Raising Boys: A Dad's Parenting Advice for Moms

/ Monday, January 21, 2013 /

As Mothers we are everything. We are the chefs, the laundry mat, the manicurist, the cleaning lady, the chauffeur, the therapist, the doctor, the physical trainer, the hair stylist, the tailor, the teacher, the comedian, and the list goes on and on and on. And although I do feel as if I can literally offer my son everything, his father has a way with him that I will never be able to provide! The way that they laugh together, sit together, play together, walk together, talk together, lay together, even the way they exchange glances... it's clear to me that a father is just as equally everything! When I am not sitting on the edge of my seat in complete anxiety as they rough house (with the keys my hand ready for the trip to the emergency room) it is one of my favorite things to sit back and watch. I absolutely loved this article from Babble! I think one of the best things you can do as a mother (and something I had to learn through experience) is learn to let go of the control and realize that you really DONT have all the answers and that Daddy knows what he's doing, in his own weird --and sometimes illogical-- way ;-) 

Enjoy the read, xo!


Raising Boys: A Dad's Parenting Advice for Moms
By: Thomas Matlack

Let’s get one thing clear from the get go: moms are generally better parents than dads. And that goes double for me. I’ve had three kids across two marriages and I am undoubtedly the weak link. My 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son trust their step-mom more than they trust me, which proves that I married well but am still getting the hang of being a dad. Most of us are.
That said, there are a few subtle nuances that I have picked up along the way as a dad that might come in handy for moms raising boys.
Ladies, here are some things to think about with your boys:
  • Think caveman. Adult women have thousands of emotional states, as do girls like my daughter. Boys, on the other hand, tend to feel one of three: mad, sad, happy. Don’t project your complex emotional life on your son. His issue of the moment might not be that complicated. He wants to eat, poop, or run. On a really bad day he wants his toy back after some other kid took it from him. He doesn’t want to stare out the window and have lengthy discussions about the meaning of life, as my eight-year-old daughter often did.
  • Watch his body not his mouth. Again, like adult men, the clues to how your son is doing will show up first in his body language. Jumping up and down with six-inch vertical leaps is the natural state of being and is good. Slumped shoulders are bad. Yelling is good. Quiet needs attention.
  • When in doubt, hug. Boys will often have a much harder time than girls verbalizing their problems. My 5-year-old son will sometimes burst out into tears after seemingly trivial events. I know there is something deeper going on, but I am not going to get it out of him, at least not at that moment (whereas my daughter would not only tell me what went wrong but in no uncertain terms why it was my fault, which was generally true enough). So the solution is physical not verbal. I spend a lot of time just hugging my boys. I usually have no idea why. But as a default cure-all, it seems to work wonders. A minute later they are all patched up and ready to rumble again. This even works pretty well with my 14-year-old, who is a 6-foot-tall linebacker at Boston College High School.
  • Yes, it really is all about poop. Girls potty train 6 to 9 months before boys, but once boys make it onto the throne, there is no stopping them. Moving their bowels is pretty much the highlight of their day (true confession: it still is for me, too), and they are going to want to talk about it. Bathroom time is a participatory sport. My five-year-old likes to head to the bathroom just as the family is sitting down to dinner, sometimes during dinner. It’s the first time he has been still long enough to realize he has to go. And he wants me to come with him, not just to assist in the wipe but to have a leisurely conversation about the status of his poop. As much as I found this inconvenient at first, now I just go with it. Quality time is quality time.
  • Batman lives forever. Boys, even at a young age, realize the importance of super powers. They want to be good and believe in the existence of ultimate good in the world. Boys sort out their identities in relation to the mythical characters they hear about. My son is obsessed with Batman. He wears a full costume, even through the airport and down Madison Avenue. What amazes me even more than his dedication to the superhero is how the guard at LaGuardia or the guy hanging off the back of a garbage truck sees him and shouts, “Batman!” My boy nods his head just slightly, acknowledging his public before moving onto the important work at hand, like going to kindergarten.
  • Pointless physical activity is perfect. My brother and I once convinced his two sons and my older boy, when they were all around the age of 10, that they really needed to build a structure out of rocks. The rocks were on one side of a beach, but the perfect spot where the structure had to be built, according to our sage advice, was on the other side of the beach. Each stone weighed between ten and thirty pounds. The boys started moving the boulders one by one, working together to lift the heaviest ones. My brother and I set up our beach chairs midway from the rock pile to building site. We read the paper most of the morning while the boys tired themselves out moving rocks and then assembling a tremendous cathedral. By lunch they were tired and happy, and my brother and I had enjoyed a peaceful morning.
  • Winning does matter, but less than you think. Boys – perhaps even more than girls – put themselves under extreme pressure to perform in school, in sports, and in social situations. They talk about it less, so the sting of failure can run even more deeply than with girls. With boys it’s important to emphasize the lessons to be gained from failure, instead of trying to win at all costs, and to emphasize the development of the whole boy. Too often in our culture, boys are pushed to become one-dimensional robots. Goodness isn’t about winning at youth soccer or having the most friends or being the smartest kid in class; it’s also about being kind. That’s something as a mom that you can particularly help your son understand.
  • Clothes matter. I know there are way more options for dressing little girls than little boys, so the tendency might be to just throw jeans and a t-shirt on your son and forget about it. But you better make sure they are the right jeans and the right t-shirt. The only consistent battle I have had with my sons is over what they wear. It matters way more to them than I ever would have imagined. They want to look cool; they want to be comfortable (pants that are tight but not too tight, warm and yet breathable). I do draw the line with clothes that have already been worn two days in a row, but I don’t discount the importance of fashion to my kindergartener.
  • Crowds, not so much. I have noticed that my daughter lights up when she enters a crowd, whether family or strangers. Mass humanity is something that gives her energy. With my boys, and, frankly, for me too, it’s the opposite. They get shy and tend to hide behind my legs. I try to protect them from these situations and not push them beyond their limitations.
  • Bedtime is sacred. Because boys are so active, it’s hard to get them to sit still. The best time of day is the ten minutes before they go to sleep. Crawl into bed with them, read books, and hold them while they fall off to sleep. If you don’t believe in God, you will once you have lain next to your overactive son while his body goes limp next to you, and he ever so faintly begins to snore.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

