My house is run on testosterone. I am married to a boat-building man. My two children are boys who think that there is nothing cooler than burping the alphabet, farting on each other, and wandering around the house with no shirts on because they want to show off their muscles.
During family game night, no matter what we choose to play, it always turns into a wrestling match. There is a lot of talk about poop in my house.
Also? My bathroom perpetually has the faint smell of pee since no male in my house seems to be able to aim just right. There are plastic dinosaurs and ninjas hiding in all the houseplants. Our Netflix queue has a disproportionate number of action and spy movies in it.
Stereotypes — though we do not enforce them — seem to ring true in many aspects of our boy-run household.
I love my sons, and they bring me an excitement and verve for life that until they were born had been missing. Through them, I have learned to be brave and loud and to let the little things go, like broken lamps. Raising my boys is a rewarding and wonderful adventure.
I am thisclose to giving birth to our third (and final) child, and as I type this, I still haven’t succumbed to the temptation to call my OB-GYN to find out the gender. So please don’t judge me for saying this, and I know that technically I’m not supposed to, but I am really hoping that this baby is a girl.
I want so badly to forge that coveted mother-daughter relationship I hear so much about. I want to buy adorable clothes and have tea parties (if she likes them. My boys hate them. Believe me, I’ve tried). I want to have the “empowering women empower women” feminist talks with her.
I listen to my mom friends complain about their daughter stealing their eyeliner or buttery leggings, and I get a little bit jealous. I see their Instagram pictures of braiding hair or awesome science projects or whatever bonding exercise they are up to on a Sunday afternoon, and I find myself daydreaming of doing the same with my daughter.
My heart just pangs for a daughter to pass on to the wisdom and stories from my mother and grandmother and my colorful aunts who made indelible marks on my life. They taught me strength and endurance, they showed me the ropes of womanhood, and they instilled strong feminist values in me.
And don’t get me wrong, I am teaching my sons to be feminists too. I talk openly with them about the experience of girls (“You know, girls can run fast too,” and “Yes, girls can be ninjas and wrestlers and even president”). We discuss consent, and bodily autonomy, and respecting the personal boundaries of others. Their dad is a shining example for them. We refuse to raise misogynists.
And yet…there is a special unnamable bond that links girls and mothers together that I am missing in my house. While my boys and I will always have an unbreakable bond that fills my heart with love and pride, there is another part of me that wants to feel this bond with a daughter as well. I won’t apologize for that, and I’m hopeful for the future.