Why we can’t have nice things: A Boy Mom Reality

“Everything will be ruined.” It isn’t a doomsday prediction. It’s the first firm, direct wisdom a fellow Mother of Boys gave me many years ago and a core reason why you hear a lot of parents say “we can’t have nice things.” It was a true fore-warning about life with high energy, all-in, rambunctious boys.  I remember that mom telling me about the ottoman she had just bought, which opened up to double as a storage bin, and which her three boys promptly destroyed by getting inside and getting out over and over until the flip-top hinge broke.

I’m twelve years into being a M.O.B. now, and those words ring true daily. Baseboards? Damaged.
Walls? Drilled into with an electric toothbrush. (I would not have predicted that one)
Couch? Has a spring sticking out of it.
Grandma’s vase? Cracked.
Toilet? Clogged.

Want some good laughs? Ask a M.O.B. about this topic. No time for that? No worries. I asked them for you in a survey of over 100 M.O.B.s, and I am LOLing as I type up these responses to share with you. Can girl-moms relate to this, too? I bet some can, but these examples come right from boymom experiences and demonstrate some of the known stereotypes of boys.

Everything will be ruined -- like this couch, for example.

Some of my favorite tales of ruin:


These are the head-nod items that we’re all familiar with and sort of even expect to be ruined:

  • picture frame
  • sunglasses
  • toys
  • couch
  • Grandma’s nightstand lamps, which of course withstood 70 years in her house and were destroyed when we brought them to my house of boys
  • a glass cake platter
  • train tables, hockey tables
  • toy helicopter . . . not quite broken, but dismantled, and used for parts
  • and of course . . . windows


These aren’t necessarily high on the list of costly damage, but well thought-out and quite creative.

  • A vase on the bottom shelf at the grocery store, within easy reach of a child’s kick, especially when he pretended it was a soccer ball “Clean-up in aisle 10”
  • A closet door . . . a white one to be exact . . . covered in original art a la blue sharpie
  • And my favorite: A salt shaker . . . broken to get the salt out . . . so that a toy dump truck could drive through the pile of crystals.
Boymomlife is an adventure, complete with household objects being ruined with high energy and joys of destruction.


Curious kids. Determined kids. Future engineers? It was bound to happen.

  • Dismantled vacuum
  • Flashlights. So many flashlights.
  • Flat screen TV.
  • The light switch. I wasn’t expecting that one.


This category steps it up a bit from the usual. More true damage. More expensive fixes.

  • Walls. Written on, carved, busted through.
  • The drop ceiling.
  • Eggs. On the hallway carpet. Cracked, broken, spread around, mushed in.
  • Landscaping. Destroyed by bb guns.
  • A beautiful dining room sideboard.
  • The windowsill. Chipped away with a pocket knife.
  • Aerobed(s). Yes, multiple. Used as indoor bouncy houses.
  • And the most common answer of all: THE TOILET. I got a lot of toilet stories. From shooting hoops with toilet paper rolls and then flushing when one brand new roll landed in the toilet, to flushing paint brushes and paper to see what would happen, there’s a lot of toilet stuff going on. And beware of kids flushing toothbrushes . . . which make toilets flush strangely . . . which requires a lot of professional exploration and an entirely new toilet. These are expensive stories!


I really didn’t see these coming.

  • Does flooding the garden by leaving the hose on for 24 hours count? I’d say so.
  • The French doors under the deck . . . shattered because the boys couldn’t resist throwing rocks over the deck railing.
  • A towel bar in bathroom . . . which was being used for gymnastics.
  • An 8ft Christmas tree, along with all of its ornaments.
  • An entire beanbag, busted and emptied in the playroom.
  • A box of tampons, whose destruction was followed by placing the tampons all around the house like Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs.
  • And the biggest, loudest, cringiest “OMG” goes to the boymom who said the most unexpected thing her boys have broken was HER NOSE.

I can’t even imagine. Sort of like the M.O.B.s who replied, “I don’t think they’ve broken anything yet . . . they must be hiding it well.” Wait and see . . . and then come back here and tell us your stories.

Stay strong, M.O.B.s, like the one who said, “Nothing is unexpected. We stopped having nice things. We can’t have nice things. Not now, anyway.”
Buy cheap decor and get the furniture protection plan. We’ve got this.

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  1. Oh girl! I almost moved out of my own house last night over this!! I bought my house in 2016, built in 1895 its a old square farmhouse dropped in the middle of a rural town in central pa. I love it the old wood work the beautiful hard, original wood floors, gorgeous wood French doors between the living and dining room. Know our family has grown and we have 6 children 3 boys, 3 girls and one on the way!! And my beautiful farm house is now a very comfortably lived in home. Which makes me want too cry! Its hard with little ones and so many little ones all 12 years and under we have fun but it comes at a cost of our surroundings lol. Everything gets broken lol I’ve learned to grin and bare it but yesterday I found a wood door panel broken, a 120yr old wood for panel and no one knew what happened!! (Of course🤦‍♀️) a house full of people and no one seen a thing.. Thanks for your post it helped me feel like it’s not so uncommon to feel defeated when it comes to the broken, lost it down right messiness of it all!

    1. Karen Lesh says:

      It sounds like your house is full of LOVE!!!! But yes, I hear you . . . today is one of those days I want to move out!

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