There are numerous articles out there that tell us not to enforce gender stereotypes upon our children.  Offer them gender neutral toys.  Let boys wear pink and girls dress as superheros.  It’s fine if a boy wants to play with a doll, and a girl wants to run around with a transformer.  I agree with all this.  I am all for equality. But…


I am a mum of two boys.  They delight me, they make me laugh, they drive me crazy, and they give me the best cuddles.  But in a house full of testosterone I am outnumbered, and more often than not perplexed by these strange species of creatures so different to me.


Girls and boys are fundamentally different.  It’s in there make-up.  I started noticing the differences when the big one was tiny.  I would watch the baby girls at toddler groups, happy and content to sit on their mums knees.   I would have had more luck holding onto an eel, as my son wriggled himself free from my lap, preferring to sit on the floor and eat random raisins that had been there for I don’t know how long (at least I hope it was raisins).


I don’t believe that  girls are easier.  We all have are parenting challenges regardless of gender. But despite not allowing my son to have toy guns he turns everything he plays with into a weapon.  Despite my numerous attempts to get him to watch Frozen with me, he firmly clamps his hands over his ears and shouts “Arrrrgghhhhh” whenever I burst into a rendition of ‘Let it go’. Although that my say more about my singing than his gender preferences.


I see the girls in the playground at school singing, dancing and quietly sat talking.  My son and his peers prefer to run around shouting things like “poo-head” really loudly.


So here are my 5 Difference between the men in my life, and me:


Living With Boys


Please note that if you are not a fan of sweeping gender stereotypes you might want to look away now.  If you are up for a bit of lighthearted fun, then please continue reading.


1 Toilet Habits

I will never ever understand why it takes the husband a minimum of 20 minutes to drop the kids off at the pool, so to speak.  Do you know what I can do alone in the bathroom in 20 minutes?  I could shower, wash my hair, condition my hair, condition it again because I will forget whether I have already done it, shave both legs and at least one armpit, give the basin and toilet a quick scrub, and yes, have a poo.


Alarmingly the smaller males in my house are showing the early signs of the 20 minute poo. The big one will state that he is going for ‘a poo and a think’ and off he will disappear for 10 minutes.  The only difference between him and the husband (apart from keeping the door wide open) is that the big one does not have the ability to keep a single thought to himself. They are all said out loud, loudly for all to hear, including the running commentary of his bowel movements.  

The little one is still in nappies, but already insists on ‘reading’ a book whilst having his derriere wiped clean.  I can only apologise to all future WAGS.


2 Farting

(I know, this is a really high brow post)  I am the only person in my house that doesn’t find farting funny.  And when I say funny, I mean can’t-breathe-from-laughing-so-hard kind of funny.


Only the other day we were having dinner when the little one let rip in his high chair, much to his own amusement, which in turn made the big one laugh.  No sooner had the laughter subsided the big one belched.  He did say pardon, but I’m not sure it counts when you can barely get the words out because you are laughing so hard.  Seriously, I live in a zoo. And if you think that farts in a bath don’t smell, you are wrong. *Gags.


3 Competition

I’m a fan of leisurely pursuits.  Reading, movies, gentle strolls.  But now? Everything in my life appears to be a race.  First one upstairs is the winner. Last one to get their coat on smells like poo. 


My boys have a fiercely competitive nature.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I hope it will get them far in life.  The problem is they are really bad losers. “I’m never going to talk to you again” door slamming and tears, kind of bad losers.  And me?  I’m the one stuck in the middle trying to smooth things over, and reason with small people incapable of logic.  An FA cup referee has an easier job.


4 Colours

The husband insists there are only 5 colours.  Red, yellow, blue, green, black and white. Occasionally he will admit to purple.  The rest are all colours females have made up to confuse the male species.  It is hopeless to send him looking for something that has a colour in the description.  We have had actual arguments over a blue tie.  It’s teal.


At three years old I could have dressed the big one in a pink tu-tu and he couldn’t have cared less.  At six years old he believes pink is evil and anything remotely pink should be destroyed. Unless it’s cake.  Pink cakes are fine.


