What Breaks My Heart Most About Not Having a Daughter

little-boys-kissing-mom-on-cheekImage via Shutterstock

“You know, even if you had another child, there would be no guarantee it would be a girl,” my mother blurted out.

Sometimes my mother lacks a little something called tact. Or perhaps there’s something about the mother-daughter bond that allows for pure, unfiltered honesty.

I have two crazy, delicious, sweet-as-honey sons. When my husband and I set out to have kids, we decided we wanted two of them, about five years apart. We’d give the first one our full attention, send him or her off to school, then do the same for the second one. 10 years of little kids. Then done. Boom.

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When we did the 20-week ultrasound for our second — knowing he or she would probably be our last child — I admit there was a bit of a knot in my stomach. If it wasn’t a girl, that would be it. I’d be a mom of boys for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t know what it was like to have a daughter of my own.

Up until the last minute, I wavered on whether to find out the sex of our baby. But as soon as the ultrasound technician moved down to the bottom half of his little body, it was clear what was going on. His legs were wide open, penis pointing straight up into the air. I announced it before the tech did.

I grew up in a house of all girls: my mom, my younger sister, and me. Think three women having PMS all at once. Imagine a house reverberating with raw emotion: doors slammed, feet stamped, tears flying. My Little Ponies, Barbies, scrunchies tucked into every corner of the house.

Now I’m surrounded by boys. I live up to my namesake: I’m Wendy, and they’re the lost boys. The truth is, I find boys refreshing. I find them endearing. And I’m madly in love with my sons — everything about them — and wouldn’t change a thing. I feel fulfilled.

Sure, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a little girl around: all the pretty clothing and accessories; sitting down to braid her hair; buying her first bra; telling her about her period. Of course, I could have a girl who scorned all things “girly,” but it’s likely that I would get at least a taste of the “girl world” if I had a daughter. I feel pangs of longing for these things sometimes, but nothing that gets me in the gut.

However, there is one thing that does. It’s the one thing that there is no way my sons will be able to fulfill (without some hocus-pocus magic, or weird medical breakthrough), and the one reason I regret not having a daughter.

I will never watch my own daughter become a mother. When I think about that, my heart breaks a little (a lot).

(I realize that even if I had a daughter, she might not want, or be able, to become a mother. But bear with me; I am in fantasy-land here.)

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So, to the daughter that I may never have …

I want to hold your hair back as you vomit into the toilet during your first trimester.

I want to get the phone call when you aren’t sure if those little flutters are gas … or baby.

I want to come over when you can’t stand being pregnant anymore, rub your feet, press my hand into the aches and pains, make you a grilled cheese sandwich, mommy-magic all that end-of-pregnancy angst away. 

I want to come to your birth if I’m invited, and I want to respect the hell out of your decision if you don’t want me there.

If I am at your birth, I want to let you squeeze the circulation out of my hand, bury your face in my shoulder. I want to let you scream in my ear, moan, curse, whatever works. 

I want to help you believe in your body’s ability to birth, whatever your birth choices are, and however your birth turns out.

I want to help you and your baby nurse (if you choose to), and give you tons of space to find your groove.

I want to cook you food, I want to clean your house, I want to let you rest in bed with your baby for as many days and weeks as you need.

I want you to kick me out whenever you need to.

I want to watch you fall in love with your baby.

I want to listen to you tell me how you feel like your world is falling apart, that the “old” you is scattered across the floor like dirty laundry.

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I want to tell you how normal it is, how gorgeous you look in this bright spring morning with your unwashed hair in a messy ponytail.

I want breathe in your courage, your wisdom, your strength — all of which are there, but which you don’t see yet.

I want to see myself in you, see my own mother in you, all the generations of mothers and women in your beautiful, tired eyes.

I want to watch you sleep, your baby tucked into your side like a comma.

I want to stand there and watch the two of you softly breathing. 

My two sons come from a long line of gentle, down-to-earth, involved fathers — my father, their father, my husband’s father. These are men who cried when their babies were born, who wouldn’t hesitate to let a newborn sleep half the night on their warm daddy-chests.

