I have tried my best to be an egalitarian mother, and to raise my children without rigid gender roles or stereotypical expectations based on gender. I want them to understand that boys can be nurturing, that girls can be bosses, and that they are free to follow their dreams and passions, unencumbered by cultural expectations.
THAT BEING SAID,
Wow. Raising boys is different than raising girls.
I grew up in an all-girl household. I didn’t have brothers. Farting contest and burping monologues were not a thing I was familiar with. My sisters and I cared about decorum and appearances. We were stereotypical girly-girls, interested in makeup and clothing and decorating our rooms.
And now I find myself living with two tween boys, and asking myself on a daily basis, IS THIS NORMAL? And why are they so gross?
First, there is the body odor issue. I mean, I get it… everyone has body odor. On the rare days I had forgotten my deodorant, I am reminded of the miracle of modern science, and how bad I smell when my pits are left to their own devices. But this cause-and-effect relationship between applying deodorant and not smelling like death warmed over does not seem to motivate my sons in the least. They are perfectly fine being stinky. It’s almost like they revel in it. I have to remind them to put on deodorant on the daily. They have also been known to take showers in which no soap is actually applied to the body. There have been days when I have picked them up from school and threatened to make them walk home, because my car smells so bad. I have resorted to shame as a parenting technique, just flat-out telling them that they stink. And yet, they don’t care.
Then there are the feet. I swear, their feet are growing at a super -human rate. At nine and 11 years old, they both have feet bigger than mine. In fact, my oldest is now wearing the same size shoe as my husband. And more foot size just means more foot stink. When I walk into their rooms, it smells like a gym locker. So. Much. Foot. Stink.
Then there is the bathroom. Can we just talk about overspray for a minute? I thought that potty training was done when they were toddlers, but no. I am still having to remind them about the importance of aim. The back of the toilet is a scary place. And I had the bright idea to put a white shower curtain on the shower that is directly next to the toilet. Let’s just say, I am thankful for bleach. Because that thing has a yellow corner crop up more often than I would like.
Speaking of bleach, Clorox has some amazing products that help me keep the bathroom from becoming a biohazard. Simple bleach is a perfect way to clean and disinfect a toilet bowl. Poor 1/2 cup of Clorox regular bleach into the bowl, brush with a scrub brush, let it stand for 10 minutes, and flush. Easy peasy. It also comes in handy for cleaning behind the toilet. I like to use a solution of a half cup of Clorox regular bleach in a gallon of water. Letting the solution sit for five minutes will 99% of germs and bacteria, then you can rinse well and air dry.
In honor of parents and the bathroom messes we must clean up, Clorox is doing a sweepstakes for the best “reach for bleach” moment. Leave a comment sharing one of the scariest messes you’ve had to contain for a chance to win a Clorox prize package, which includes a $150 gift card, two bath towels, three acrylic storage canisters, and a style station organizer. See here for details.