One of the things that is almost always constantly on my mind is making my boys into good men. Whether it’s deciding what to do or revisiting something I may have done, it is something that I am constantly weighing. Making these boys into men, good men, is my number 1 goal in life. I have been chosen to parent them and have been entrusted with caring for these two amazing, bright, beautiful children. I understand that it is my responsibility to guide them into adulthood as best I can.
Now I will say, that although I am divorced from their father and a “single parent” per se, that their father is as much a part of their lives as I am. He lives his life with them as the priority to any other human being. The choices that he makes on a daily basis depend on them, including postponing certain things in his career so that he can be more present during this very vital time in their lives. At the onset of this arrangement, I was fairly critical of his choices and the decisions that he made (especially regarding them). I was very bitter. But in the last several years that have followed that dark period in my life, I found peace and have come to forgive him for lots and lots of things. I have learned to let go of worrying about the way he parents them and began to focus on my own way. He is a good dad, they will never lack a thing but… we’re just different, very different. They do have a father in their lives that loves them very, very much and will always look out for their best interest. Additionally, the woman that he has chosen to be in his (and their) lives has an amazing heart with incredible values that also loves my boys and looks out for their best interest. I couldn’t have hand picked a better female figure to be in their lives at his place if I had done it myself. I wanted to make sure that I pointed all of that out because I don’t ever feel that I am doing this on my own, because I’m not. And I am pretty old school, I do believe that as strong (and kind of a dude) as my God made me, there are certain things that as a woman I will never be able to teach my boys (as well) and that there is a certain space that I will never be able to fill for them.
With all of that being said, I’ll start with my first post of many to come on the things that I do with these boys on a fairly regular basis to help grow them into good men. Not only that, but I want to know my children. Know who they are, what they love, what they hate, what makes them tick, what inspires them, motivates them, what brings them down, what makes them happy, what frightens them… I want to know them. I don’t want to change them or mold them into who I think they should be, but take who they are and raise them into decent, responsible, respectful, independent and confident contributing adults.
You’ll come to learn that I’m pretty laid back with them in terms of shielding them from the world. I want them to experience things and life. I don’t watch my mouth around them as much as I should, we stay up way too late most nights (including school nights) because we’re just having too much fun or want to be able to spend more time together, sometimes we eat ice scream before dinner…. I’m kind of a bad mom like that.
I’m going to share one of my favorite things to do with these boys that we do on a fairly regular basis, like once or twice a month. Unfortunately, with winter hibernation hitting us hard this year we had not been here in several months, since before the holidays. I’m sure most adults with children are aware of Lowe’s Build and Grow workshop. If you hadn’t heard of it or haven’t tried it out, I highly recommend it. It is a free workshop they usually have on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. We’ve gotten to build some pretty cool stuff! Sometimes it’s season themed and sometimes it is a licensed project (last year they did a lot of Disney movie projects). Usually after we are finished with the workshop we head out to lunch together.
Today they got to build a claw machine. Like the ones you see at grocery stores, restaurants and arcades. Julian (the younger boy) was especially excited about this since I am the world’s worst claw machiner to ever be born. This poor boy has left many a claw machines disappointed and empty handed. Most of the projects are a bit too difficult for kids to do on their own, which is great because it forces the parents to engage in the activity as well.
When they’ve completed their project, they turn in their hammers in exchange for a certificate and an iron-on badge to put on their Lowe’s workshop aprons (badge and apron not pictured because I’m a habitual procrastinator).
Part of our little tradition (most of the time) for lunch after we leave Lowe’s after a half hour of “manly” building is to go eat wings at Hooters. Mom of the year, right? But what goes better with hammers and nails than some greasy wings and scantily dressed girls? I’m making men here, remember????
In reality, the reason this tradition started is because, well, kids eat free at Hooters on Saturdays. When we first started coming here for lunch, they were both a bit embarrassed to talk to the girls. What man lessons could I possibly be teaching my kids here? Well, they’re already way ahead of the game than most teenage boys and young adults (heck, even men!) when it comes to talking to pretty girls! That and they have learned to respectfully talk to a lady regardless of how she presents herself physically. We usually get here right at opening, and so with it being a ghost town (as you can see from the picture below) we really get to interact and talk to these girls and learn about their lives and families.
And who else will fill your super cheap dining out meal with little hearts of gratitude??? (yep, $7.95 post tax, pre-tip)
I’m sure there will come a time when they outgrow the workshop and they begin to wonder why their mother regularly brings them to Hooters, but until then… we heart Hooters.