Patricia Heaton Takes On Sons’ Hygiene

05/14/2010 at 08:00 AM ET
Roger Karnbad/Celebrity

A veteran mom of four boys, Patricia Heaton has seen — and smelled — it all when it comes to raising her sons.

“They literally come up to me and say, ‘Do I need to shower?’ And then I have to smell their armpits,” she tells iVillage.

For now, Heaton is the only one keeping their hygiene in check. Following a “flutter of activity” when her oldest son Samuel David, now 16, entered high school, The Middle star says her boys have shown little interest in dating.

“They … all tried it, but it wasn’t very much fun. So now they don’t have girlfriends anymore,” she explains. “Because they play music, video games, and blast BB guns and stuff — so that’s kind of their thing.”

Unfortunately, Samuel, John Basil, 15, Joseph Charles, 13, and Daniel Patrick, 11, have taken the same lackadaisical approach to school, with Heaton noting her sons “don’t seem to give a crap” about their grades.

“They cannot think of any reason why you should work any harder than getting a ‘C.’ Why should you have to write in complete sentences? Why should you even have to answer questions at all?” the actress, 52, exclaims.

“They’ll say, ‘Mom, I know it, why do I have to say it?’ ‘Well, nobody knows you know it!'”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 17 comments

Sherron on

Has Patricia Heaton paid the money to her maid yet that she owes her? With her as an. Example no wonder the boys don’t do well in school!

Lacey on

I love her! She is so real. She not bragging that one boy speaks 3 languages, one valedictorian and one is training in hopes of being an Olympian. She’s normal and her boys are very normal. My brother played football and after practice and games he would hug me and ask if he needed a shower.

Diva on

BOYS lol. My son is only 7 and I am seeing these traits. Rushing thru homework and dinner to get back to video games, not caring about school. I can only imagine having 4 boys all pubescent! Bless her soul!

steph on

she always seemed so down to earth. I like her and her boys seem like normal kids instead of kids of celebs.

Sam on

BB guns? Why? Nothing good comes of that.

Sarah on

Why can’t her sons smell their own armpits? Eewww.

Diva on

Why are so many people being harsh? So pubescent boys cant play with BB guns? They are BOYS. Mine is 7 and has a pellet gun. I know teen boys who play with REAL guns (thier dads take them shooting). Also, boys can be gross, especially when they are that age, and brothers. My kid is an only child but when he gets around his buddies all they talk about are farts. Its called being goofy/silly and normal. Your only a kid once!

Jill on

Feel bad she never got at least one girl I’m sure she wanted after having four children and now is overwhelmed by testostrone!

Tams on

It’s so refreshing to hear her comments about her sons. I’m a high school English teacher and I laughed at her comments about her sons’ grades because I have encountered students just like them. They don’t see the point in doing any better as long as they’re passing. As a teacher, I don’t agonize over it, I say as long as they’re passing and are happy with their marks, then I’m happy too. There’s no point in pushing too hard or they’ll give up and won’t care anymore.

Jen DC on

You push them because maybe one day they’ll want to do more than have mommy smell their armpits, play video games and shoot BB guns?

I haven’t found any of the comments thus far to be “harsh,” just realistic. As long as the boys are supervised while they’re playing with the BB guns, I have no problem with it. I don’t even have a problem with them having their mom smell their pits – boys’ senses of smell are different than girls’, something that’s actually been scientifically proven. So that kind of makes sense. And my own brother went through a non-bathing period, which I found really odd since being in the shower confers more privacy than anywhere else, with the added bonus of hot running water… I was always confused about that one. He’s since grown out of it…

But the school thing: Yeah, Mom, start removing things until the grades come up. Especially for the 16 year old who’s near college age. You work hard not to prove anything to anyone else, but because you take pride in your work product. Furthermore, school is preparation for the workforce – it teaches you to be productive in a proscribed, recognizable manner. Their future bosses aren’t going to be won over by half-*ssed reports and an excuse like “Well, *we* know I know what I’m talking about!”

Luna on

OMG I’m having a flash back to when my big brother was a teenager. I’m five years younger, so I was eight-ish when he started this phase. When it was over, my younger brother (six years younger than me) started. It was so gross. This is one of the most realistic posts on parenting boys I’ve ever read. Half way grades? Odor? Only caring about their ‘boy toys?’ I went through all that. I’m going to go through that with my two boys (thankfully not at the same time.) Patricia Heaton is really relatable and I love that about her. I love The Middle.

CelebBabyLover on

Jen DC- I think what Tams is saying is that sometimes, the most effective consequence of bad grades is letting the kid experience natural consequences (for example, if they don’t do well in school, they have a hard time getting into colleage or getting a job).

Lola Marie on

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Middle. That, Modern Family and Justified are pretty much the only primetime TV shows I watch nowadays.

uk mum on

Jill – I’m sure she wouldn’t you want you feeling bad for her!!
So what she has 4 children who happen to all be boys!! I’m sure she loves them all very much and does not feel like she is overrun with testosterone!!
Some people should realise that children are everything to you regardless of gender!!

Chris on

It seems like her boys don’t value education. Sad. They will probably grow up to be entitled rich kids. I thought more of Patricia.

Dee on

Oh for the of beens Chris, just because their parents are rich you think her kids dont value education???

Well I have news for your my dear, I work in the school board and I see kids from all walks of life and they all dont value education.

Your economic background has NOTHING to do with a child’s ability to learn. Kids go through these stages and as long as they have constant support in place to make sure that they are doing what needs to be done they will pass and not fall below that line.

Your comment is quite ignorant.

I have four brothers and I completely see where she is coming from. My brothers were more interested in anything other than school work. It is a proven fact that boys these days learn slower than girls and more because they are too caught up in television and videogaming!!!!

Sheilz on

I am a Mom to FOUR boys as well and I wouldn’t want it any other way! Being the only girl and MOM, I’m treated like a queen. I don’t have to take out the garbage, I don’t have to climb onto a chair to reach something (I’m only 5’2″) and my FAVORITE??? I have several handy “spider-smashers”.

I can admit to wanting a girl but figure there is a reason I have boys. My friends that have girls hitting those teenage hormones is enough for me. From what I’ve seen between my kids and my friends’ kids, girls are much more emotional and I think that would be much harder for me to deal with. So, it’s good I have boys.

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