06 Mar
Mouthing Off: Hey Little Lady, Come Take a Look at This Toy Car

If you’re like most mothers of young boys, your days are filled with confusion.

Confusion because, let’s face it, your son is not like you. Not just because he has the XY chromosome set-up instead of the more adorable XX, but he also seems to be interested in different things than you. You’ve tried and tried again to engage him in some of your favorite pastimes, hosting tea parties for stuffed animals, dressing up like fairies and playing house. (And if you’re Marinka, getting your 11-year-old son to watch The Bachelor with you.)

But through no fault of your own, Mom of a Son, the beautiful bonding just isn’t happening. In fact, for reasons unbeknownst to you, your son seems interested in playing with cars, trains, trucks, planes and other modes of transportation instead. WTF? It’s weird. And confusing.

Of course you may be scared, bewildered, and ashamed by this. You may not understand what exactly is happening, and why it’s happening to you, a mother who did absolutely nothing wrong and just wants to play Pretty Pretty Princess all day long.

But fortunately, help is available!


Yes, the fine people of Mattel, the makers of Hot Wheels, have answered the siren call of mothers who don’t know how to play with boys. These saviors in suits recently flew in some “influential mommy bloggers” (if that isn’t code for OMFG, we don’t know what is) to guide them through the mysteries of playing with cars with their sons. But first, they plied them with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. You know, because handling 2″ plastic cars is SUPER STRESSFUL FOR WOMEN!!!

“By talking to Mom, we’re extending the conversation to the actual purchaser,” Mr. Petersen [a Mattel VP] says. “I know it sounds so silly. It’s kind of like ‘Why didn’t you do that forever ago?’”

Yes, that’s the reason it sounds silly. And moms seemed to appreciate the wisdom imparted on them:

“I’m a girly girl,” Ms. Stroud (one of the possibly tipsy “influential mommy bloggers”) said. “So it’s kind of hard to understand how these little plastic machines can be so much fun, versus a Barbie that you can change her clothes, cut her hair, and do whatever you want.”

We can relate. Cars are definitely not like Barbie! They don’t even have a pretend vagina area! Panties don’t fit on them! LOL, cars are so strange! Next thing you know, we moms will be asked to DRIVE ONE! That is hilarious!

So thank you, Mattel. Thank you for knowing that as women we are incapable of playing with our male children. Thank you for understanding that we’ve been doing it all wrong for a few centuries now. Our sons will be better men because you’ve shown moms exactly how to push a little car on the ground and make this noise with their lips: Brrrrruuuuummmmmmm!

Finally, since the Mouthy Housewives have seven boys between us,  we’ve followed Mattel’s lead and broken down how to play with some traditional boy toys for our readers. It may be tough, but hang in there, Mom.

The Mouthy Housewives’ Guide To Playing With Boys

Balls! by Marinka: Most balls are round. Yes, there is The Football which is football-shaped, but we will cover that in our Advanced Ball course, offered next fall. So, most balls are round. This means they are good for rolling, throwing, bouncing and catching. If you are not ready for such active ball playing, try to ease into it by drawing a face on the ball and some hair. Name the ball. Get two big balls and some little ones and make a ball family. The Ballers. This will make ball play more fun for everyone. Or at least you. Your son is probably crying for some other unrelated reason.

Sticks! by Wendi: Sticks are from trees. (Trees are the big things that grow in the ground. The singing birds in “Cinderella” probably lived in one.) Sticks can be used to hit, poke and whack things. They can also be used as “light sabers” which is something from movie called “Star Wars.” Moms may recognize the shape of a stick because it’s similar to the wooden spoons they use in the kitchen to stir cake mix. To play with a stick, simply hold it in your hand and yell, “ARGH!! I HAVE A STICK!”

Thomas and Friends! by Karen: Playing with Thomas trains will suck the life out of you, and the only way you’re going to get through it is with alcohol. First, you’ll have to suffer through hours of watching the videos, because all your son will want to do is recreate what goes down in them because boys don’t know how to make shit up. Drink every time Sir Topham Hatt tells Edward he needs to hurry down to the quarry because of some stupid shit one of the other trains got into. Drink every time your toddler says Percy and it sounds like “pussy.” Drink every time you realize that the money you spent on that fucking table (you bought a table. for trains.), plus the tracks and trains could have been spent on at least one pair of Louboutins. Fight with your son because you want to fucking be Thomas JUST ONCE. Maybe you should stop drinking.

Action Figures! by Kristine: Action figures, ladies, are miniature-sized people that you use in a game that psychologists and physicists call “imaginative play.” They are often sculpted closely after the male form with close attention paid to bulging groins, disproportionate muscles, and powerful jaw lines. Boys will place these superior hunks of plastic in their hands and say things like “I will make more money than you for doing the same work!” and “My gender is intrinsically superior to my female counterparts!” Note:  it is not recommended that you leave action figures laying around with Barbies or other female dolls, as they may begin to multiply by means of coital osmosis.

