Shop the fall collection ➔

I am a girly-girl. I love all things shiny and sparkly. I marvel at twinkling lights dancing off a chandelier and the prismatic rainbow set off tilting a diamond just so. Getting all dressed up and attending a glamorous event fit for The Great Gatsby or a Cinderella waltz would top my bucket list. I am still in search for the fragrance of a perfectly uniquely “me” perfume… the scent that lingers long after I have exited a room but so intriguing that passerby’s can’t help but turn their heads in astounding delight at the scent my presence has left behind. (Haha! More about smells later!) When I was younger, I would wash my hair if I went outside and smelled “sunshine”…you know-the mix of earth and droplets of sweat mixed with the scent of golden rays of light. Obviously, I have an obsession with glitz and things that smell good!

Then something utterly strange happened! Beyond my wildest dreams, and I am still trying to figure this out, God gave me two boys. I do not know anything about boys. I am the oldest of three daughters. We used to joke that even our cats were all girls and my poor dad, the most incredibly talented man with a golden touch of all things sports, had 3 daughters. I “eeeked” at the thought of playing the icky sports he so loves while my two younger sisters also found that they enjoyed watching Daddy’s sports rather than actually putting forth the sweaty exertion. Enter my boys. What is a girly-girl to do with two full out, dirty, tooting, burping, stinky little boys? For starters, I love them more than anything, but I’m still trying to figure them out. Here are a few things I have discovered about being a boy-mom:

The smells! Oh my geez! Where do those smells come from? And it’s not the sweet perfume of roses I’m talking about. It’s a constant poop and pee smell mixed with dirty socks and rotting chocolate milk hiding underneath the bed for months. I have air fresheners that go off at intervals and spread them across the house to ensure a constant pleasing scent in our home. But, nope, still doesn’t work. I’ve tried candles and air spray and Scentsy’s with no avail and want to bury my head in a giant cotton ball sprayed with the latest luxurious scent from Ulta.

The messes. No matter how much my husband and I insist that toys stay in the boys’ rooms, I find the strangest surprises around every corner: dinosaurs guarding our bread and toaster; Lego pieces embedded in the carpet that hurt like a son of a gun on bare feet; matchbox cars in the washing machine and in my tub; miniature ninjas sitting on my makeup case. As much as we try to teach our boys to pick up, these little reminders of our sons’ imaginations at work make me smile when they are off at school, so I leave the dinos for a few days and let them stand guard over the bread. I shake my head at the matchbox car sitting on my tub as I reminisce about my youngest and his giggles as he splashed in the over-sized bath. The Legos on the floor? Oh, those suckers have a special place if not picked up immediately by their owner! Needless to say, we are working on keeping things in their place.

The bathroom! Growing up, I never remember having to worry about sitting on the potty and falling in. With boys, I am constantly checking the toilet lid is down in our main bathroom. This is impossible as boys wait until the last minute to pee so we must leave the seat up to make up for their lack of time management and to hopefully prevent further messes. Does this work? No ma’am! I’ve recently learned from my eldest son that our youngest does not aim for the toilet; rather, the shower curtain is his goal. That would explain the tee-tee that is constantly lurking around the edge of the potty! Talks about how and where to aim have not cured our bathroom dilemma. For now, the boys must clean their bathroom everyday after school before they can play. I’ll let you know how this new rule plays out.

The dirtier the better! I cannot for the life of me explain this one! Sweat, grass stains, bug bites and dirt under the nails appear to be a rite of passage with my boys. My oldest will play until sweat is dripping from every pore of his body and his cheeks are the color of apples. My youngest will roll head first in the grass over and over until he is dizzy and will take any chance he gets to fall down and wallow among the earth and dirt like a gloriously happy little piglet. Is it normal for little boys to constantly smell like a wet puppy dog? Oh! How I love them, but please, for the love of all things clean, please don’t nose dive into the couch with a sweat drenched body. Before having boys, I never thought about spraying a child off before their bath. My dad has become a pro and quite enjoys spraying down his grandchildren with the water hose before bath time.

The love of a little boy! My aunt once told me that having a child is like having your heart walking outside of your body. I’ve never heard more true of a statement! As sweaty and stinky as my boys can be, I love them more than I could I ever imagine. The sweetness of the love a son gives his mommy is unparalleled. I treasure my drawings that my boys have dedicated just to me. Their sweet hugs and “I love you Mommy” make up for all that I do not know about boys. The sounds of their little voices when we sing You Are My Sunshine before bed melts my heart and they become so much more than boys; they are my everything.

