I have been asked a few times since finding out our third child will be a boy if I feel more like a “boy mom” now. I don’t like that question or that phrase because there are some undertones in it that go back to something I’ve already written about before – the perfect family.
I will start by saying something important upfront – THE GENDER OF OUR CHILDREN SHOULD NEVER MATTER SO MUCH THAT WE PUT PRESSURE ON WHAT IT WILL BE OR FIND DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE OUTCOME!
That drives me crazy. I know people who were genuinely nervous or worried to let other people or even their own husbands down if the baby wasn’t the gender that person wanted. The level of selfishness that it would take to be able to look at your pregnant wife or daughter or daughter-in-law and send her the message, “I only really want a boy” is so repulsive to me that it makes me angry.
I never prayed for a girl. I never prayed for a boy. I prayed for healthy babies who would have hearts that would someday love and trust God and have Christ as their Savior. The end. The rest isn’t important compared to that.
This idea of the ideal or perfect family is rooted so deeply in the “American dream” that people feel like failures or are treated as “less than” when they don’t reach this biological goal, or worse, society seems to elevate those who have a son, daughter, dog, and tidy home and life in the suburbs. It’s as if this is the ultimate picture of what it means to be successful, and it’s achieving a status to be admired. People actually chase this like it’s the Holy Grail, and it’s crazy.
After Ethan was born so many people would ask things like if I was tying my tubes now that we had a girl and boy. First of all, rude and none of your business. Secondly, I’m going to go with rude and none of your business again. Now that we’re having three the response we get from people is almost like a grimmace of not getting why we would have more children when we already had a girl and boy.
This goes back and has roots that can be seen ripping down through generations. I had a conversation at a local Fall festival we go to each year with a lady who was shopping in the same booth I was. She was somewhere between 65-70. I found a sign for Joshua’s nursery and I was checking out as she walked up.
Her: “Oh, I love that sign. It’s beautiful.”
Me: “Thanks very much. It’s for the nursery. It’ll be perfect.”
She looked at the stroller, and only saw Ethan because Lauren was standing on the other side of Rob.
Her: “Oh, did you get stuck with two boys. You poor thing!”
I got my immediate response in check because what would have just flown out of my mouth would not have been a great response in the sense of being respectful.
Me: “No. We definitely didn’t get stuck with anything (Lauren got back on her seat at that moment). We already have a girl and boy. This will be our third baby, and we’re so excited to have another baby.”
Her: “Oh. Three? Good luck to you because you’re going to have your hands full. Three!”
Me: “They won’t be half as full as my life or heart.”
I walked away because this conversation was probably going to spiral to a place of me saying things I shouldn’t.
This?!?!? What is wrong with people? It makes me understand why people took shelter under terms like “girl mom” or “boy mom” because people treat you like this when you don’t have the “perfect” set of “one of each.” To any of my friends or readers who have only girls or boys, I am so sorry if this has ever happened to you. I am so sorry that people would think it’s okay to talk to you like this. I’m not saying I pity you, I’m saying I hurt for you. This was awful, and the fact that people put such a premium on their ideas of perfection that they could hurt you makes me furious.
The reason I don’t like the phrase is because I think it is almost like saying, “I’m going to find a way to make this okay.” There are a million “boy mom” and “girl mom” hashtags, mugs, and t-shirts that are worn like an electric fence in front of a heart I’m sure that’s been hurt by these kind of comments.
Here’s the deal, you don’t have to make something okay that is beautiful! You can tell people who would dare try to shackle you with not meeting some crazy “ideal” that you are happy with your boys or girls and didn’t miss the mark. You can tell people how thrilled you are to have been given the privilege or honor of having babies at all. You can tell them that you are just happy to be a momma.
I have so many friends that struggled with infertility or child loss. Before I ever got pregnant I saw the heartache. I felt so incredibly thankful when I saw the positive sign that told me I would be a mommy each time. I think that’s one of the reasons I never cared about gender. I just saw it as an honor and privilege to be able to have babies. I saw it as a beautiful gift that I never wanted to take for granted.
When I was first asked this question, “Do you see yourself as a boy mom now that you’ll have two?”, I said this, “No, I definitely don’t. I’m so glad to be having another son, but I’m thankful for each of my babies, and am just glad I get to be THEIR mom.”
I’m glad that I’ll someday get to help Lauren pick out prom dresses and teach her about fun, girly stuff, and her being outnumbered doesn’t change everything I have to look forward with her as her mom.
I have had moms tell me when seeing me out and about that they were so jealous because we had a boy and girl. That is probably the other big reason I don’t like this “boy mom” and “girl mom” thing. It creates competition and divide. I’ve written so many posts about the importance of moms encouraging each other and supporting one another that anything that rubs up against that bothers me. No one needs to be “jealous” of anyone because their family looks different than yours. You didn’t fail. If we could all just see trying to raise great kids as success than we would treat ourselves and those around us differently.
Friends, don’t live under a banner or in a box that anyone or society puts you into in regards to the gender of your children or anything about your life. We can all just support each other in this wing and prayer mission of motherhood everyday. We can all just be happy to be moms.