Being the eldest of three girls, it never occurred to me that I would have sons. I simply assumed I would have three daughters like my own mother did – but obviously things don’t always turn out as planned. So, instead of swapping clothes, shoes and secrets, I find myself grappling with muddy soccer boots, smelly socks and testosterone swings.
After my third son was born, a fellow parent of three sons said to me: ‘Welcome to the POTS club!’
‘POTS club?’ I asked.
‘Parents Of Three Sons,’ my friend explained.
‘So… what happens if you have decide to have another child?’ I asked.
My friend looked at me, shaking her head, sagely. ‘Nobody ever tries.’
Being a mother of three sons turns you into a particular kind of person. You bond very quickly with other families of boys. Only POTS understand the noise, space and quantity of food boys need. Staying with friends who aren’t POTS requires a huge amount of planning and preparation. You can’t exactly call it a holiday.
Once, I was foolish enough to take up the offer of childless friends in Sydney to stay at their place rather than rent a motel room. Despite the rotten weather that week, I felt obliged to take my sons outside all day and every day, to the local park to burn off energy. After all, watching three boys wrestling in the middle of the loungeroom floor doesn’t appeal to everybody.
Particularly the childless.
Then, at the end of each day, I would feed my boys loaves of bread in the car before we went in to dinner to fill them up so they wouldn’t wolf down our host’s beautifully prepared meals in two seconds flat. It was exhausting.
When you go away with POTS, it’s merely a question of working out how many trays of meat and boxes of Weet-bix you should bring. As long as you’re equipped with plenty of meat and carbs, as well as a couple of footballs, you know you’ll be right.
But there are wonderful things about raising boys, too. Many, many wonderful things. My eldest son turns eighteen this year, yet he is still so full of love and affection towards me. Every morning he lumbers out of his bedroom like some kind of reeking Frankenstein for his morning cuddle. He lopes around in saggy jeans and a beanie in the middle of summer looking like a hooligan, yet he will jump up from his seat on a tram for an old lady without any prompting. Future girlfriends: he also cooks a mean chicken curry and even cleans up after himself!
My middle son will be fifteen this year, but every afternoon when he gets home from school he takes his seven year old brother out into the garden, to dig for worms, take apart an old toy or build a birdhouse. Sometimes they even play dress-ups and my oldest son will film them and make hysterical movies we all watch together.
My grubby, wrestling little boys are growing into beautiful young men: funny and gentle and kind. Now I can’t imagine having three more lovely children. What’s more, while my once smug friends of daughters have begun complaining about their increasingly difficult relationships with their teenage girls, my sons continue to be exuberant, loving and uncomplicated.
So, for any other other POTS out there, don’t feel daunted. Despite what people may lead you to believe, being a parent of three sons can be extremely rewarding. Just as long as you feed them lots and take them outside to kick a footy around every once in a while.