month for dinner and to play bunko. This past Friday, towards the end of the evening, we were looking for one of our girls who'd gone missing somewhere in the house. We couldn't start playing without her. And before I knew what was flying out of my mouth, and before reason could take over, I yelled (at an awkwardly quiet moment), "MAYBE SHE'S ON THE POT!" As soon as I said it, I ducked my head in shame and horror. And I quickly reminded my 16 friends (well,15...one was on the pot, remember) that, pardon me, I live with 4 boys, sometimes I have no manners.
This bothers me on 2 levels: (1) that I said it. (2) that I would even think to say it.
What's funny about this entire scenario, though, is that we do not say "pot" in our house. If, in fact, one of my boys ever tried to refer to the toilet as a pot, I'd correct them. And here I am, a full grown "lady," and I didn't just use it in a casual conversation, no. I yelled it in my friends house in front of women who, prior to that moment, probably thought of me as someone with pretty good manners. Internally I tried blaming it on the fact that there's no other estrogen in my household besides my own. That I'm outnumbered. That this was bound to happen. I am becoming like them!
But of course, that's not the truth. I am still determined to teach my boys a little about refined things. These are the things, I know, that do not necessarily make or break a man's character. But for my sake, and the sake of my future daughter-in-laws, I am working hard to get these good habits into my boys. To teach them about manners and decency. To not burp at the dinner table. To put their dishes away after every meal. To put the seat down after using the pot. Er....toilet.