If my sons someday become fathers (please, at least one of you do it!), I know I will watch with tears in my eyes as they hold their newborns, and that I will bond with them in new ways as they grow into fatherhood. And perhaps they will partner with women who will let me mother them a bit as they become mothers.

But I can’t deny that there will always be a yearning — a deep ache — to share the rite of passage into motherhood with a daughter of my own.

Related post: The 10 Best Things About Having All Boys

Today I Will Wear Shorts And Feel Beautiful


I really couldn’t believe it. I mean, shorts weather has always been tough for me. But this year? After SO.MUCH.WORK. on loving myself? Seriously?

All day long, I was aware of my body in weird ways – ways I usually am not.

I felt the crease at my waist – that extra skin that wasn’t there before I had a baby.

I noticed the way my thighs rubbed together, as they have since about 6th grade.

And every time I walked past a pane of glass, I couldn’t help but see how big my upper arms looked.

I was distracted all day, and by the end of the day I was in a super shitty mood. I felt bad about myself and my looks. I felt tired and sad and like crawling under the covers for the rest of my life.

shorts selfie

Spring Is Diet Season

I think it started when I was around 12 years old. It was time to wear shorts, and I didn’t like how I looked or how I felt. I was in a grown-up size, and I wasn’t a grown-up.

So I went on my first diet.

And stayed on a diet for pretty much the next 20 years.

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My Body Was Never Good Enough

I was heavy and light, big and a little less big. But even when I was a size that I’d never imagined I could be, I still felt shitty. I was thin, but I still saw all the spots that needed to be fixed.

No matter what I did, I still felt fat.

Fat Isn’t a Feeling

OK, so then what the hell was I feeling?

When I put on shorts and felt “fat,” what was I – what am I – really feeling?

Not good enough. Unacceptable. Judged. Uncomfortable in my skin. Ashamed. Not OK with who I am. Too much, too much, too much.

I Think I’m Just Sad

After feeling shitty all day yesterday and most of today, I started to get mad. And when I’m that mad, it usually means I’m actually grieving deep down inside.

Because here’s the thing. That 12-year-old little girl who was me, she was perfect exactly as she was. Sure, she was a size 10 in 6th grade when most of the girls were in juniors sizes. But she was just a little girl.

I was just a little girl.

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It breaks my heart when I think of all the time I wasted thinking about calories and running miles and miles instead of just lying in the sunshine. 

I restricted my food, I hated my body, and I lived inside my own head, where I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else. And everyone else always won.

I Liked My Body When I Was Pregnant

When I was pregnant with my son, it was honestly the first time in my life I liked my body. I was amazed at the way it shifted and reshaped itself to grow my baby. I felt like it finally made sense to have the body I’d fought for so long.

When I was breastfeeding my newborn, it was a little bit harder to like my body. But if I focused on the fact that I was still growing my baby, it was bearable.

But what about now? My “baby” is 32 months old. Am I allowed to like my body when it’s not doing something as special and sacred as growing a baby?

Because bodies like mine aren’t super acceptable in our society. I mean, there have been some strides forward, but try to find plus-size shorts without tummy tightening fabric in them. That speaks volumes to me.

I Call Bullshit

I have wasted too much time: from the day at age 12 when I decided that my body wasn’t good enough, to last night when I was too focused on my thighs to pay attention to my toddler running around the yard, laughing as the sun went down. I have wasted too much time obsessed with my body and how NOT OK I thought it was.

No more.

Today, I Will Wear Shorts. And I Will Feel Beautiful.

jean shorts

There is a fabulous movement called #takebackpostpartum, and I’m joining it. And in my little part of the world, I’m calling my unique journey, my stand, my choice to take back my power and love my body exactly as it is, #iwillwearshorts.

Today, #iwillwearshorts for my walk to the park with my son. I will appreciate my strong legs, I will rock the body I’m in, and I will be present in that moment.

Because I’m done wasting time hating myself.

Who’s with me? Who else will wear shorts?