5 Wheels

There are a lot of things in my house with wheels on.  Cars are a huge part of the boys life. The little one’s favourite pass time is racing cars up and down our hallway.  Lightning McQueen is part of our family.  At three years old the big one could walk down the road and tell you the make of every car.  He knows relatives by what car they drive.  I struggle to remember what car I drive myself.  


I can tell you what colour it is though.


Living With Boys

Two of the other species I live with.


I guess life would be boring if we were all the same.


Do members of the opposite sex confuse you?  Are you outnumbered and out witted as a result in your household?


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Claire Kirby

24 Comments on Living With Boys

  1. Having grown up with six brothers and all male cousins I can so relate to this. I have one of each and I can definitely tell you no matter how gender neutral we go most of the time boys will pick boy things and girls will pick girl things without outside influences. That’s how the stereotype of boy and girl toys happened in the first place. Lovely post. So true. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  2. I agree – I think that there actually do tend to be generalised differences between the way that girls play and interact and the way that boys do, however much you discourage it. I think there are plenty of exceptions, but in general terms you can see that there is a reason gender stereotypes exist – there is some truth to it. I have had a half written post on this for months. May write the rest of it one day!

    I don’t have any boys myself, but my experience of men tends to also be that I don’t think they see as many colours! I don’t know if that is through actually not seeing so many distinct colours, or seeing them but not caring & lumping them together, though! That said, whilst I have had many colour related disputes with men, it is probably in fact not as many as I have had with my mother, who I am sure does not see the same colours as I do half the time! #fridayfrolics

  3. I’m not outnumbered here… Hubby is and with 2 females cats as well! Our little girl is 6 and is already showing signs of thinking boys ‘stink’ as she tuts about them in conversations with us at the tea table! Thanks for hosting #FridayFrolics

  4. I agree with not gender stereotyping to a certain extent. Like of course boys should he able to play with dolls and girls trains etc, but yep you will always get those that take it too far. I really enjoyed this post and thought it was funny and dare I say it – very true. Although I have to admit that my two year old daughter farts and finds it absolutely hilarious. I have no idea why. She certainly hasn’t got finding farts funny from me. Also, just because I’m a very curious person, I’m dying to know which one leaves the bathroom door open? Ha ha 😉

  5. Having one of each, those gender stereotypes regularly amuse me. My son is also absolutely obsessed with anything with wheels and my daughter doesn’t stop pirouetting and imagining she is a Disney princess. What is with that?
    I loved this post. And I could also read War and Peace in the time it takes my husband to do a poo.

  6. He he. I have two boys, aged 3 and just 7 months. My 3 year old likes prams and pretty colours and not a problem for him to join in with girly things – esp at my sister’s as she has 3 girls. He used to like Frozen but now although he will quite happily sing along to the CD in my car, he won’t watch it on DVD. He’s now more into Thunderbirds and dinosaurs. All good fun. Hopefully I won’t be too outnumbered by boy things in the future! 🙂

  7. I like your little warning about looking away if you feel strongly about gender stereotypes!! I’ve read a few very light hearted posts on Selfish Mother recently about gender differences, and of course the gender equality mafia swept in leaving a trail of unnecessary comments in their wake, and generally needing to lighten the heck up!! I’ve always let my boys play with what they want to, and they’ve occasionally pushed a doll around in the pushchair, but mainly have crashed around with trucks, cars, makeshift batman capes, and like yours, turned everything into a weapon!! I keep trying to get them to watch frozen, because I actually want to see it! But we’ve never got further than the first 10 minutes before I’m met with requests for blaze and the monster machines or Cars!
    I’m hoping they might share my love of dancing when they’re older… We will see!! They’ll probably choose kick boxing instead!!

  8. I thank God that he gave me two girls! From my observations of friends, Boys are definitely harder…Until girls become teenagers and then girls…Yikes!

    ‘drop the kids off at the pool’ – Lol! That’s a new one on me!

