Like the old poem goes, boys love snakes and snails and so many other creepy crawlies, and in general, they can be bigger and more aggressive than girls. Research studies confirm some of these stereotypes, and they also prove that it really does take longer to potty train boys. Some truths can be uncomfortable—like that boys can be less empathetic and have a harder time in school—but that doesn’t mean that life as a boy mom isn’t amazing. It’s definitely an adventure.
Here are 20 uncomfortable truths moms of boys discover.
20. Little Mess Makers
There is one thing that is certain for boy moms — life can be really messy. Really that’s true with any toddler, but things can continue for years with boys interested in playing in the mud and leaving trails of food and clothes wherever they go. There are some girls who don’t mind the stickiness either, but with boys, it’s practically guaranteed.
19. Potty Training Is Definitely Different
Potty training is hard for any mom of a toddler, but boy moms tend to have it worse. According to research cited in What to Expect, it takes on average four to five months longer for boys to potty train than girls. For some, it’s even a year later. Sitting still long enough to do number two is the hardest part (and aiming).
18. Not So Good At Listening
Boy moms know that it can difficult to get their little guy to listen at times. They might be surprised to find that there is some scientific basis to the difference. According to Parenting, research has proven that girls from an infant stage are more likely to pay attention and engaged when someone is talking. It’s not just your boy who won’t always listen.
17. No Pants, No Problem
There is one phrase that boy moms might find themselves repeating a lot more than they could imagine: “put on some pants.” Little guys never seem to mind going around the house sans clothing, and moms might want to check before they go outside to play too. The shirt issue might come up later, but when they are little, they seem to lose their pants a lot.
16. Always In Motion
Boys don’t like to sit still. Moms might think that their little wiggle worm stands out, but research actually shows that boys are more likely to be active in the womb than girls, and it continues into childhood. According to What To Expect, research studies have proven that boys squirm more in utero, on the changing table, and in the stroller. Girls can be active too, but the studies show that boys have more of a tendency.
15. Diaper Change Differences
Boy moms learn early on that diaper changes have to be strategic or mom could end up really messy. All parents have to plan for the potential of number two in the middle of the process, but with boys, if they aren’t careful, they could get a mouthful of pee. Moms of boys also learn quickly that they have to tuck things down — otherwise, they will regret it.
14. Hard To Fill Up
Boys come in all shapes and sizes, but at some point in their lives, all moms find problems keeping their bellies filled. For some, it happens before a growth spurt or after a day at the beach, but for sure there will be a time when a boy turns into a bottomless pit when it comes to food.
13. Brutal Honesty
Boys can be sweet, but they can also be honest even if it’s brutal to hear. According to Healthfully, a research student showed that boys were a lot more likely to tell people that the lemonade they were given was gross (they put salt in it instead of sugar to get a response). Girls would choke it down, but researchers said boys are possibly told to be more assertive, which can translate to brutal honesty.
12. In General, Boys Are Bigger
It’s not that all girls are petite, but on average, boys tend to be bigger than girls. That’s true from birth—up to a pound more and a half inch longer—and into toddlerhood. Of course, genetics and other factors come into play, but boys tend to be taller all the way until puberty, when girls shoot up ahead of them.
11. The Surgery Conversation
Moms of boys have one big decision to make within days of birth that moms of girls don’t have to think about: will the baby be circumcised? The question is a lot more controversial these days, as some people think that the decision should be the child’s. But there are health, social, and religious reasons that might factor in, and the mom has to make a decision.
10. People Say Boys Have Less Empathy
Emotions are hard for everybody, but according to research, they are harder to figure out for boys. It’s not that boys don’t have emotions; it’s that they don’t pick up on cues about emotions as quickly as girls. As babies, they don’t seem to notice as early if the mom is upset, according to What to Expect. It might take longer, but they can be just as sweet when they get it.
9. Late Talkers
According to What to Expect, boys tend to be quicker at walking compared to girls, but they might be late at talking. It’s not all or nothing — we know lots of boys who had a couple dozen word vocabulary by their first birthday. But research has shown that boys might be slower to say what they have on their mind.
8. School Expectations
Boys are smart, but unfortunately, recent studies show that they are more likely to struggle in school. According to Family Education, boys have scored worse than girls in reading for 30 years, and they are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or a learning challenge. Some say that they just aren’t as ready to sit still for lessons in their early years, and that can impact later grades. It’s a tough truth for a boy mom to swallow.
7. Boys Seem To Have No Fear
Ever feel like your boy has no fear? It’s scientifically proven that boys are more likely to be little daredevils than girls, and research shows that it starts early. According to Healthfully, research has proven that girls are more likely to startle at loud noises at three months and that is linked to the fact that boys are more likely to do something risky when they are older.
6. That Stinky Boy Smell
There is no smell like a stinky boy. Of course, boys can get clean, and girls can get messy, too, but boy moms know what we are talking about. Boys like to get sweaty and grimy, and as the hormones come, they can really reek. That’s why teenagers use so much Axe body spray, which really doesn’t make anything better.
5. The Constant Pressure To Be Athletic
Lots of boys love sports, but they don’t always have the natural talent. That’s true of girls too, but even in these more enlightened times, it’s the boys who often end up with the most pressure to perform. That can be tough for some little guys, so parents need to work hard to make sure that their boys find their niche, whether it’s in athletics or some other area.
4. Less Focused On Faces
One difference between boys and girls happens pretty early in life, and it could be an indication of things to come. While girls tend to zero in on individual faces, boys are more likely to look at groups of things, like a mobile above the bed. That could be why boys are more into motion and less into understanding emotions in people’s faces. It’s a part of early communication, according to Parenting.
3. Sometimes It’s Just Perceptions
There are a lot of perceptions about boys versus girls. According to some, boys are more aggressive, and a research study has said that there might be a point to that before the age of two. But after that, boys and girls can be equally aggressive. Sometimes, it’s just about the perceptions that the parents have, and stereotypes can play into that.
2. All. The. Creepy. Crawlies
If moms don’t like bugs, they better get over it if they have a boy. Little guys tend to be fascinated by the creepy crawlies all around, and that means they will unearth all the worms and trap all the spiders. Sure, some girls like them too, but boy moms have to be ready for the day their kid asks for a pet snake.
1. Sweet Mama’s Boy
It’s hard to be a boy mom, but it’s hard to be a mom in general. While little guys might pose different challenges, that doesn’t mean that they can’t grow and develop into amazing young men, especially with the right support. And boy moms should take note — boys love their mamas with all their hearts, and that is the sweetest truth that a woman can cherish for the rest of her life.