Related post: Having Kids Improved My Body Image

5 Mommy Wars That Just Aren’t Worth the Fight

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The other day I read a blog post written by a very pregnant woman about why pregnancy sucks so much ass. I laughed and snorted and commiserated because I too was a miserable wretch of a pregnant lady. I scrolled through the comments to give an “Amen!” and a “Me too!”

I came across several comments that stopped my laughter and made my heart hurt. Comments from mamas who had experienced loss after loss, or who had babies born way to early, spending weeks in the NICU. My whole body hurt for these mamas, but I also felt anger. These mamas were calling the author out for being selfish, shaming her for speaking out about her miserable experience. The Self-Righteous Mom Army had arrived.

It’s the same old story: anytime someone writes a piece about their experience with parenthood, someone with an opposing opinion launches an attack! When did mothers become such a bunch of self-righteous assholes? The same 5 battles play out over and over again, and to tell you the truth, even after all of the fighting … NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It’s like a civil fucking war up in here, with a bunch of very pissed off people and no end in sight.

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Battle #1: The Pregnancy Wars

On Day 7 past my due date with my second-born, I posted a pathetically sad complaint on Facebook, to which someone replied, “You know, you are very lucky to be pregnant; some people would give anything to be in your situation right now.”

I was taken aback. I was ashamed for complaining. I felt like I didn’t even deserve to be pregnant! Then I got mad. Does the fact that someone else can’t get pregnant change the fact that I wanted to hurl myself off a fucking cliff during my pregnancy? No. Pain is pain motherfuckers, so let me have mine and you can have yours. Now pass the goddamn pickles.

Battle #2: The Birth Wars

“I spent 196 hours in labor with little Timmy, and finally birthed him naturally through my glorious vagina into a 93.75 degree tub where my husband and 6 children were waiting to catch him and eat my placenta. No matter what, you should refuse the drugs because they will harm your baby.”

“I had an emergency c-section due to complications in labor; I was really heartbroken because I wanted to do it naturally and now I feel like a failure as a woman.”

Whatever your path to having a baby might be, guess what? YOU HAVE A FREAKING BABY! Who gives a shit how Jenny down the street had hers? Feel free to eat that placenta or work through your shame in therapy; the experience is yours forever and not to be changed by anyone else’s, so please, leave your baggage at the door.

Battle #3: The Breastfeeding Wars

I’d like to propose that people just go ahead and do what they have to fucking do without the army of self-righteous mom-tyrants waiting in the wings to bash them with their ideals, sad stories or know-it-all smirks.

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Battle #4: The Sleeping Wars

My baby slept through the night by 8 weeks! What? Your baby is 9 months old and still getting up three times a night? You must not have gotten him on a schedule early enough — that always causes problems.”

“We co-sleep with all three of our children so they feel safe and well-adjusted out in the world. What? You put your baby in a crib the day you brought her home? Mmmm, I hope she doesn’t develop an attachment disorder.”

I’m not sure why this battle is even happening. What are we getting out of it? Will my life suddenly take on new meaning if I convince an attachment parent that she is out of her ever-loving mind for co-sleeping with three children? I don’t give two fucks who is sleeping with whom, as long as my ass is asleep.

Battle #5: The Other Wars

Food Allergies. Vaccinations. Screen Time. Sports. Cussing. Homeschooling. Body After Baby. If there is more than one opinion that can be had, prepare for battle and look the fuck out because it’s gonna get U-G-L-Y. When the mentality of “you have no right to speak because I believe this, and I am right” prevails in our mom culture, what is left for us but shame, suffering, self-righteousness, competition, cattiness, judgment and misery?

It’s time to wave the white flag and put the weapons down. Each mother has a story that is her own, be it perfect, tragic or somewhere in between. Our words have the power to lift someone up or drag them down, and these so-called “Mommy Wars” are a big fucking waste of amazing feminine power. Next time you’re annoyed as shit by someone else’s story, make a choice: will your words be weapons or will they be tools? Just let her have her story, even if you don’t like it.