    Very funny article #FridayFrolics

  9. I’m with the – more similarities than differences camp too. Nice to hear the funny things your kids get up to though. My son is pretty much in to everything, cars and dollies, climbing and singing. Not too much farting yet but he is only 2 and a bit 😉

  10. Oh my god boys and girls are SO DIFFERENT!!! I have 2 girls and number 2 is seriously challenging but bioys are so much more physical!! Like you said…they like to charge around the playground while girls sing and dance and colour. Hopefully the biys will be super easy teenagers and I will have horrible hormonal girls!! xx

  11. Farts in the bath definitely do smell. These are wise and sobering words … NC is only 7 months and NG is a girl so I have yet, really, to comprehend what it’s going to be like. But he sure is wriggly. Lovely post that made me giggle as I gulp my wine at the end of a rather exhausting week … #FridayFrolics

  12. I can relate to all of them with just one son but absolutely 1, 3 and 5!! I ask my husband now ‘functional or leisure?’ so I know whether he’ll be ten minutes (still too long!) or half an hour (baffling). Thanks for hosting #fridayfrolics

  13. This really made me laugh, although I’m afraid as a sociology graduate I’m in the camp that for the most part gender differences are socialised (more by wider society rather than parents), usually starting from birth! Sorry to be a bore. In my extended family the theory seems to be that the girls are actually worse to parent than the boys and they ALL love talking about poo and farts. Including the adults…also farts in the bath smell WORSE I think!!! Good to be back at #FridayFrolics, I finally wrote a mildly amusing post haha.

  14. What is with the poo talk??? All my son wants to say is poo head, toilet and wee. And the absolute shriek of delight that accompanies this talk…uugghh! #fridayfrolics

  15. Toilet humour really really does seem to be a boy thing! But having had both a boy and a girl I can tell you that the competitive thing is sibling related – not gender driven! My 3 yr old girl demands that I help her put her clothes on the moment she wakes up so that she can “beat Archie” at getting dressed. I’m hoping that she calms down a bit but I fear that this is just the start!

  16. Ah yes, living with boys. I have one girl and three boys so still quite outnumbered here.

    My daughter is actually the most competitive of the children, but she is the eldest as well. They do get so excited about burbs and trumps though and my daughter always says things smell of boys lol.


  17. I find the whole idea of fundamental differences between girls and boys really difficult, because I believe that there are very few differences as the outset, but that these are amplified throughout childhood, often unintentionally, by society etc. I’ve read a few books on the subject which fit this view. What’s shocking though is how quickly it seems to manifest itself. As you say, clearly even very young children often show quite big differences!

  18. Totally outnumbered here too (but never outgunned). In my house there is one husband, two sons and two male cats. So, of course, the bathroom is pink and glittery (I don’t even like pink that much, to be honest with you) and most of the decor is either floral or pastel or a mixture of the two. Yes, I’m over-compensating. No, I don’t give a shit whether the husband and sons (or the cats) like it or not. It’s funny being the only female in the household, and I often wonder what it would be like to have a daihhter. But since we decided to stick at two, I will never know. I probably would have struggled with any overt girliness!

  19. HaHAAA! NW also thinks there are only 5 colours. One of them is grey which is his default choice if he doesn’t know what to choose. Hence we have a lot of grey things in our house: grey bin, grey table, grey rug. Oh, and grey underwear (but that’s just an inevitable result of having children and being too busy to shop). Great post!

  20. Oh my God!!! I was having a conversation with a friend about the essential differences between boys and girls (at the toddler and pre-school level) just this evening… I agree 100 per cent. Even I’ve noticed it at playgroups since Little Man was a baby… the girls will play with the kitchen, making tea for mummy (though my son does it too, and I find it so cute) or paint or read, while the little boys would be screaming and running around the room, or banging cars into one another!!! It’s just how it is!!!

    Loved this post. My 2,5 year-old also proudly announces ‘I’ve done a farty!!!’ and eats, drinks, breathes, lives cars. Lightning McQueen is a house guest at ours too;) A lovely read!

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