The Bro Zone.

Dear Son #1, #2, & #3,

I roll my eyes and let out a very audible sigh for the 28th time today. And it’s only 8:45 am. The bickering. The constant bickering that you three partake in simply astounds me sometimes. And drives me up the wall all the time. I take a deep breath and try to decide whether I have the energy to intervene or the patience to stay away. I honestly don’t even know what you boys fight about half of the time but from what I overhear:

“That is MY Hot Wheels car that I got for my birthday three years ago!!!”

“Stop being so RUDE to me!”

“I wanted to be first to brush my teeth tonight!”

“The craft I made at school today is NOT FUNNY-LOOKING!”

“I am going to sit next to mommy for story tonight, IT’S MY TURN!!”

“I want a Lego rocket-ship-toilet too! WHY WON’T YOU HELP ME MAKE ONE??!?!”

“STOP looking at me!!”

“I wanted the orange cup this time!!! YOU had it last time!!!”

You get the idea. I understand the struggle is real but you need to understand that it’s also very annoying for mommies and induces some mommy rage that we didn’t even know we had. Depending on where I’m at on the good-parent-scale, I will sometimes intervene with—what’s that called again?—positive discipline and helpful suggestions on how we can turn this into a learning opportunity. So we will talk about it, bring emotion levels down, and discuss how we can solve the problem together as brothers who love each other. Sometimes I intervene from another floor with a simple “Knock it off boys!!!!!” and other times I will just let you be, carry on with the laundry that I was most likely folding, and [try not to] overhear.

Now if I have the patience to just let you be, a delightful thing will sometimes happen. You will all go into “The Bro Zone”, as I like to call it. “The Bro Zone” is a place where all problems are solved and you all venture into what only sounds like some sort of parallel universe filled with fun boy things like pirates and Stormtroopers. You are no longer Pieter, William and Alexander, you are “bro” or “brother” and together you tackle problems you come across without bickering. It truly is a beautiful sound to overhear as I sneak to the bathroom to claim this moment to myself, and to simply sit and listen with a slight grin.

“Brother, the ninja team is assembling, quick let’s go go!”

“Hey Bro, grab my hand! You’re going to fall in the lava!”

“Brother, get into the ship quick, the Stormtroopers are coming!”

“Bro, let’s be pirates, I’ll steer the ship and you can be captain!”

“Brother, get out the stinky-poop-booger-butt guns [boys am I right?] and blast them!”

“Bro, bro, do you hear that? I think there is a spy around here.”

“Brother, let’s get on our motorbikes and catch up to the bad guys who stole the ultimate power crystal!”

“Hey bro, have you seen my mask and cape anywhere? I need to go save someone.”

“The Bro Zone” always makes me smile because listening to the places you boys go to and the characters you become is both refreshing and reaffirming that maybe you won’t grow up to despise each other. Maybe, despite your differences you will still always need each other in some way.

Someone once told me that as mothers we grow with our children, and I’m finding that to be more and more true through every passing year. I don’t plan to grieve this however, in fact, it is something to be celebrated; after all, change is essential, growing up is crucial, and independence is the ultimate goal. As a mom this is hard as we all want the best for our kids while trying to let them figure life out on their own as well. We want to teach them as much as we know and we look to the future with fear many times. What if you go astray? What if you grow up to hate each other? What if you make some really big mistakes? Despite these fears, I am still determined to simply continue to be more present.

To look. To listen. To let you be. To overhear.

Now go back to your stinky-poop-booger-butt-guns (what the?) and keep on rocking “The Bro Zone”.

Love Mommy,


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This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Overheard at Home”.

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