My advice to mothers at the birth of a boy |

My advice to mothers at the birth of a boy

Debbie Wilde
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

My advice to mothers at the birth of a male child: dress them in cute, matchy-matchy clothes now, quick. In my experience, you have about two years of control over what your son will wear. Then your boy begins to discover that baggy shorts, sweat pants, a tee shirt and a pair – the same, one pair – of tennies are all he needs to function in the world.

Your success in clothing him in those enticing outfits from the children’s section may last into the first couple years of school. At some point you will resign yourself to the belief that there is no place in a boy’s world for snow boots and big winter jackets or button-up shirts and a pair of chinos. And about Halloween costumes – forget that file full of fun ideas. Save it for a granddaughter.

In the middle years, you learn that the pair of tennies that the child insists is as perfectly suited to playing in the backyard as wearing to school or even to church, is in no way acceptable on the basketball court. Silly mother. Social functions and mud puddles are compatible functions for footwear, but the same pair of cleats cannot be worn for baseball and soccer. But at last, there is a place once again for boots and snow – the latest and best snowboarding boot. Other than that, that pair of tennies covers all snow contingencies.

In these years, you are surprised to find only one pair of underwear in your son’s laundry at the end of a week. You realize that one pair probably came from the one shower that you managed to get him to take. But take heart. That adolescent male will discover the shower, and you will long for the days when you did not have to arrange the household morning routine around the extra 30 minutes he uses in the bathroom. About that time, he learns to use the washing machine because your weekly routine is inadequate for his needs. “How can you need clothes washed so often,” you ask. “Because,” he says to you, silly mother, “I run out of underwear.”

By the high school years you would be content if your son would just wear a warm jacket or sweat pants on snowy days. How do shorts and a hoodie suffice? You will never understand the dress code of the male child, but you come to accept it. You will get over your concern about “what will other people think” as you look around at the other boys whose style mimics your son’s.

But just when I thought I had this wardrobe thing all figured out, one son is shopping at Old Navy and the other is wearing a tux to prom. I never thought I would see the day. What I had not counted on was the influence of female reinforcements – girlfriends!

– Debbie Wilde is YouthZone executive director .

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