02/19/2014 10:52 am ET Updated Apr 21, 2014

4 Ways Having a Son Has Helped Me to Better Understand My Husband

Melissa Chapman

I've been married for 15 years and with my husband for 17 years. I met him when I was 23 years old, and while I truly believed I knew all there was to know about men, the bottom line is I knew NOTHING. I mean, how could I possibly, truly understand what it feels like to think and be a man -- I'm a woman! I don't own those parts, I'm not privy to that psyche, I simply don't have INSIDER access to what goes on in the innermost workings of his head. Well, all that changed (quite unexpectedly, I might add) when I gave birth to a member of the opposite sex.

It was, at least for me, a gradual reawakening to the other half of our species. It was a chance to watch (and take notes) on how this member of the male tribe EVOLVED. And yes, it has explained to me in both large and small ways what goes on inside the mind of my husband. Having my son was akin to getting a courtside seat to observing why, when I tell my husband to do something, 20 minutes later, it is still not done and he says he never heard me tell him to do it in the first place (something my son says and does all the time).

The following four things my son has taught me about the male species (and more specifically, my husband) have actually allowed me to take a step back and breathe, rather than automatically go on the offensive each time we disagree. I have learned to very carefully pick my battles, because now I am FINALLY beginning to understand what makes these Men I live with tick.

1. Boys, like men, CANNOT multitask. If I ask my son a question while he is doing ANYTHING -- watching TV, brushing his teeth, staring into space and thinking about something -- he will likely ignore me (as will my husband). Scratch that. He won't ignore me, he just won't hear me. Really, he won't hear anything I say because he can ONLY focus on one thing at a time (much like my husband). Whereas I can be on the phone, computer, cleaning my dog's ears and braiding my daughter's hair and can STILL answer my son or husband when they ask me "WHERE ARE MY SHOES?" Men -- much like my son and husband -- are truly incapable of doing more than one thing at a time. So I've learned to ask for something when i have their COMPLETE attention instead of screaming like a banshee. This knowledge has likely added years to my life.

2. Boys, like men, can wear the same pair of pants for weeks.
I thought my husband was the only person who could wear a pair of jeans until they simply faded away. And then I met my son, who can wear the same pair of pants for days and sees no problem or issue with the fact that he is WEARING THE SAME DIRTY PANTS FOR DAYS.

3. Boys, like men, take their time in the bathroom. I thought there was NO ONE who could sit in the bathroom longer than my husband. Well, my son has proven he has the chops to take down his father's record. We are at the point in our relationship where he demands his privacy and of course I am more than happy to oblige, but after 30 minutes in the bathroom, I worry he has fallen down a rabbit hole. Much like my husband, I will call in and say, Are you OK? and he will say I'm FINE.

4. Boys, like men, can take your breath away when you least expect it and remind you how utterly invested you are in them. My son can just look at me or take my hand and tell me, "Mommy I really love you," and everything else -- like the fact that he lost eight water bottles during camp -- can just melt away. For those moments in time, he has me locked in; I am his completely, utterly and so fully, his mom, his greatest ally and his number one fan. And yes, it's true, my husband has this very same power over me.

This post originally appeared on The Staten Island Family