I grew up the middle of three girls, sandwiched between two sisters. Yup, I’m just like Jan Brady, minus the bonus brothers.
My sisters and I filled our teenage years with activities like sports, theater and student council. We also filled them with Aqua Net, jelly shoes, stirrup pants and princess phones. Living with sisters meant I was never exposed to the reality of life with a typical teenage boy.
I think that’s why my teenage son constantly surprises me. There are so many things about having a teenage boy in the house that I didn’t expect or were just plain different from how I grew up as a teenage girl. Here are 20 things, both funny and serious, that surprised me about having a teenage boy.
1. How much he enjoys playing video games
This is his favorite activity to do once he’s done with school, work or extracurriculars. I guess I thought he’d read a book or watch movies like me.
2. How much time he spends playing video games
Not only does he like video games, but he is content playing them for hours. And don’t get me started about waiting for him to wrap up a game to come to dinner!
3. How many rolls he can eat at a restaurant
He can eat a dozen rolls slathered in butter and then chase them down with a huge steak. It’s amazing.
4. How many rolls he can eat and NOT gain weight
This one’s not fair! All I have to do is look at a roll and my waist expands an inch. Yet my teenage son devours a dozen without a smidgen of fat appearing anywhere.
5. That he would find potty humor so funny for so long
I thought he’d outgrow finding bodily functions so funny. I thought wrong.
6. That he never, ever wants to talk to me about girls
Not even a little bit. I’m ready with excellent advice should he ever bring it up.
7. That I’m the embarrassing one, not his father
How is it that when my husband and I rock out to Bon Jovi it’s only me who mortifies our son? According to my husband, it’s a fact that all teenage boys find their mothers embarrassing.
8. How bad he smells after working out or playing sports
The scent is strong, odiferous and lingers on everything from sports equipment to the upholstery in the car. Yikes!
9. That he would know the name, number, college, and position of virtually every professional athlete
My son forgets to take out the trash, yet he remembers every statistic about the Detroit Lions’ 4th round draft pick in 2019.
10. That I’d be jealous of the way my teenage son talks about sports with his father
Maybe it’s because my husband, not me, also knows every statistic about the Detroit Lions’ 4th round draft pick in 2019.
11. He rarely comments about my appearance, but when he does, I take notice
Recently he told me he liked my shirt, which was an old one from the back of my closet. It’s now my favorite shirt. Because my teenage son said he liked it.
12. That I have to look up to his face
At least once a week I do a double take as I gaze up at his face, towering above mine. Wasn’t he just a baby?
13. How deep his voice sounds
Just like his height, I’m astonished that that deep voice is coming from my little boy.
14. How big his shoes are
His shoes are like aircraft carriers next to my rowboats in the mudroom. You could land an airplane squadron on those things.
15. How much he cares about his friends
He adores his friends and loves spending time with them. This one surprised me because I feel society doesn’t portray strong friendships between teenage boys.
16. That he cares about his hair
He might not use a plethora of products like I did back in the day, but he still wants his hair to look just right.
17. That he answers text messages with one word
I get Yes, No or Ok. I’m not looking for a novel, but a few more words would be appreciated.
18. That I’m so impressed by the man he is becoming
Seriously, I’m so proud of him, whether he’s holding the door open for someone, rocking a test, or just smiling at me from across the room.
19. While I’m also still surprised by the child he still is
He leaves his dishes on the counter, doesn’t pick up his clothes off the floor, and I still take him to the pediatrician.
20. That I would love him so, so much, with everything that I am.
I’m not surprised that I love him, but I am astonished by how much I could love my teenage son. It’s with everything I am–and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog Experienced Bad Mom.