Being a boy mom is something special. I know that they need something a little bit different from me as their mom than they do with their dad. I read Monica Swanson’s viral blog post, “What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom.” Then it was clear.
Today, I wanted you to see what some of those things are if you are a boy mom like me. Monica shares with us five things that our boys need from us.
And if you haven’t checked out that blog post already, there are actually 11 things that she shares but today we’re going to focus on just five.
Want to know what they are? Check out the full episode to find out.
Monica Swanson lives on the North Shore of Oahu (Hawaii) with her husband Dave and her four sons (two who attend college in California.) Monica is the author of Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You, and she is the host of the Boy Mom Podcast. Her passion is family, faith, and healthy living, and when she isn’t feeding her troops or cheering on her boys at surf contests, she loves to crank the A/C, sip coffee and imagine a fall day in the Pacific Northwest (where she grew up.)
Connect with Monica
- Blog/Website: https://monicaswanson.com
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheGrommom
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monicaswanson_/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/thegrommom
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thegrommom/
- Blog Post: What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom
- Website: https://monicaswanson.com
- Podcast: The Boy Mom Podcast
- Book: Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monicaswanson_/
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Transcript of this episode
Real Happy Mom 0:05
You are listening to the happy mom podcast a weekly podcast with inspiration. In personal practical, my name is Tanya, you are listening to Episode 163. Well, hey there and welcome back to another episode of the happy mom podcast super excited because I have Monica Swanson on from the boy mom podcast in she is going to be sharing with us what are boys the most from us as moms and being a boy mom myself, I know that boys are very, very special and as far as our relationship with our boys. So today she is going to be sharing with us five things that our boys need from us. And if you haven’t already, there is a very popular post that she wrote that she lists out actually 11 things but today we’re going to focus on just five. And I really hope that you take the time that you need to really just listen in to this one because it is so so good. And definitely going to make you laugh and also make you think so let’s go ahead and jump on into this week’s episode with Monica. Alrighty, so today we have Monica from the boy mom podcast on welcome to the podcast. I’m excited to have you.
Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here.
Real Happy Mom 1:25
Yes, yes. I’m really excited to talk to you because I haven’t had a conversation about what moms can do to support their boys or what boys need from their mothers. And especially with me being a boy Mom, I’m like I should have had this conversation a long time ago. So excited to have you on. But before we jump into that, just share with us a little bit about you and what you do.
Alrighty, well. Let’s see, I am talking to you here from the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. So my husband and I are both originally from the Pacific Northwest. But we moved here 20 years ago that makes me feel so old. So we moved here 20 years ago, over time, we had four boys and just Hawaii seemed like a really good place to raise them. So two of my boys are now in college, I’ve got a senior and a sixth grader still here with us and I homeschool them. My boys are all pretty into surfing my 17 year old is kind of like a pro now. So he’s traveling right now. And he’s kind of finishing high school and beginning a professional surf career. So that’s interesting. Otherwise, I started blogging 10 years ago and, and just loved connecting with people all over the world. Since I’m kind of out here in the country, it was just such a neat way to connect with other moms. And over time started to just grow that blog, had a couple posts that got me connected, I think we’re going to be talking about one of them today. But through that ended up with an opportunity to write my book boy, Mom What Your son needs most from you. And that was when I launched the boy mom podcast. So I love to encourage parents. I love to talk about raising boys. I love my boys so much. There’s so much fun. And yet I know there’s a lot of work involved. And it’s not always easy. But I’m seeing the fruits of hard work now. So I just kind of like you juggling a lot and trying to enjoy the journey and not get too overwhelmed.
Real Happy Mom 3:29
Yes, yes. And I love that your boy mom, and you got four boys. Yeah. Which I was just thinking. I was like, can I handle another one?
Yeah, yeah, once you hit two you can do 10 I think they’re just, they’re all Yeah. Yeah, you got to train them to help?
Real Happy Mom 3:46
Yes, yes, definitely. Definitely. No, it’s boy moms, I know that there’s things that our boys need from us as mothers, that is different than what a daughter would mean. So in one of your very popular posts, you shared 11 things that a boy needs from his mom. And today I wanted to focus on five of those things. And the first one being a safe place for them to figure themselves out. So I’m just wondering, what does that look like? And how can we do this on a day to day basis?
