The Question That Used to Annoy This Boy Mom The Most & How I Answer It Now
As a mom of boys, I get this question more often than I like to admit.
I’m not sure if I’m just the type of person who seems to invite no-holds-bar convos, or if it’s become the norm to assume all moms desperately long for girls.
When our second son was two-months old, my husband and I went on one of our first solo outings without our children. I was happy to show off pictures to anyone who showed a modicum of interest in the fifty-million snapshots of our baby boy blinking.
I’m pretty sure my over-the-moon love was palpable. Still, it didn’t stop a virtual stranger asking if we were going to continue on to “try for a girl".
I just gave birth to an incredible baby boy. I had a toddler at home. Give me a minute to adjust, let alone think about adding another to the mix! Specifically for a girl, at that.
Yet, that wasn't the first time I'd heard that question, and it surely will not be the last. I'm fairly certain I would have been interrogated from the start if we had found out his gender beforehand.
As it was, I still had people "hoping for a girl"
and saying, "I wish you luck in getting your girl!"
Never mind I had never even so much as hinted I wanted a girl. Because I didn't want a girl. I didn't want a boy. I wanted what our family was meant to have.
I knew from our first child that the leap into motherhood was a wild adventure of rambunctious love and a stilling sense of purpose. Going through this a second time, I shed most of my first time mom worries, and replaced them with increasing excitement to meet our newest member, whomever he OR she was,
And when we met our little boy, with his precious, perfect toes, and sweet chipmunk cheeks and his mischief-making expressions from the start, it felt absolutely right.
Needless to say, I used to take the question "Don't you wish you had a girl?" personally. How could someone wish for my boys to be anyone but who they are? If they take a minute to spend time with them, they’d see in an instant that I’m the most lucky, grateful, blessed mom. And I wouldn’t change a thing about them, especially their gender.
But, over time, I've come to realize the question is anything but personal People aren't asking this with my specific family in mind - far from it.
Instead, I’ve found that those asking the question
fall mostly into two camps:
1) They are moms of one gender of children, wanting to have more, wondering if they are going to “get” their boy or girl or whichever the opposite gender is of their current child or children.
2) It’s a mom with grown children, who has been there-done that with 2 boys/2 girls and always longed for a chance with the other gender.
Sure, some people ask because they are truly curious. But I think it mostly all boils down to gender disappointment.
Gender disappointment is a real thing. Some take offense to that notion, that every baby is a blessing no matter what. Of course that’s true. Of course every parent knows that.
Yet, I wholeheartedly support real emotions, of any kind. And gender disappointment is just that. A very real emotion to a set idea in one’s head of their family vision. Of dreaming and believing and hoping of a future with a mini-me, a sporty son, a girly princess, or whatever.
And when that gender dream is flipped upside down, that disappointment, that deviation from the original plan is very real.
When people use the phrase "Gender Disappointment," the words sound ugly. It instantly conjures up feelings of shame or regret. It sounds like something that should be hidden, instead of shared. So, let 's just take that phrase out of the equation. Let's call it what it really is - a "Dream Flip."
It doesn’t matter that, in reality, those dreams are always just dreams.
There is no way to predict one will have a daughter that prefers tutus or one that’s a tomboy, depending on your hope. And that little boy whom is meant to love sports has just as much chance of wielding a paint brush as he does swinging a home run.
But, I do understand those who dream of a certain family need time to adjust to a new reality. I understand another mom or dad wanting reassurance that if they do happen to have another boy or another girl, it’s still absolutely amazing and wonderful. And I try really hard to understand those moms whose children are grown and they are still longing for the girl or boy that never was.
I understand it because I went through it.
We waited to find out our baby’s gender with our youngest. It was our second go-around at this parenting gig, and from our first continuing adventure, we knew gender mattered very little when it came to preparation. We had all the baby stuff, we just needed the baby!
So, during delivery when my husband announced, "It's a boy!" it was a thrill and a surprise like I will never experience again. I could not believe this little marshmallow was all ours.
But weeks into bringing him home, as I recovered from a very difficult pregnancy experience and delivery,
it slowly dawned on me: I may never go through this again.
I will never have a daughter.
I will never know tea-parties and princess dresses. I will never know prom-dress shopping or be the mother-of-the-bride. I will never have a mother-daughter bond. My mom is my best friend, so this realization laid the heaviest on my heart.
I was so in love with my little boy, yet I suddenly found myself wondering if I was going to miss out on some kind of magic relationship I would have with a girl.
Would my boys bond with their dad better? Would I be the mom that doesn’t know cars or trucks or sports, who would be left by the wayside? Would I miss the nonexistent tea parties and tutus?
I didn't have much time to linger on those thoughts as daily life swept us up in its fast yet wondrous current. I did my best to explore those feelings, to honor my fears, to give myself space and to be gentle with my new-mom hormones. But it all seems so far away now, such a brief moment of worry versus an infinite time of joy.
Immersed in life with my boys, I don’t feel out of my element.
I don't feel left by the wayside.
I do not feel like I’m missing out on a single thing.
And I don’t miss the tutus.
I'm continuously surprised at just how much I actually love knowing about the things that my boys find fascinating. Four years ago, I could have cared less about construction trucks. Today, I can name them all and what they do without a second thought. Because in their eyes, even “boring” trucks become magnificent machines.
I do not pass the girl clothing sections with a wistful glance. I don’t walk down the Barbie aisle with a sigh of quiet longing.
And yes, while my boys can be considered rough-and-tumble...they are so much more than the limit of the label society gives them, They are sensitive and compassionate, hilarious and sweet. I get daily spontaneous hugs and kisses. We have dance parties and karaoke concerts just as much as we have tower-building and wrestling.
I don’t live in trepidation, wondering what my adult relationship will be like with my sons. I definitely don’t buy into the bizarre notion someone once oh-so-helpfully shared with me: “A daughter is a daughter for life, A son is a son until he has a wife." I believe in the strength and bond of my family, my sons. And I simply don’t wish I had a girl.
But I get it. I understand if you, or someone you know, is going through it.
I understand the time it takes to adjust to a new dream –
a dream just as spectacular and grand, but one that takes a little time.
Having all boys, I can assure you with all my heart, if you are a mom wondering if you will have another boy or another girl . . It. Won't. Matter.
Your child will surprise you in so many ways. And you won’t be giving birth to a carbon copy of their sibling– even if you have identical twin boys or girls! My boys are as different as they can be - but they each love each other fiercely and each add a million wonderful - and needed - things to our family.
Your children will be equally fun, sweet, hilarious and amazing, but completely and utterly all their own. And exactly the perfect fit for your family.
So, do I wish I had a girl? No.
Am I going to “try” to have a girl? No.
Does the question still annoy me? No.
....but please, For the Love of Pete, don't ask me again! :)
Does your family look like you always imagined?
How did you or anyone you know work through a "Dream Flip"?
Pssst....it's me, Stina, the mom behind the blog! I love helping area families Find the Fun, And every now and then, I like to share where I'm at on my own parenting journey, my spiritual quest or my personal experience with an area organization, event or activity. Thanks for joining me!
Feel free to reach out to me at any time - I love connecting with others and hearing from you!