“Your poor husband!”
“Are you going to keep trying for that boy??”
“Another girl?! Good luck, man!”
Yup. We’re expecting our third girl, and these are just some of the responses coming our way — well, mostly my husband’s way. I get it. I know these comments are intended as jokes and light sarcasm, but the reality is that this is the reaction he gets from almost everyone we’ve told. My husband laughs it off, but I’d like to take a minute to just like to set the record straight.
My poor husband? Try my super-lucky husband.
Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by so many strong, beautiful women?! Let’s be serious, there are lots of benefits to being a “girl dad.”
My husband grew up as the oldest in a family with five boys and one girl. Being part of a household of women may have been uncharted territory for him, but he’s taken it on like a pro. He’ll be the first one to claim he’s not a sensitive guy, and if that’s true, then being a girl dad has brought out a side of him that I think has made him a better husband and person in general. I’ve found him to be more understanding, more patient, and more empathetic. I’m not saying these skills wouldn’t have come if we had boys, but having girls has forced him to think from a perspective he’s not used to.
My “poor husband” has definitely had to take on new dilemmas and process through emotional meltdowns, and I’m sure those scenarios will multiply exponentially as we enter the teenage years someday, but think about all he’s gaining — most importantly, the trust and respect of the women in his household. I’m pretty sure when his little girls are begging him for extra snuggles or telling him how much they love him, my husband’s feeling like the richest man in the world.
Would we consider more children? Maybe. Is it because we don’t feel whole without bringing a boy into this world? Absolutely not. Two things really irk me about this one.
First, people who make these comments likely don’t know our situation when it comes to pregnancy. What if we’ve had a hard time conceiving? What if we weren’t capable of more or if it was against medical advice? We’ve been blessed to have healthy pregnancies and babies so far, but many other people out there haven’t, and you never know what your innocent comment may trigger for someone.
Second, it’s not like my husband is subjected solely to princesses and pink. He’s got the girls learning how to swing on the tee and practice good throwing fundamentals. They put on classic rock concerts in the living room and (much to my dismay) watch plenty of WWE wrestling — and practice their moves on their dad. My husband hasn’t locked his parenting style into a gender stereotype — mostly because he’d probably go nuts — which means hopefully our girls won’t do that to themselves either.
My husband doesn’t need good luck to continue to be an amazing father to his girls. Good parenting is a skill, and I personally think he’s done pretty damn well with the first two so far. I’ve watched my husband learn how to match florals and solids. I’ve seen him learn to do ponytails and to paint fingernails. He’s learned the lyrics to every Beauty and the Beast song, and (although he may not admit it), I think he’s pretty jazzed up for Frozen II. My husband’s gotten pretty good at differentiating the fake tears from the real ones and saying no to, “Pretty please, Daddy?”
Day in and out, we are learning, and while gender can certainly have an influence on little ones, it’s not exactly like raising a girl is a one-size-fits-all parenting approach. Yes, we already have two girls, but no, their personalities aren’t that much alike. What works with one child may not work with the other. My husband has learned when to give a hug and do some deep breaths or when it’s more appropriate for a time out. He’s learned how to pace dinner time for the one who inhales the meal and the one who barely gets in a bite because all she wants to do is talk. He’s managed arguments over an Elsa doll and tantrums over not being able to wear sparkly sandals when it’s raining out. But guess what? Fights? Tantrums? Meal-time dilemmas? These aren’t problems specific to gender. These are problems that any parent could face with any child. So sure, we could use a little luck playing the PowerBall, but when it comes to parenting, we’re going to focus on skills and a whole lot of love.
As a final disclaimer, if you’re one of those people out there who made a gender joke about this pregnancy, it’s okay; we forgive you. This is by no means intended as an attack on you or your friendly joke — and it’s definitely not intended to be a parenting diatribe. We know we’re surrounded by lots of people who are so excited for us and super supportive of our family. But as we welcome our third baby girl into the world, please know that my husband is going to be okay. In fact, I think he’ll be more than okay. And if the “poor guy” needs a break from tea parties, you can take him out for a beer.