Oh, yeah, this is just so near to my heart. Because back when I wrote that post, my oldest two boys were teenagers. So my second son had just hit 13. And I just had kind of observed them and realized, even for me thinking back to my own, you know, early teenage years, just what a time of transition it is and how it can be such an awkward, awkward time it can be. There’s so many, you know, for one, just emotions, hormones, everything’s changing, but also so many voices from the world trying to tell our kids who they are, what they’re supposed to look like how they’re supposed to act, and I just realized that home is this safe place that boys can kind of try to figure themselves out and so I you know, sometimes they would walk out and they’re trying to do their hair a little bit different or they’re, they’re wearing their clothes different or talking, whatever it might be. And I just thought, I love that I’m a safe place, and I don’t have to criticize everything they do, it’s probably going to change by tomorrow. So just give them a safe place to figure out who they are and and not criticize them and not, you know, tear them down. Because the world is good enough at that, especially if they go to school outside the home or play sports. You know, kids can be so mean, to come home and have a safe place. And a mom was just cheering them on is a huge gift to them.
Real Happy Mom 5:31
Yeah, definitely. Because I’m noticing now like, with my eight year old in particular, oh, my goodness, one minute, he’s into this thing. And next minute, he’s into that. So he’s changing a lot and a lot quicker than when he was a lot younger. But I just find it interesting. Now. He’s like, into his appearance and his hair. And I’m like, yeah, it is. Yes, it happens.
Oh, yeah. You’re seeing the beginning. Yes. Yes.
Real Happy Mom 5:58
So definitely wanting to allow them to, you know, feel comfortable to try things out. And, like, I guess, like you said, figure things out. And the other thing too, I learned is, you know, being careful with like, laughing at them. very conscious of that, because sometimes I’m laughing because it’s cute, but they don’t Yes, me laughing Oh, that’s cute.
Right? Oh, it’s so true. It is a delicate, delicate thing there to you know, figure out when it’s okay, when you’re laughing with them. And when you’re laughing at them. And yeah. But it works out. And I think if they know that you’re for them, and they know that you’re cheering them on, you know, in time it all works out. Yeah,
Real Happy Mom 6:39
definitely. Now, I know you gave, like I said 11 things in that particular post, I want to move on to the next one, which is freedom. I’m just wondering how we can allow our boys to have freedom but still have the boundaries. Because that’s always a tricky one. It is
so tricky. And this is one of my favorite things to talk about. Because I feel like we just had such a positive experience raising boys with a lot of I don’t know the right word for it. But I like to just say like physical freedoms, giving them some challenges, things that made them worn out at the end of the day. And so here in Hawaii, of course, we live near the ocean. And so our boys love to surf, they love to go spearfishing they go diving in caves, which totally freaks me out. But you know, even even going for a hard run and just getting tired doing the physical things, climbing trees. Those are the things that I think give boys an opportunity to experience real challenges, makes them sleep good at night makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something. And what I like to say is, I think when kids have enough real opportunities, real adventures, they’re going to be less likely to be drawn to the artificial adventures. And I really think about it, I think of the things that get our kids into trouble, you know, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, sexual promiscuity, even gaming addictions, if you think about the heart of that, so much of it is really kids just wanting to experience some exhilaration, some adventure, you know, if they if they’re sitting around bored at home, and they have an opportunity to experience that they’re going to be drawn into it. So I say let’s give our kids some real experiences some real adventures, and they’re going to be less likely to be drawn into those others. And so I know it’s not fair, I live in Hawaii and some people are like, okay, especially during the real lockdown times during the pandemic, people are like, well, that’s not fair, my kids are stuck inside, you know, a little apartment. But I say even then, my boys learned to love good books. I mean, I have one son who had just read like a crazy man, he you know, read War and Peace in high school because he wanted to, I mean, that’s not me at all. But the thing is, is I think when you give your kids something challenging a tough Lego set to put together, let them learn how to fix the car, or a piece of furniture, something they can build or create. I think all of those are ways to give them really healthy adventures. And the freedom part comes with as they grow up, letting them show you how much freedom they can handle. And you know, I always say the good old saying with freedom comes responsibility. And if they’re proven responsible, if they’re making good choices, if they’re showing good character, then you give them a little bit more freedom. And then if they take it in a positive direction you continue but if they don’t, then you back off and say, Okay, we need boundaries as well, because boundaries are absolutely essential.
Real Happy Mom 9:30
Yeah, definitely. Because that’s the thing that I think I am always trying to find that line because that line is very fine. Yes, we want to make sure that they have the opportunity to try things but we still want to protect them and keep them from harm from themselves and others. So definitely really that fine line of like okay, like how much can but I like that you say you know you give a little bit more and a little bit more. So it’s not like we’re just gonna have a whole bunch of freedom. All at once. Definitely, definitely. Yes. Stages.