So what’s a girly-girl mom with boys to do? I’m still trying to figure that out! I’m constantly taking advice on how to rid the bathroom of pee and will take any suggestion you have on how to get stains out of new blue jeans. Some things that just come with being a boy-mom: unconditional love; learning how to let go and embrace the sweaty hugs; accept that there will be a constant smell and stains on clothing; learn that little boys are made up of a different kind of energy than little girls and it is most likely a full- speed- ahead type of energy. Most importantly, hold on to the fact that little boys love their mommas. It is a special bond that comes with sweat, dirt, tears, and a whole lot of give and take.

To Jack and Parker- you are my sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray. Love, Mommy

Amanda Kosmer

I am a wife and mother of 2 full-speed-ahead boys. A former 5th grade Reading teacher and a lifelong learner, I have returned to my roots. Writing is my passion and therapy. It is in my bones and I love every moment of it!

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Having Babies and Toddlers Is Exhausting—but So, So Sweet

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four with baby and toddler on bed

I took the girls to one of our favorite coffee shops last week and all around me were parents of babies and toddlers. Their little ones ran about in the grassy area out back, toddling up and down the lawn, when it suddenly hit me with perfect clarity—the sun has nearly set on this season for me. It was a realization marked by internal tension, a mourning of the loss of one season contrasted by the joyful anticipation at the arrival of the next. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a tidal wave. Having five kids in...

Keep Reading

3 Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to Your Kids (and What To Say Instead)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with young boy on couch

Learning to love yourself is hard work. I did not grow up loving myself. Instead, I always felt inadequate, and I felt the need to change myself to prove my worth.  I want more for my kids. I want my kids to know their inherent value and worth. I want to empower my kids to love and accept themselves.  My self-love journey, aided by the expertise of a counselor, has helped me realize there are some narratives from my childhood I needed to unlearn. I had to accept my emotions as helpful and not something to be pushed down. I...

Keep Reading

They Love Each Other (and Sometimes They Don’t)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler girl lying with big brother, color photo

When I was pregnant with his baby sister, Forest kissed my belly and talked about all the wonderful things he would do with this little girl he already loved so much. His plans changed, however, after she was born, and the thing he wanted to do the most with her was place her gently in the trash can. Some mornings he would kiss her softly, other mornings he would walk into the room where I’d be nursing her and say, “Her doesn’t look precious to ME.” Two and a half years later, Forest’s feelings toward Grace remain about the same....

Keep Reading

As a Mother, I Matter Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in living room

“What’s more important than me, Mammy?” my daughter asked. I looked at her, and she was looking at me. Her question wasn’t harsh or accusatory, it was curious. She was curious. We were in the kitchen, I was at the table working, and she asked me to help her find something. I told her I was finishing up some important work and then I would play with her. This is when she asked me what was more important than her. I bit my tongue to stop the words that wanted to rush out of my mouth. I wanted to proclaim...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

My Daughter is “Extra” and the World Needs More People Like Her

In: Kids, Motherhood
girl jumping

She is . . . extra. She just is. All the time she is extra sad, and then extra “OMG, Mom-that-was-so-epic-let-me-tell-you-everything.” Extra energetic, then extra I’m too tired to help with any family chores. Extra hungry, then extra refuses to eat the food she just asked for because she’s full. RELATED: In Defense of the Wild Child Extra loves to show how much knowledge she has, then extra doesn’t want to do her homework because she’s too busy “being.” Extra defiant, then extra brings home adorable “I love you, Mom” art from school. There is no middle ground with this...

Keep Reading

Teach Your Kids to Be Kind to Those Who Are Different from Them

In: Kids, Living
Little boy with Down syndrome in pool

On the eve of Zeke starting kindergarten, I have many hopes for my youngest child, mostly that other kids treat those who are different from them with kindness. Or maybe with a slightly sassy, “SO WHAT?” to those who may be being unkind. This summer while on vacation we were having a great time swimming at a pool. There are few places that top a swimming pool in Zeke’s mind. He is SO happy in the water. Zeke was playing in the kiddie pool by himself while I sat at a table nearby. As he played, kids would enter the...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Are Exhausted by the Start of the School Year—Go Easy On Them

In: Kids
Child with tablet on couch

In the first weeks of school, your child has been a rockstar.  They have faced brand new situations—daily—multiple times a day. New people, new friends, new teachers. New schools, new classrooms, new procedures.   They have remembered a billion things. Which bus to ride. Which room to enter. Which hall to turn down. What their schedule is. Which class is next and what book they need for that class. When to be quiet. Where to sit. How to sit. Where the bathroom was. Where to line up. What the directions were. Thirty or so new names. They have been quiet for...

Keep Reading