Play Tools! by Kelcey: These are like real tools but much lighter and you can’t actually use them to fix anything. Not that you’ve ever used a tool to fix anything anyway! A gal would never get involved in that kind of man’s work in fear of chipping one of her acrylic tips. Play tools are used by young boys at their plastic workbench. So mom, don’t be shy! Head on over to the workbench and pretend that your food processor needs fixing. Smile appreciatively as your son gets to work. You two are really bonding now. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing his play tool belt as an accessory for nights out on the town. Give yourself a high five. You’ve got this boy thing down!

image source: Mattel

38 Responses to “Mouthing Off: Hey Little Lady, Come Take a Look at This Toy Car”


Comment by tracy@sellabitmum.

Oh my hell. I don’t even know what to say.


Comment by Listen! I Have Big News!.

[…] Don’t miss today’s Mouthy Housewives post. Not only are we Mouthing Off about Mattel treating mothers like morons, but we’re also giving […]


Comment by Adrienne.

This is all so confusing and upsetting. My daughter and I may have to spend the entire day dressing up in tutus and braiding our hair until I am calm again.

To think we could play with boys! Oh, the humanity!

Elizabeth@Table4Five Reply:

Right? Because psychology shows that boys play THIS way and girls play THAT way, therefore influential Mom bloggers must spread the word that there’s help available. I’m so glad my sons made it to 16 and 14 despite my complete ignorance at why it’s fun to make the cars smash into each other.


Comment by Becky.

As a mother of two boys, I can’t thank Mattel enough for helping me understand what I’ve been doing wrong for the last 11 and almost 10 years, respectively. Perhaps I will craft a thank you note to on an Always Maxi pad and mail it to the genius execs they hire.

Elizabeth@Table4Five Reply:

Ooh, can I help you write it?

“Dear Mattel,

When the ultrasound tech told me it was a boy, I was in a complete panic. I didn’t know how to play with boys! What the heck was I supposed to do the first time he took an empty paper towel tube and pretended it was a sword? Was I supposed to speak the magic boy code word to turn my paper towel tube into a sword too? What if my vagina prevented it?


Comment by Fairly Odd Mother.

I’ll add: Toy Weapons: Oh, you say your home will be a place of peace, and then one day your son will turn his drinking straw into a light saber, or the remote into an automatic rifle. Next thing you know you will have a basket full of Nerf guns, “real” light sabers, pretend ninja katanas, and even a toy chain saw (for those times you want to play “massacre”). Don’t worry, this is all “Boy Play”, so let him chase you through the house, shooting you with little Nerf bullets. It’s exercise! Though if your son wants to sleep with his toy rifle, you may want to get used to sleeping with the door locked.

Elizabeth@Table4Five Reply:

Yes! I actually said to my husband, “no pretend guns as toys, okay?” I honestly had no idea that one day while in the daycare during our MOPS meeting, my angelic boys would stack a bunch of interlocking blocks together until sure enough, they had something vaguely gun-shaped. They had never been shown a gun, not even a water gun at that point, but they knew just how to stack those blocks until they could aim them at each other and go “pew! pew!”

Obviously, my vagina kept me from understanding the appeal.

kim Reply:

Fairly Odd Mother nailed it, as did this post.

Nicole Reply:

I have got to get into blogging (e.g influential mommy blogging) again. I really really want to join the party where they put you in a fancy hotel room, ply you with drinks and then bust out all the toy weapons.


Comment by Elizabeth@Table4Five.

I. Am. DYING at this post! I about lost my bladder control at “ARGH!! I AM A STICK!!”

I have two sons and sure, I wasn’t as interested in turning everything in the house into a pretend weapon, or making the matchbox cars crash into each other over and over, but we somehow managed to muddle through despite my ignorance.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago addressed to Tonka and asking why their slogan was “trucks for boys”. My daughter loved her brothers hand me down trucks, because she could fill them up with My Little Ponies and then bam, party pony bus!

SO MUCH WRONG with inviting bloggers to come learn how to play, I need my own post about it now 🙂


Comment by Hannah.

Mom of three boys here and is this for real, Mattel? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK OMG. Are they also going to call the three ‘influential daddy bloggers’ and guide them through the intricacies of playing with Barbies? (“Don’t cut the hair, dads, it won’t grow back.”)

I’m torn between laughing my head off and weeping for the species.