Yes, yes. And I do think with boundaries, something I’d really like to point out, especially because a couple of my boys are, you know, grown adults now. But I do believe that kids of all ages want boundaries, I think that they feel most secure when mom and dad let them know what is okay, and what is not okay. Because I think they don’t know. I mean that, again, the world’s given them lots of messages. And so if they don’t have someone in their life that says no, this is where the line is drawn, you do not cross this, then they don’t really know where to draw their line. And and so it gets really confusing. And I think that makes them feel insecure. So I always say boundaries equal security, kids like boundaries, even in their upper teenage years. They still want to know, well, what time should I be home? Like, can you just tell me like? And I think sometimes they appreciate more boundaries than they think they will. And later, they’re going to thank us.
Real Happy Mom 10:55
Yes, definitely. Now I want to switch over to direction because I feel like it’s gonna go in that direction anyways, but do our boys want direction? How can you do this without being the boring mom?
Oh, I know, right? Or the helicopter mom or any of that? Yeah, I think there’s so much about raising boys that I think comes down to our relationship with them. And I love that your boys are still young enough that it sounds to me like you’re already doing a great job. But for those listening with younger kids, you want to have a relationship where you you have fun with them, you enjoy them, you laugh at their jokes. You you snuggle you have the physical touch. And so when you have the healthy foundation of a relationship, then they’re going to be a lot more likely to listen to you when you want to speak into their life. And so that’s where I just encourage parents to really focus on and kind of, you know, building the relationship in the early years. And then as they grow up being someone that can speak into their life, but again, in a way that says I’m for you, I want what’s best for you. And so anything I say to you is because I love you, and I’m cheering for you. And then, like you said, the delicate line there too is just like not being controlling, not trying to be, you know, a nag or overbearing mom. But being able to say, Listen, I’ve lived a few years, I’d love to speak into this, here’s something I’m seeing going on with you in this friendship or this relationship or in your schooling. I’m going to encourage you to consider this, you know, so it’s kind of moving from being the mommy when they’re young, to more of a coach and a mentor as they grow into those teenage years.
Real Happy Mom 12:34
I like a coach and a mentor. I didn’t even think of him like that. Because I know mommy is going to be given a lot of direction. But definitely, in those teenage years. I know that that’s where it gets really challenging, because it’s like they’re growing up, but they’re not quite there yet.
Real Happy Mom 12:50
I think so. It’s like, really, really weird time. So I love the you know, looking at it as a mentor, or coach, because that makes me look at it like, okay, I can do that. I can coach Yes,
yes. And and the ultimate goal is when they’re grown, you want to be friends. And so like now I look at my 22 year old and I’m like he’s one of my best friends. Like I share my life. We talk we it’s it’s he has so much wisdom, I asked him for advice. But I couldn’t start off with him being my friend. I mean, yeah, there was a friendship element all along, because we do enjoy our kids. But the focus wasn’t friendship, the focus was on your parent first. You respect us, You honor us now I’m going to be a more like kind of coach. And now I’m kind of mentor and now yay, you’re 22. And we’re friends. So it’s kind of a cool process.
Real Happy Mom 13:39
Yes, yes, definitely. And you brought up one other thing too, about the physical touch part when you’re talking about having that basic foundation, because I know a lot of times when they get older, they we feel like they don’t want us to be like all, you know, hugging on them and embracing them. But I know it’s so important, especially for those boys that even act like it’s like super awkward to get her notices. But talk to us a little about the physical touch and why it’s so important for them.
Absolutely, yes, I just am such a believer in physical touch. And I know my oldest son is just a little bit stiffer by nature, you know, he’s just not a real smuggler, and even when he was young, probably a little less so than the brothers. But I realized when he was goodness, maybe 15, maybe 16. I was like, Oh, we’ve kind of gotten out of the habit of hugging and I don’t want it to be weird when a time comes and I want to hug him. And so I just kind of approached it real objectively. And I was like, Hey, buddy, and and this is true. I didn’t make it up. I said I read some research about like how important it is that you get a hug at least every day. And in fact, I wish I knew exactly where this research was but something about if you hold a hug for like 10 seconds like some of the chemicals that are released are super healthy for you. And so I’d be like okay, new rule before bed every night we have to hug and then maybe every couple of weeks, I’d be like, okay, hugging, I’d go 10 Nine countdown in here to kind of be like, Oh my goodness. But by the end of it, you could just feel him kind of relaxing into my arms. And I knew that those chemicals are being released. I knew that was a healthy thing. But because I made it objective, like we have to hug every night, it was almost like, playful. Then on the nights, I forgot he would come into my room and be like, mom, and kind of like forgot something. I’d be like, Oh, hug hug. So that was just a fun way to keep it light hearted, not too serious. But you know, depending on your kids, some kids love hugs. I’ve got one that is addicted to back scratching. And so every time I’m near him, he just like lifts his shirt and turns his back to me. Like you’re like a dog. But, but I do think that different kids are going to need that physical touch more, but everyone needs it. No matter who you are. We all need hugs. We all need touch.
