Have you ever been new to something and you asked a more experienced person to tell you everything you need to know to be ready for it? You know, like... "First-time mom-to-be here, tell me everything I need to know about delivery!" I see stuff like that in mom's groups all the time. Sometimes the feedback is really helpful, sometimes it’s sugar-coated or quite the opposite-terrifying; so I really tried to think- what is something I can share with the moms out there to help in this whole #boymama thing? What is some direct insight I have being a mom of 3 boys at very different ages: 10, 4, and 14 months?
Well, I am sure there’s a lot of random experiences out there I could share. Some are probably typical. Get ready for unending and unyielding loads of energy. Get ready for farts followed by laughter All.The.Time. Get ready for pee, and mud, and food everywhere. But if you have a brother or have been around boys enough, you kind of expect that already. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I am talking- something I can share that you will only really know once you experience being a Boy Mom firsthand and is something not many boy moms talk about often (otherwise we would know about it, right?).
Well, to be honest, it really just took me one day to figure out the one thing no one ever told me. Another morning of going through the motions of getting all 3 kids up and ready to leave: dressed, teeth brushed, hurried morning snacks, sometimes tears, and micro arguments and I knew what to write about. The one thing that to this day, almost 11 years after having my first boy, I still blush, giggle, and shake my head at.
Yep, you know exactly what I mean. Yes, that. A big ol’ morning stiffy popping out of those PJ pants when you pull them off to get the new undies and jeans on for the day. I mean, I knew what morning wood meant in the fact I have heard the slang term thrown around before but I never really knew what caused it or that for Pete’s sake, little boys got it!
Are you laughing or cringing right now? Is this awkward for you or funny? If it’s awkward, let’s fix that real quick. I’m going to take the sexual part out of it right away for you.
Morning Wood is otherwise known as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) and is not a sign of sexual stimulation. It can be caused by a hormonal shift in REM sleep-leaving testosterone to peak in the morning right after waking to create an erection. Or when your body and brain are at rest, less of the hormone that suppresses erections during the day is released. NPT is actually a sign of a healthy nervous system and blood flow in the body.*
Feel better now?
As a first-time mom, first-time boy mom, and a single mom with my oldest son- I was freaked the f*&k out when I first saw it! I’m talking infant years first then as a toddler, way earlier than I ever realized was possible. I was like...Woah buddy, put that thing down! It was sooo weird to me. As I said, I had heard of it before, guys joking or small talk amongst dudes, but it was nothing I witnessed at a level to feel comfortable understanding why a small, still asexual child had one going on.
I kind of just ignored when it happened again (and again) as it always went away and I figured it was fine. I didn’t have a husband or any other close boy mom friends to ask about it at the time and if I did, I don’t know how I would have really started that convo… "Hey, so does, or did your young son have a raging hard penis when you went to change his diaper in the morning too?" That’s not awkward at all.
But then I got married, had another boy who did the same thing and had a man to fill me in on it. "Hey Tim, look at this!" Of course, he answered back with "Yeah buddy!" And me with an eye roll response. It happened a couple of times during the baby stages if I caught a diaper right when he woke up. But it actually became a bigger deal as our middle child got into toddler/preschool years. If I would try to wake him and get him dressed while he was still in a deep sleep (because we were running late for something of course) he would scream and cry for me not to change his pants and that “it hurts”. I would feel so bad and not really know what to do. I’d sit impatiently (because we were late) and tell him, "it’ll be ok, it will go down". And Tim would always yell from the other room, "Just tell him to go pee! It’s because he has to pee. That’ll make it go down." And here I am, a woman with sisters, never lived with a boy growing up, thinking- this is soooo weird, he is only 3! Why is this so…erect?!
While the pain he feels isn’t funny, it is a little bit of a running joke now in our mornings. Our oldest will even yell over to tell him- “it’ll go down in a minute, just don’t think about it.” So here I sit, just a mom, amongst the morning woods, waiting for them to go down so we can get dressed for the day and out the door maybe close to being on time. As of recently, I will catch it on occasion with the littlest one now too and I just think- Man, if someone would have told me this 11 years ago, I probably would have been more prepared the first time I caught tears for trying to change some undies too early in the morning!
So you first-time boy moms out there or even experienced boy moms who know what I’m talking about- I hope you got an extra piece of behind the scenes info today that will help you maneuver around your little man’s area first thing in the mornings just a little more gentle. I hope you're a little less surprised when the thing pops out at you when you take that diaper off or those pajama bottoms. I hope next time you're with a bunch of other boy moms and they're sharing their motherly quirks, that you're not afraid to warn them of the morning wood. It’s not weird or sexual or awkward. It’s science, it’s healthy, and maybe even a little funny! Good luck and Godspeed to you boy mom.