Being the mom to a house full of Dudes requires you to develop a certain skill set.
No one cares that I can use a glitter pen like a boss or that I learned to make a tutu in less than an hour with just a yard of tulle and a strip of ribbon.
As someone who previously lived the life of a girly girl, the development of such a skill set has not come without great effort and trauma on my part (seriously, would a little enthusiasm over the tutu thing be too much to ask?).
Fortunately I’m a quick learner when it comes to acquiring skills to raise boys awesome.
5 Skills DudeMom’s Must Have
1. Accurate Oral Sound Effect Production. First of all you need to develop an awareness. For example, a laser blaster sounds absolutely nothing like a rocket launcher and, if you don’t know that, your ability to create the sound of any weapon accurately with your mouth is probably a pipe dream. So, learn your weapons and know their sounds. Then, like with anything, practice makes perfect. Fortunately, if your Dudes engage you in as many earth invasions and super villain eradication missions as mine do, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to perfect your pwing-shflat-bang-kapow sounds. Believe me, you’ll want to get it right so you’re not cut out of the game or made to be the radiated camel they’ve been sent to kill because you “can’t even make the sounds right anyway”.
2. Creepy Crawly Freak Out Suppression. Dudes are a teeny bit like cats in that they like to bring you their discoveries. The only difference is that with Dudes, their discoveries are slightly more likely to be alive when you encounter them. No matter how many times I’ve screamed and attempted to climb up whatever was nearest to me and climbable, they’ve yet to realize that they didn’t inherit their fascination with all things creepy and crawly from me. Or even from anyone who knows me. Because, ew. In an effort to pretend to show interest in the things they’re interested in, I’ve purchased countless bug vacuums and habitats. This way they can bring them to me in a secure environment and I can oooh and ahhh over them appropriately before insiting that the be carried back out into the wild to be released, or buried, depending on which of my heavy handed children was involved in the initial capture.
3. Squat Technique for Toilet Hover Protocol. Because if your thighs can’t hold you over the toilet during your middle of the night runs, chances are you will be sorry and probably also wet. Regardless of what they do during daylight hours (rarely put the seat up and even less often, flush), at night all bets are off. If they somehow stumble in and put the seat up before they go, chances that said seat will be re-lowered are slim to none meaning chances that my rear end will wind up wet and cold are huge. If they do the easy thing and hit the night time toilet with the seat down, I still wind up wet, and possibly on the ground in the corner from having slipped off of the dang thing in my sleep-stupor-pee-haste. It’s a lose-lose as far as I’m concerned. So, I enacted the middle of the night Toilet Hover Protocol which means no matter what I do not let my rear end encounter the toilet during middle of the night visits. It’s safest and it means that no one else in the house gets awoken with my yelps of anger.
4. Gag Reflex Control. Dudes smell. Badly. Their shoes, especially. But also their socks. And, sometimes, their shirts and their shorts. Plus, their hair. And just, they can’t shower constantly. I mean they can, but you have to get them to it and that may mean being around the funk without gagging on the funk for some period of time. Here’s a tip: when picking up your sons from summer soccer camp do not, under any circumstances, allow them to remove their cleats before reaching an open air area. I swear to you, you may actually wreck your car. And, if you’ve not developed the ability to control your gag reflex, you may also barf on yourself and there is nothing worse than smelling barf AND feet in a car you have no hope of escaping.
5. Code Talking. If you are able to discern the huhs from the umphs that your son uses like a second language I say you are winning as a DudeMom. As they age they are less and less likely to respond to any of your questions or comments with a full sentence. Or even a partial sentence. Or even, real words. It seems that my middle school son has in fact developed his own language that involves a series of grunts, accentuated by blinks, stares, and head nods. If you’re perceptive you can determine that there is a difference between a huh and a stare and a huh and a blink (the first means he’s got it and he doesn’t like it, the second means utter and total confusion; stop what you’re doing and repeat yourself immediately before it turns into a huh and a head shake). At least I know he hasn’t entered the I’m-just-pretending-to-be-listening-while-actually-thinking-about-sports-or-dinner-or-anything-except-for-what-she’s-actually-saying phase Dudes begin when they get married.