Real Happy Mom 15:53
Yeah, definitely. And I love how you brought in the Wii on the study to really solidify that. Yes, we do need to bring in the hugs from Yeah, this is important. Very important, even the research. So you’re right, it really is true that, um, yeah, definitely having that physical touch does release all those chemicals. And then also that connection to I know, it helps with that too, as well. But I was just thinking about my oldest because when he was little, he’s always hold my hand, always, always, whenever we call, and I just loved it. And my mama told me you better enjoy it. Because one day, he’s not gonna want to hold your hand anymore. And he’s like, just not getting into that. We’re like, No, you can you know, when their hands are getting our lift like they don’t want yeah.
Oh, they’re too cool. They don’t
Real Happy Mom 16:41
know. But I just know how it makes me feel. So I know it. He definitely feel something too. So definitely want to keep that condition. And thank you for reminding me how important it is for that physical touch.
Yes. And I encourage you to tell him like oh, no, you can’t quite hold my hand yet. Just drag that one out. As long as you know, I miss it when they’re older.
Real Happy Mom 17:03
Yes. Now the little one, he still holds my hand even down the stairs like he’s always holding on to me. Yes, I love I love the hand holding. So yes, I’m with you on that one. But give me some really good stuff here as far as like how we can best support our boys. Especially as a boy, mom. Yeah, I was just wondering if there was anything else you wanted to point out? Like I said, I know that you had 11 things in that post, we only focus on CAD. But anything else you wanted to touch on before we?
Well, I think in those teenage years, one thing that always strikes me is just that boys are so much fun. And I just encourage parents to enjoy them. Because I think we can be you know, we have such a focus in those teenage years on like perfecting them, like oh, I have to make sure to fix this and correct that. And in the back of our head, we know they’re going to be launching into the world. And so we just have it, we’re so focused on on fixing things. And I just encourage parents to enjoy them to laugh at their jokes. I mean, we have we try to keep things clean here. And so I’m keep keep the PG humor, but to enjoy them and realize they’re hilarious, like they are really coming into who they are and developing their own personality. And so you’ll regret it later. If you don’t just have some fun and enjoy them and let them know that they’re, they’re enjoyable. And let them know that you like them that they are people that you want to be around. And I think when you do that they’re going to keep coming around and that relationship will be stronger as they grow into adulthood.
Real Happy Mom 18:34
For sure, definitely. No, I love love, love the post that you wrote. So I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. If moms are listening want to connect with you learn more about you. Where can we find you online?
Awesome. Yes, I love to meet new friends. My home based is my website, which is Monica Swanson calm. And on there. There’s links to the podcast and my boy mom book. And I have a couple courses. My character training courses kind of been my biggest thing in the past year. I launched that about three times a year and just character something I love to talk about when we’re raising our kids. And so the character training course is for moms and dads of boys and girls. So there’s a link to that there. And then on Instagram, I’m at Monica Swanson underscore. So yeah, if you find me say hi, and tell me where you found me from and I’d love to be friends.
Real Happy Mom 19:24
Yes, yes. And I will definitely include all of those links in the show notes. Because Thank you, thank you so much for coming on. This has been so so good. I really appreciate it. Oh, thank you.
I love talking to you, Tony. And so thank you and I’m so happy to meet your listeners.
Real Happy Mom 19:39
Now that does it for this episode of The Real happy mom podcast. To find the links in the show notes head on over to Real happy mom.com/onesixthreethere You’ll find all the links that Monica mentioned and do me a favor if you have found this podcast episode helpful. Leave me a five star rating and review wherever you listen to this podcast. But in particular, if you’re listening on Apple Podcast leave that five star rating review because it helps Apple know that this is a great podcast for other moms. So listen to and actually recommend it to more moms because I really want to make sure that this message is getting out so that we can help more Moms be truly real happy moms. Now that’s it for this week. with care and with lots of love