I only want girls, because boys always leave their mothers.
I don’t want to have a third, because I don’t want three boys.
We want to find out what we’re having because we just want to make sure it’s not a boy.
This is only a small sampling of the tactless verbal diarrhea I’m privy to on a daily basis.
Granted, there may be a peculiar sadness that comes from longing for the daughter you don’t have. But I’m here to let you in on a little secret—how freakin’ fun it is to raise little boys.
Now before you get your Cinderella panties in a bunch—I know. Not ALL boys like trucks and not ALL girls want to be princesses. But trust me when I say—this gender stuff is real. And boys will be boys. I know. I have three of them.
And here’s why I love it:
1. The toys are cooler.
At a recent preschool pickup, a couple of my son’s female classmates approached to tell me something nonsensical about a princess and a castle and a fairy and I don’t know what the hell else. I tuned out after five frilly seconds. My son ran to my side, exclaiming that he saw SIX tow trucks, TWO ambulances, and THREE fire trucks—all from the school window that day. Now that’s cool. Or at least real.
Trucks, trains, buses, and planes exist. We can spend hours on the weekend trolling the surrounding neighborhoods for construction sites—hours of entertainment. Seen any princesses or unicorns lately? Didn’t think so.
2. Getting out of the house is easier.
No hair styling. No tights. No braids or barrettes. Just pants, shirt, sneakers and you’re off. And (for the most part) they don’t care what the hell they’re wearing. Oh, and each of my kids has only one pair of shoes. One.
3. Public restrooms.
4. Even if they’re all the same sex, they’re NOT all the same.
Parenting three children of the same gender has given me an even greater appreciation for how distinct their little personalities are. They may all be boys, but they are three totally different people. My oldest is fierce, complicated, creative, intense. He doesn’t like hugs. But he needs companionship and approval. My middle is sensitive, shy, and sweet. He snuggles endlessly. But he’s also independent and stoic. They’re night and day. Fire and ice. The baby? Too soon to tell. Their differences surprise and delight me daily. They help me resist assumptions and generalizations—this article notwithstanding.
5. It’s good to parent someone who’s not like you.
It’s a healthy challenge to raise someone different than you. To try to relate. To understand where they’re coming from. Having three boys gets me out of my comfort zone, and out of my head, to embrace a more physical, tactile approach to the world. And notice things I normally wouldn’t. Like the shape of the rocks near the shoreline. Or the number of red pick-up trucks we pass on a drive up the Turnpike.
My boys are mischievous and spirited. Curious and carefree. They are energy and wonder and play. They need to move and do instead of just be. They will not sit still and just talk. Or listen. But boy do they know how to live life out loud. They’re good for me. Type-A, control-freak, over-thinking me!
6. We have each other, we moms of boys.
We “like” each other’s Facebook posts. We exchange knowing eye rolls as we run past each other on the street, wrangling our rowdy little dudes. We get it. We are a special breed. There is an unspoken kinship that evolves out of the joyful exhaustion, the ceaseless chase. The guilty twinge of envy when we see pigtails bobbing on the playground, or “It’s a Girl” balloons tied to someone else’s car seat as they leave the hospital. The unfounded, cliché concern that our sweet boys will become smelly teens and then reticent men who never call or need us anymore. The fear of one day being relegated to the dreaded role of…mother-in-law.
7. They can have it all.
Or at least have an easier time trying. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think women can’t try to do and have it all—they should. I’ve been there. Done that. Outgrown the (collared) t-shirt. I’ve witnessed firsthand the unparalleled intelligence and efficiency of women who are mothers AND professionals. But I don’t pretend it’s not harder. Would I want my (theoretical) daughter to be a surgeon or a litigator? Not sure. My sons? Go for it.
8. Boys speak their mind.
I’ve always preferred the company of men. Their unapologetic honesty, the crude minimalism of their communications, the lovely surprise of their sensitive sides.
Maybe when they’re older, your sons won’t call you daily. But when they do, you’ll get right to the heart of the matter. You won’t have to read between the lines. Have boys. Not bullshit.
9. They love their mamas in a special way.
“It’s a simpler love,” the facilitator of a mommy and me class once said, as I cradled my third baby boy and over-shared that while I may hope for a daughter one day, I truly love the relationship I have with my boys.
I’m so proud of the little men I’m raising. Those tall, handsome men-to-be will forever be my sticks-and-mud, fire truck-loving boys. One day, they may be distant and seemingly unapproachable—but not to me. They will tower over and protect their little mama. Maybe they’ll even bend down to give me a hug once in a while.
10. They’re your children, after all.
No matter how many of what kind you have, you’ll love them all fiercely, instinctively, and without effort. They will amaze you and delight you. Every single day. And you won’t be able to imagine your family any other way.
Few little girls picture themselves becoming mothers of all boys, but here we are. And we love it.