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20 Things I Learned About Men By Raising One

photo courtesy: Goodenoughmother.com

Years ago, when I was dating (and dinosaurs still roamed the earth), I read a book about the sexes and their communication styles. The author described them as being from two different planets. At the time I thought it was a bunch of hooey; of course now it’s almost gospel to me, having seen it up close and personal.

No it wasn’t being married nearly 19 years that did it; no it wasn’t my first boyfriend, so significant in my life’s timeline that I can’t remember his name. It was neither of those things. It’s raising the man-child named Cole.

Cole is my second born and my only son. In the beginning we were simpatico; we had the same sense of humor, an easy communication, and I think the Elektra complex was going strong for a while there (look it up). But the boy is becoming a man and now, at 14, we don’t see eye-to-eye like we once did. We squabble a bit more as he struggles for independence, and he and his father, who used to struggle to find common ground, now bond over things I couldn’t care any less about, like fast cars and fried food.

In watching those changes, some more subtle than others,  I had access to the other team’s playbook and it (he) was living right down the hall. Some of you might think this is an overly-simplistic, maybe even sexist post; that is not the intent. It’s just that I feel like I’ve uncovered all of those things that confounded me as a teen (like, why doesn’t he call?) and some that are still perplexing (like, why hasn’t he called?). So I’m on a mission to share with the world the 20 things I learned about men by raising one.


  • They can be quite creative 1 of 20
    They can be quite creative
    My son used the cut off sleeves of a t-shirt for a ninja costume. While he scared the crap out of me, his father was quite impressed. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They’re affectionate when they want to be 2 of 20
    They're affectionate when they want to be
    It's different for the different women in their lives. I'm pretty sure my son did not lick the arm of his girlfriend. I'm also positive this move was designed to repulse his sister. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They tend not to hold grudges 3 of 20
    They tend not to hold grudges
    I have a daughter and a son. She and I tend to ruminate over a matter where my husband and son, get it, work it out, and move on. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They want to protect 4 of 20
    They want to protect
    Cole and I took a trip to California a year ago. He insisted on putting his arm around my shoulder even though he was several inches shorter than me. I stooped down and let him protect me. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • The way to their hearts is through their stomachs 5 of 20
    The way to their hearts is through their stomachs
    By way of a serious sweet tooth. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They can sleep anywhere 6 of 20
    They can sleep anywhere
    Yeah, I'm jealous. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • Food: They like it simple, cheap and…. 7 of 20
    Food: They like it simple, cheap and....
    copious amounts of it. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They’re not big at reading maps 8 of 20
    They're not big at reading maps
    Whether avenues by car or apple orchards by foot, they're not fond of reading maps. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They dress for comfort 9 of 20
    They dress for comfort
    And take their pants off as soon as they walk in the door. Or is that just my guys? photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They are men of few words 10 of 20
    They are men of few words
    Especially when the TV is on. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They want to hang with their friends 11 of 20
    They want to hang with their friends
    And don't want you to pull them away from that. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They want to come to the rescue 12 of 20
    They want to come to the rescue
    I have learned to let them. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They’re not big on decor 13 of 20
    They're not big on decor
    As you can see, the lack of a pillow case is not keep my son from his much-needed Zzzzz's. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They like to shoot stuff 14 of 20
    They like to shoot stuff
    And watch stuff blow up and go bang. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They love video games… why? 15 of 20
    They love video games... why?
    Ummm, see previous slide. photo credit: AnaleaGwendolyn
  • They have amazing hearts 16 of 20
    They have amazing hearts
    My son made this for breakfast for me last summer. Yes, it tasted as it looks, but it was made with love. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They not big on talking on the phone 17 of 20
    They not big on talking on the phone
    I still remember waiting by the phone for John whatever-is-name was to call me. It happened once in the 3 days we were going steady. photo credit:psd
  • They have laser-like focus 18 of 20
    They have laser-like focus
    Which means, they're not great multi-taskers, also backed up by science. I just make sure the chores are meted out in serial fashion. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • They’re not big on PDA 19 of 20
    They're not big on PDA
    And both of them are completely flummoxed should there be tears during a conversation. photo credit: Rene Syler
  • Sometimes they just don’t hear 20 of 20
    Sometimes they just don't hear
    Ah.... again, backed up by science. A British study found that though men hear us, their brains actually hear our voices as music first! photo credit: Rene Syler

Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.

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