I have one beautiful little girl who wears gigantic bows in her hair, drags a baby doll around like a rag, and loves to go to the nail salon. She’s precious. A dream come true. All I ever wanted in the world. Oh, and then I have three boys. Yawn. Gross, right?
I was a “boy mom” first. I had three of them in five years. And they reigned supreme for eight before they were trumped, or so some people seem to believe. The second that my daughter was born it’s as if the world shifted. Like all of a sudden, I was supposed to forget about my boys. They should no longer be important to me. It’s awful.
I have four children with four unique personalities. There is the smart one, who spouts facts and figures all day. There is the kind one, who always thinks of others first and never fails to pray when the ambulance passes. There is the funny one, who is so dry and often unintentionally hysterical. There is the spunky one, who keeps the world on its toes with energy and excitement. But, who is who? Who is the girl? Tough to tell, huh?
Furthermore, who is my favorite? Surely there is a standout. And it’s gotta be the girl! What mom wouldn’t love her daughter most? Gah! Why do people say that kind of stuff? I don’t have a favorite. Truly, I love each of my children equally, but differently. I treat them each the way that they want to be treated. Kids have love languages too, and it’s important for me to tune into that. I want to make them each feel the most loved. I watch movies, play games, listen to stories, and sneak away for a special treat. They each have that special thing that makes them tick and I do my very best to recognize and reward that. No matter boy or girl. And often, when we are alone, I tell each of them that they are my favorite. But they are sworn to secrecy, so as not to hurt the others’ feelings.
Now, to be fair, if I said that I didn’t spend a little more time with my daughter, that would be a lie. But she is also a victim of circumstance. All three of her brothers are in school full time. She gets the most, and admittedly sometimes, the best of me. We play dolls and paint nails and dress alike. And yes, that is all because she is a girl (well, a girl who happens to like traditionally “girly” things). But that doesn’t define me as a parent. That defines me as a mom who has things in common with her daughter.
My boys don’t want to play with dolls, so I don’t do that with them. They really like to watch “Cobra Kai,” though, and I am totally into the cheesy ’80s nostalgia. I indulge that anytime they ask! They also like trivia and games and I can do that kind of stuff with them all day long. And I do! Those differences make life interesting. If everyone agreed and wanted to do the same things all the time, life would be pretty boring.
It’s funny how people tend to treat boy moms differently. Like they are missing out on something by not having a daughter. Each time I was pregnant people innocently would say, “I hope it’s a girl,” like I would be incomplete without one. I was so consumed by that thinking after the birth of my third son that I was positively sick at the thought of never having a daughter. I had to seek counseling it was so bad. But as time passed I realized that was unbelievably wrong. Being a boy mom is a treasure. They love their moms, hard! And I soak up that love every chance that I get.
When I became pregnant with my daughter, it was a surprise addition. We kept her sex a surprise too. People constantly told me they were hoping and praying that I’d have a girl. But why? What difference did it make to them? Why did anyone care about my family? If my boys were along with me, it was worse. “I don’t know how you do it!” “Three boys, surely this one is a girl.” “You sure have your hands full.” It was hurtful to them. It made them feel less-than and insecure. It broke my heart.
When my daughter was born, it was wonderful. I cried joyful tears; I was thrilled. Sure, there was excitement that she was a girl, but it was no more magical than when her brothers were born. It was the same. I felt the same relief that she was healthy and safe. I loved her instantly, just as I had with my boys, but I didn’t love her any more. She was a baby, just like them. A miracle. A blessing. And I was grateful, just as I had been three times before.
Having a child is the most incredible experience and a huge responsibility. You are taxed with molding a human being into a kind, loving person who makes good choices and does great things. The love that you give and the lessons that you teach are the same whether son or daughter. Your life is forever enriched by this great challenge and it does not matter if it’s a boy or girl. I was gifted, four times over. And while I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like bows and dolls, they are no more important to me than lizards and LEGO. I love being a mom. Boy mom? Girl mom? No, just a mom. And if I’m doing things right, they won’t declare someone as my favorite — they’ll think of me that simply.