I saw it again the other day: a friend on Facebook found out the sex of her baby at her 20-week sonogram. She was expecting a baby girl. I was excited for her and I know this particular friend didn’t care about whether she had a boy or a girl because she and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time. As I went to tell her how excited I was for her to be welcoming a daughter later in the summer I saw the other comments:
“Oh my goodness how exciting! Girls are the most precious!”
“A daddy’s girl! Those boys better stay away!”
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen comments like this. And it certainly wasn’t the first time I rolled my eyes on the other side of the computer screen and thought to myself, “Why are daughters often considered more ‘precious’ than sons?”
I know, I know–you could say that I don’t have place for an argument here because I’m a mother of only boys. So, I guess I don’t get to comment on the dynamics of what it is like to have a daughter. But how are my sons any less precious than your daughters?
The word precious literally means, “Of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.” Synonyms for precious include beloved, dearest, darling, treasured and valued.
The short answer: sons are precious, too.
My sons are treasured and valued. They are sweet and innocent. They are my children and with that comes my unwavering instinct to protect them (yes, even from the girls that will eventually come around). They are my babies. They are the loves of my life, and just because they were born male doesn’t mean they are any less precious than your baby girl.
I know there is an age-old debate on gender roles and expectations that are automatically assigned to our children from birth, such as the unwritten rule that little girls need to be protected more than boys. That is not my point here. My point is that when someone says, “Girls are the most precious,” it makes the person hearing it assume that if girls are the most precious, then boys must be the less desired of the two.
That’s not to say little girls are not treasures in their own right. They are everything pink, purple, bows, ribbons, curls, and pig tails–and seriously just as adorable. I may not have a daughter of my own, but I have a niece and friends with little girls I just love to love up on. And some of them are little tomboys who love to play in the dirt and ride ATVs, too.
I just don’t get why history has always told mothers who are carrying or giving birth to girls that they will have to protect, cherish, and honor those girls more than if they were carrying sons. (And don’t get me started on things that are said to fathers about to have daughters . . . I mean there are songs written about fathers waiting on the front porch for their daughters to return home from dates with their boyfriends. It’s ridiculous!)
My sons are going to date one day, too. They are going to have others break their hearts, be subjected to bullies, and are also at risk to child predators. Our boys need protection just as much as our girls. As their mom, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep them safe and prevent them from being hurt by anyone. And yes, I will be staying up late to wait for each of them to return home from their first dates.
So please, next time you have a friend who announces she is expecting a daughter, please keep in mind that we boy moms are happy for her, too–but that our sons are not any less precious than that sweet baby girl. Our sons are the best gifts we have ever been given and even when they are adults towering over us, they will still be our baby boys.
Try to remember that we longed for these little guys and that for some us they are our little miracles. And though we would have been happy having daughters, we are just as happy and grateful to have sons.