Smelly Socks: Being Grateful

By Anita Spisak
May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 29, 2012 at 1:29 a.m.

My mother says I've changed since having boys. When I ask her what she means, she says that I'm not as uptight as I used to be. Mind you, this coming from the same woman who had plastic covers on her furniture when I was growing up.

I grew up as an only child. I frequently played with my two cousins who were girls my age, but I was never the girly-girl type; someone who wore dresses all the time and was always engrossed in beauty and hair care products.

On the other hand, I wasn't exactly a tomboy climbing trees and running around barefoot in the grass. I suppose I was somewhere in between. I liked girl things like Barbie and playing school and office with my cousins.

I grew to like things a certain way in my life. Seeing first hand in school and in the neighborhood how "destructive" boys could be, I always kind of dreaded the thought of having a boy and kept hoping that, someday, I would have a girl.

When my first baby, Adam, came out and the doctor said, "It's a boy," I was like, "OK, what do I do now?" One of my first thoughts was, "I don't know how to play with boys." Maybe I should've paid more attention to my only male cousin, Mark, when he played with his Matchbox cars and G.I. Joes for hours on end. Hey, at least I could color coordinate and dress up the G.I. Joes, right? Then, three years later, the second child, Charlie, came along. Another boy. What the heck?

I've always heard boys are more difficult in the beginning, and it's true. With boys, there is usually more crying, more fussing, more demanding, etc., but then, as they get older, things get much easier. And that's pretty much true. I've seen that there's no drama with boys, no image issues with boys, and no fluff with boys.

Raising boys is not easy. They will wear you down with their never-ending questions about things that you sometimes have no idea about and exhaust you with their endless "I-don't-know-where-they-get-it-from" energy. But at the same time, they bring you to a place of joy that I think moms of girls will never experience. Boys will forever be their Mama's protectors and best friends.

I've been called many things in my life, but the best things I've ever been called is "princess Mama" and "best friend Mama." When I hear "Mama, you're my best friend and I love you so much because you do good stuff for me," it makes my heart happy. Someone once asked me if I wish I could have had a girl and I always say "no." I can't imagine my life without my boys.

I am grateful that God has blessed me and my husband with two little boys who are as different as night and day, yet the same in many ways. They've taught me that it's OK to splash in puddles with rain boots on and get yourself wet in the process. They've taught me that sometimes chocolate cake is OK for dinner.

They've taught me that frogs, worms and dragonflies are really our friends, and that we don't need to kill spiders because they help in killing other bugs. They've taught me all about mud, Legos, monster trucks and worms. They've taught me that they will not let me sleep a full night through. Ever. And that's OK. And they've taught me that I would never want a girl now because boys are just too much fun.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs, one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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