/ Friday, January 11, 2013 /

All my life I've never really been much of a meat eater. I'm always looking for satisfying meat-less meals and boy did I hit the lottery a couple of nights ago! The combination of flavors in this dish was just simply e-x-p-l-o-s-i-v-e. I could make this twice a week and be as happy as The Fresh Beat Band. So, I share with you my joy and an excellent meal! Make it for the ones you love and savor every bite! :-) 



  • 1- Large Sweet Potato (Peeled & Cubed)
  • 2- Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 1- Small Red Onion (finely diced)
  • 1- Jalapeno (deseeded & minced)
  • 1- 15oz Can Black Beans (Rinsed and drained)
  • 1- Avocado (Pitted & Sliced) 
  • 1- Lime (Squeezed of Juice) 
  • 1/2 TBSP- Paprika 
  • 1/2 TSP- Cumin
  • Pinch- Paprika (or more to taste) 
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste) 
  • 1 TBSP- Butter
  • 1 TBSP- Olive Oil (divided)
  • Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt) 
  • 4-8- Whole Wheat Tortillas 

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread sweet potatoes evenly across the cookie sheet. Drizzle 1/2 TBSP of Olive Oil over potatoes and generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes. Let the potatoes cook for about 20 minutes-- turning them half way to make sure they brown evenly. 
  2. While the sweet potatoes cook, mince up all your veggies and prepare toppings (avocados/sour cream/lime) Finally, heat butter and remaining olive oil over medium high heat until simmering. Once heated, add your garlic, red onion, and jalapeno and cook for about three to four minutes, until onion is translucent and the kitchen smells like heaven. *Be careful to watch the garlic, you don't want it to burn! 
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and place in an oven safe bowl. Add onion/garlic mixture to top of potatoes. Place bowl in the oven (make sure the oven is off! We are just putting the bowl in there to keep the mixture warm while we heat the beans!)
  4. Add beans to the same skillet you cooked your onion/garlic mixture in. Heat beans over medium heat-- you might need to drizzle a little olive oil on top so they are not too dry. Finally add all the spices to the beans and mix until beans are evenly coated. Add bean mixture to the rest of your stuffing mixture in the oven. Stir well. 
  5. Heat tortillas however you like them (oven, stovetop, microwave) and fill each tortilla with a healthy scooping of sweet potato/black bean mixture. Top with sour cream/yogurt and add two to three (or four if you're like me and can't get enough!) avocados. 
** Don't forget to wipe the drool off of your chin, because it will accumulate quickly from all the deliciousness! **