I am not immune to The Mommy Wars; I’ve engaged in a battle or two, but they make me feel sick, and I’m tired of wanting to be right at the expense of feeling like an asshole. Join me?

Related post: 11 Topics Guaranteed to Ignite Mommy Wars

If End-Of-The-Year Teacher Thank You Cards Told The Truth


It’s the end of the year, and we’re all planning how we’re going to show our thanks to our kids’ teachers, right? Instead of making the usual homemade greeting and buying the right gift card, don’t you wish you could just shove a $20 into one of these incredibly honest cards and just be done with it?

If the end of the year thank you cards we give teachers told the truth, they would probably look like these…

thankyou copy

thankyou1 copy

thankyou2 copy

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thankyou5 copy

thankyou6 copy

thankyou3 copy

All invites designed on PaperlessPost.com

Related post: An End-Of-The-Year Apology To Teachers

We’re Proud To Be THAT Family

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You can see (or more likely hear) us coming from a mile away. You may think we’re playing charades as my husband and I make hand signals to each other, gritting our teeth and doing the silent threat to one of the kids: “This is it. Never again!” Only it’s the 1,000th never again that we’re attempting.

We do our best cleaning 10 minutes before we’re expecting company. And two minutes after the house is somewhat presentable, it’s already back to … well, normal.

When we stroll into church (and on a good Sunday we’re only running a few minutes late), it has been said on more than one occasion that the “entertainment” has arrived. Yep, we’re those people.

We probably turn the dryer on about five more times than necessary to “re” fluff the clothes that have been waiting to be folded for, wait… what day is it?

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People in the grocery stores, malls, amusement parks … yes, they all love to hate us. We’re those people coming with two shopping carts, the double stroller (and trust me, nobody likes the lady taking up space pushing the double stroller), and with the kids dashing and darting everywhere they probably shouldn’t be.

It’s safe to say we haven’t slept in seven years and, more than likely, won’t for at least seven more.

We barely fit in our vehicle, and no matter if it’s a day trip or an overnight, we have to bring along 12 bags to sanely survive. But not to worry: if something should go missing, we could probably find an extra sock, a few pair of shoes, an extra sippy cup, pacifier or sweatshirts strewn throughout our vehicle in places you never even knew existed.

We have been invited to fewer and fewer places as our family keeps getting bigger and bigger and people’s tolerance for our sweet circus keeps getting shorter and shorter.

We buy enough food and toiletries to supply a small army, yet somehow, within days of our shopping extravaganza, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers or wipes will undoubtedly need to be purchased again.

Meal times usually consist of someone crying, screaming, bucking in their chair, or randomly getting out of their seat to go bust a move in the middle of the kitchen. One end of the spectrum or the other, no in between. Yep, that’s how we roll 23 hours a day, 6 1/2 days a week.

You can usually find me running around the house, nursing a baby in one arm and chasing two other toddlers with my “free” hand while being beckoned by another kiddo from another part of the house. The dog is barking. Someone is knocking at the door. The phone is ringing. And the smoke alarm is going off from my attempt at cooking. You read about these people and watch them in a movie, but no, that’s us. We’re those people.

Our bed is about four sizes too small. And by our bed, I mean the entire family’s bed, since no one likes to sleep in their own.

Snack time happens, or at least seems to happen, about all day, every day. When we go to someone’s house, you’d swear we hadn’t fed our children in weeks. Since they’re ages 6 and under now, it terrifies me to think of feeding them as teenagers.

I’m not ashamed that I look forward to pizza night each Friday or hesitant to admit I love our paper plates more than any dishware we own.

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We work hard, and we play hard. We fight hard, but we love even harder.

Yep, we’re that family. That crazy one I envisioned for pretty much my entire life.

But to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We’re crazy. We lost our minds long ago. We are deliriously exhausted … and deliriously in love.

In love with the crazy people that we get to call our family.

So, the next time you get the infamous eye roll, the whispers intentionally loud enough for you to hear, or feel that your family is completely abnormal and has completely lost it, you’re probably doing something right.

Related post: How to Take a Toddler Grocery Shopping in 100 Easy Steps