Mothers raising sons

How to Raise a Gentleman – Single Mom Guide

Mothers raising sons all by themselves are unique, influential, and real-life superheroes.

I should know; I’m also one. I’ve learned to love sticks, toy guns, and paper airplanes for several years. I can now make a mean paper airplane that sails from the kitchen into the living room and land splat at the front door base.

My son, Liam, opened up a whole new world for me. I have two brothers, whom, along with my late sister, Robyn, I played outdoors with growing up. Having brothers is one thing; parenting a boy is a whole different story. Being a single mom and raising my boy all by myself rests on a separate planet, but one I would never trade.

Liam is eight years old now. Over the years, he has introduced me to the Power Rangers, Elmo, and an affinity to infinity for Buzz Lightyear. He has shown me that boys do not ever sit still. Burping and arm farts are part of a young boy’s repertoire. He reassures me of that, yes, Mommy, this is funny. I reassure him of necessary manners when he forgets, then leave the room to laugh out loud.

Once while we visited a small church in Charleston, South Carolina, to meet some new friends for an afternoon playdate, I learned how different little boys and girls were. Liam and I had just moved there several months prior from South Florida to begin life anew after his father left. He was 18 months old. Several mothers were sitting at a table, drinking coffee and chatting. Their young daughters sat nearby, on the floor, playing.

The little girls did not move or crawl up a bookcase to see how high they could climb. They just sat.

“They just sit there?” I asked the Pastor’s wife in amazement. “They aren’t moving at all. They play still. How did you get them to do that?”

Oh, how she laughed. She had two grown boys, and these young girls were the daughters of another church member.

“My boys never sat still,” she said and reassured me I was not alone. “It’s just how they are.”

Raising a boy

Inside Secrets of Mothers Raising Sons

Over time, as my relationship with Liam has developed, he has taught me many things I never knew about raising boys.

Here are just a minor few:

  • They love their mommas and want you to be proud of them.
  • They will always have your heart.
  • The first season of playing baseball or any sport, they always look for you in the stand to make sure you were watching them the whole time.
  • They will cuddle with you anywhere until they are seven years old. After that, it is only at home when no one is watching.  But they still cuddle.
  • They expect you to play catch, shoot guns, and get down on the floor with them and crawl around.
  • They want you to give them enough rope to explore the world around them but not too much, so they feel you are still there.
  • That empty spot at the dinner table where a dad usually sits is small compared to the hollow place in their hearts in longing for a father.

This last one is something I have paid attention to ever since my son was little. I have never considered him or us victims; that mentality would set him up for failure. Other single parents believe this, too.

Sons without Fathers – How can they become men?

During my ex’s departure, a sage woman told me that God can always step in as Liam’s father. I have held onto that formula ever since; for us, that has worked so well and kept us whole and grounded amidst many changing circumstances.

While we lived in South Carolina, Liam and I attended a group for single-parent families called: Changing Lives for the Better. It was a wonderful support group focused on stability and faith in God.

The leaders wanted to care for the children’s sore spots by offering healing, comfort, and guidance. Why? Because statistics showed that if not, the future for single parents’ children is a bit grim. In that group, we all learned we were not victims. And the ideal intention was to look at the world through our children’s eyes and respond accordingly.

This group improved my relationship with Liam, my faith, and my self-belief that I am one of the good mothers raising sons on their own. Through my son’s eyes, I see the world the way it is, simple.

That’s the other thing my boy taught me. Boys are simple. They don’t like when things are too complicated. With them, you can aim and shoot.

I may not always get it right, and he might miss a target, too, but we are learning along this path together.

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