As a boy mom, I have to admit that I get a little twinge of jealousy every time I see girl moms with their daughters out to lunch, getting mani-pedis, shopping, or having a night out at the theater.
I am a total girly-girl, so when I found out that I was having twin boys my first pregnancy, all I could think of was dirt, bugs, boogers, and sports . . . and more dirt. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to bond with them in the way I had been dreaming of bonding with my future daughters.
Turns out, I've been doing okay. Playing Barbies is highly over rated. You have to put effort into making story lines and conversation. Playing with cars or trains, on the other hand, is easy! Make a few "vroom-vroom" and "toot-toot" noises and you're golden!
I've taken my eight-year-old out for special meals, painted my nine-year-old's nails a shocking orange (which he rocked the heck out of, I might add), and taken my five-year-old to the mall to browse and get cookies. Ellen of Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms points out: "I don't really bond with my girls as you described. I do stuff with them. We hike, bike, shoot hoops, and practice volleyball. If by bonding you mean opening up and having real conversations, I have found it takes a physical activity to really open that up. Shopping can be too riddled with conflict to really bond."
Here are some other interesting comments made by some of my favorite bloggy friends about bonding with their spawn:
"I take my 4yo out for lunch dates while his brother is at school. He, especially, loves eating in a restaurant with me and we have nice chats." Alicia of Naps Happen
"My son & I used to go to lunch dates 1-2x a week when his little sister's preschool schedule allowed us to do it alone. We also build Legos together, read, watch movies together (home Movie Night and going out). Mini golf - anything that he likes, I'm in." Kim of Let Me Start By Saying
"I like to take my son on little adventures when it's just the two of us. He and I have gone as far as eight hours to Florida by ourselves for vacation, and as close as a nearby park to have stick races in the creek. He's learning to sound out words now, so I'll make a list of scavenger hunt items that he can read and we find them (red leaf, white flower, ant, etc). We love spending time together outside." Lori of Loripalooza.
"I take each kid out on dates separately. We'll get dressed up and go out for lunch or dinner. This reminds me that it's time." Allison of Motherhood WTF
"We go to a crazy number of sporting events, and have ice cream." Courtney of Our Small Moments
"We get into my bed and watch a movie, go to the movies, take a walk or bike ride, have a Lego contest or build erector sets, do a science experiment. Sometimes I even play XBox or Wii with them or watch them play. They get very excited to show me how good they are." Steph of I'm Still Learning
"Owen loves a trip to a bookstore. And he's my high tea buddy. So it's always special when we do that. He also likes brunch. Apparently he's my fellow foodie." Frugie of Frugalista Blog
"I like what they like. I know a ridiculous amount of stuff about pro soccer, comic books, jokes, high adventure travel and survival, music, and art. I also agree with Ellen about the physical stuff. My boys taught me to paddle board this summer so I taught them to waterski. We hike, bike, kayak, and rock climb. We also watch movies. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Also know your tech. Boys love to talk tech. Minecraft is a great conversation any day." Erin, the other half of Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
"We play video games together or we talk about books since we read a lot of the same books." Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
"My 6 yo loves Legos, so we talk about that, and we read Harry Potter and The Boxcar Children together. He has red toenails right now." Amy of Funny is Family
"We build things. Railroad structures, Legos, crazy structures out of anything - boxes, tubes, plastic bottles. Going to get ice cream. And my son is more snuggly than my girl, so there's that!" Keesha of Mom's New Stage
"We play football/baseball/basketball in the yard. He jumps on the trampoline while I pee my pants on the trampoline. Video games are always popular and of course we talk a lot of sports. The 3 year old doesn't really care as long as I feed him and wipe his butt for him." Tara of You Know It Happens At Your House Too
And these last two quotes give me hope for bonding as my boys get older:
"One on one sports with my boys (and girls). 1. It puts them in their place because I can still beat them. 2. We can cover the heavy topics without eye contact. Driving to the basket and saying, "Let's talk puberty" is a win/win." Kerry of HouseTalkN
"MUSIC. That's where we find common ground!" Kimberly of Rubber Chicken Madness
And finally, I love this memory that Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases shared about bonding with her dad when she was younger: "My dad used to set aside one weekend a year for each kid. When it was our turn we got to pick anywhere we could drive to in a day. He would take us, just one kid at a time, while my mom kept the other kids at home. Since he traveled a lot for work, this weekend was really special because we got one-on-one time with him. I remember one year I chose Williamsburg and one year I chose Niagara Falls."
Boy moms, girl dads, same sex or not. All that really matters when it comes to bonding with your kids is that you make an effort to spend time together doing something you both enjoy. That way, everybody wins!
Be sure to check my post on Her View From Home where I talk more about this same topic.