Real Life With Real Boys

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Photo by Hans S via Flickr

Today, I was the expert, at least for an hour.

I presented a one-hour session about Homeschooling Boys at the Wisconsin Parents Association conference. It was a great experience, as always. (I love talking to other parents about the joys and challenges of raising boys!) But it was also pretty ego-gratifyiing. People came up to me after the session and told me how much they enjoyed the presentation and discussion; one woman told me my session was her favorite of the entire conference! I even had people on the elevator tell me how much they enjoyed last year’s session.

Then I came home. The kids were tired and crabby. I was tired and crabby. More than anything in the world, I was looking forward to bedtime. But…

“What’s wrong with the freezer?” my 14-year-old asked.

“The freezer? Why?” (Ever wonder why we even bother asking Why? Would my 14-year-old even be aware of the freezer if he didn’t need it in some way, shape or form, right now?)

“It’s all full of ice and snow,” he said. “And my fish are melting!”

I should point out that my 14-year-old is the passionate fisherman of the family. And that he uses the upright freezer to store his dead bait. Which was thawing out. In my freezer.

The smell was AWFUL!

Just like that, my stint as expert was over, and I was reminded, yet again, that real life with boys is never as neat and tidy as it sounds when I discuss or write about parenting boys. Real life with boys is messy and smelly and full of unexpected circumstances.I never imagined that I’d be defrosting the freezer tonight. Or lighting my scented candles to combat Smelly Fish Syndrome. But I am.

So take the experts with a grain of salt. Real life doesn’t exist in the pages of a book, and the answers to our real-life problems will never be found tucked neatly in between two covers, or on a blog, or in a speech. Real life takes you places you never meant to go, and suddenly, you’re struggling to respond.

Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. And stock up on scented candles.You never know when you’re going to need them.

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