My precious friend and I are both stay at home mothers. To get out the toddler wiggles and to shake off the mommy cabin fever, we can be seen around town regularly on walks or at the mall, and this gives us the perfect time to chat about all the things.
Recently, she wrote about how frustrated she is that people ask her when she will start trying for a girl. We’ve discussed at length how it seems that, whether innocent or not, everyone assumes parents cannot be happy with children of all one gender.
I grew up in a home with a gorgeous, talented, wonderful little sister. My parents would always tell us our family was complete. And it never, ever failed that people would ask my mother, “But doesn’t your husband need a son?” Not want, people. Need. Like my sister and I were not enough. Like there was some void that would never be filled for my father. My mother always shook her head, smiled, and responded, “Why? They play Legos and cars and have learned how to shoot with him. Plus, he does tea parties and paints their nails better than I do! The man has the total package.” Do I think sometimes his life could have been different if the testosterone balanced the estrogen? Yes. Do I think sometimes it could have made parenting easier on him to not have to always worry about feelings when wording things poorly? Probably. But then again, there are also sweet and sensitive sons in the world so there is no promise of easy there.
Our extended family on one side put emphasis on males. There are family given names that have been passed down for generations. There was an understanding that somehow, the daughters got married and stopped being a part of their maiden family. And it bothered me, because to my father I was enough. In a family of so many females, how could you look at any of their sweet faces and willingly let them know you’re missing out because of how God knit their little bodies in the womb?
Now, I have a small family of my own. And guess what? We have a daughter. God has blessed my gigantic family with an abundance of girls, and apparently that’s going to continue through generations. Would I feel equally as blessed to experience life as a boy mom, too? Of course. But my husband and I have life with a daughter filled with all her “babies” and pink dresses, playing fetch with the dog, and walking beside a battery-powered toddler car. Because of this, I am now getting the same question my mother always did: “But doesn’t your husband need a son? Wouldn’t you want that for him?” I’m not the grace-filled beauty version of my mother. I am fire and rage at this question. I grind my teeth, raise an eyebrow and say, “So sweet pea isn’t enough? For him, for me, for you?”
Y’all. Of course she’s enough for the friends and family that ask this. But they don’t understand until that moment what they’re really saying. In that moment, they are saying that boys matter more, and I know in my heart of hearts they do not mean that.
Stop asking women if their husbands need a son. They don’t. Instead, they’ve been given a blessing by God wrapped in a tiny pink blanket. Their parenting journey will be different, not less.
It is unfair to assume dissatisfaction will follow having children all of one gender. I understand it is a simple question and you may just be trying to connect to the mother. Instead, ask if she has any preference, and share in the joy that either outcome is sure to cause.
You may also be interested in Please Stop Asking Me If I Am Going to Try For A Girl by Kayla Runkel.