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!