Nicole Reply:

What are you talking about? Dads are for working and playing catch (See BALLs, above)

Leah Reply:

I agree Hannah! I would much rather smash cars together and shoot Nerf guns than play Barbies or My Little Ponies. My husband did better playing with the girl stuff with our daughter. I have more fun with the boy toys.


Comment by bitsy.

Where was all this help when my boy was young?


Comment by Megan.

You can also drink during Thomas every time George Carlin says something that makes him sound like a pedophile.


Comment by Muffintopmommy.

The takeaway from this shouldn’t be me stomping my feet because I wasn’t invited for mimosas by Mattel? Because I have three boys and major car/Thomas the train cred. Somehow, I muddle through, and have even touched a jock strap! I’m waiting for Under Armour to call me….


Comment by Amanda.

Thank goodness I only have daughters. I could never hang as a mom of a son.


Comment by Suebob.

The article is good, but the commenters make it 10x better.


Comment by Stephanie.

Wow. Will the Lego tutorial coed at least? I can’t feel good about myself unless a man’s around to approve of my appearance.


Comment by joeinvegas.

So, does this mean that none of you were invited and so are bitter and writing about it?
Come on over to my place, I’ll pull out my sons old toys and server margaritas.

Karen Reply:

Or, I could just go to my parents house and play with the Hot Wheels I had as a kid, even though I was one of two girls. WHAT WERE MY PARENTS THINKING? Even weirder, my sister and I played with each other or on our own, not with our parents. Life was cray-cray back in the olden days.


Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

My oldest two, a boy and a girl, used to play with Barbies together. She would take the clothes on and off and he would pretend they were in a car crash and whack them together until the heads fell off. Everyone was happy.

Myself, as the mother of 6 children? I have NEVER, EVER played with my kids and their toys. The toys are for the KIDS to play with so I can get something done around here. Duh.


Comment by junerain.

this is all so confusing because my first is a girl..well im pretty sure i mean thats what the dr said and she really seems to like sparkls and nailpolish now and pink somuch pink! but our first three years were full of dinosaurs, cars, thomas and tools…she hated the color pink and to this day hates barbie…what does that mean? Maybe the men at matel can clear this up for me?


Comment by Nicole.

It’s a joke, right? right?


Comment by Vikki.

My daughter has been playing with all of the hot wheels I had as a young girl! I had no idea that I was doing this all wrong! I will now take them away from her and force them on my disinterested son.


Comment by Kristin @ What She Said.

I’m the mom of a girl and am already well-versed in all things Thomas. So much so that I even wrote my own post on the subject called The Official Thomas & Friends Drinking Game. Because, yes… alcohol is key. To date, it’s my most popular post of all time – I figure that speaks volumes: http://www.saidkristin.com/2012/08/the-official-thomas-and-friends-drinking-game/

I also figure this means I’m eligible for my very own manchild – no training necessary. Too bad my husband and I are one and done. Oh well.

P.S. Girls also just want to recreate everything that happens in the videos. Oh, the indignity! (As Gordon would say.)


Comment by dusty earth mother.

I am dying. DYING. From laughter/shame.


Comment by Cholie.

Read this on Huffington, and was dying. New fan. However did I raise my 18 year old son alone without Mattel? Now I know I probably completly messed him up! My 8 year old will be ok though….phew!


Comment by EStand.

Love it!! Saw your post on Huffington Post and it really made me laugh. Thanks!

EStand Reply:

Just another thought… My two year old girl likes fire trucks, and cars, and trains. Is she really a boy and I don’t know it? Were we supposed to have little outfits made for these things and play tea party instead of driving them around our rug race track/train track?

Ha ha, her grandma wanted to know if she wanted princesses or a doll house for Christmas. When my reply was.. how about a fire station- she is really into fire trucks? She got mad at me!


Comment by mike.

You rock! Read on HP and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait for the advanced ball course in the fall but I hope you’ll also cover dolls. For dads, they’re just so confusing! Can you move their arms? Their legs? Do they dress themselves? How do you make them pretend to speak? I just don’t understand ….

Great freaking post!


Comment by Dvega.

Bloody Thomas. I had friends who knew all the cars names. I vowed not to be that mom. Damn sons making me learn all the trains names so I can actually understand what they are talking about!


Comment by LCR.

Best damn post I’ve read in months.


Comment by The Rallyverse Blog.

[…] The Mouthy Housewives: Hey Little Lady, Come Take a Look at This Toy Car […]


Comment by Ninja Mom.

Next up: Penises. A hands-on session for moms who don’t have one.

Fuck you, Mattel.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

LOVE this. My son had Thomas, My Little Ponies, and Polly Pockets. I knew Thomas’friends names. Never thought to make a drinking games out of it, thats genius!


Comment by Roshni.

I just want to sulk because I didn’t get any mimosas!!

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