In less than a week I will finally find out if I will need to purchase new baby clothes or if I can make do with hand-me-downs from my son. I technically could find out right now, actually a few weeks ago, but I couldn't get in any earlier due to scheduling difficulties. In my typical way of overthinking things, I've been pondering parenting each gender. The word around the campfire is that it's impossible for my husband's family to yield girls, but the name dream I had two weeks prior to conception was definitely a girl's name and I find myself mentally calling this baby by that name. Of course, I will be beyond thankful for either a boy or a girl and I pray every night for a healthy baby born at term.
My Thoughts on Boys
I wasn't sure that I'd be up to the task of raising a young man, but I believe that I was truly made to mother a son. My son is a bright star in my life and I adore him. He's my joy, my heart.
I "get" how boys think and I think I have far more in common with males than females. I certainly get along better with XY than XX. I like watching sports, shooting guns, building stuff, taking things apart, and getting dirty. My superhero and sci-fi geekery is well known and I'll pick an action movie over a rom-com (the gag-inducing chick flick) any day of the week. I love sharing my love of all manly things with my son and our relationship is a perfectly comfortable fit.
Much as I like being one of the guys and mothering one, this mother does have fears about raising boys. I worry that my soft tendencies will make him a wimpy doormat and I alternately worry that he'll become a bully. I cringe at the notion of a predatory woman targeting him or of him becoming a predatory male. I ache over the thought of a woman breaking his heart, cleaning out his bank account, moving away with his children (my grandchildren!), and otherwise hurting him in any way she can. . .unfortunately, our court system so heavily favors women that he'll be pretty much guaranteed an unfavorable outcome if he ever suffers the pain of divorce. I so hurt over that last notion that I already find myself praying about his future wife - that she'll be lovingly raised and that she'll always be there for my son, his biggest cheerleader and greatest helper. The flip side to that is that I pray he will be the kind of man who knows how to be lovingly considerate and that he'll easily inspire such devotion in his mate.
What upside do I see to mothering boys? I think I've covered how well-suited I am to mother boys, but it's also that I would always be the queen of castle and I like being the only female in the house. It sometimes seems to me that sons are closer to their mothers than daughters are though that relationship often appears to reverse sometime in adulthood. I guess the bottom line is that I have a good track record now with mothering a little boy and I think I would be more comfortable to have a familiar experience by having a second son.
My Thoughts on Girls
Pink is my favorite color, but I am not a girly-girl. I don't like frilly dresses, I think tea parties sound boring, I don't understand why screaming about bugs is more effective than simply squashing them, and I'm not generally a fan of fussy behavior. If it weren't for my vagina, I'd wonder if I'm really a girl.
I like being the main source of estrogen in my house and I proudly wear my queenly crown, but it seems to me that the family dynamic changes significantly when a princess is added to the mix. I have noted that some, not all, mothers and daughters have a bond that isn't one I want to have with a child of my own; they just aren't that close or loving with each other. Two hormonal chicks in the house at one time generally is not a positive living arrangement.
Based on mother-daughter relationships I've observed, I fear that my own competitive nature would roar to life and perhaps an unspoken jealousy would begin to exist on my end at some point. Females are so often mean to other females and I wouldn't want a child of mine to experience that special brand of girlish cruelty - from others or their own mother.
I believe that girls are sexualized at a far earlier age than boys and, perhaps as a result, girls are more likely to be sexually and/or physically abused in some fashion by their peers and by older people. Unfortunately, abuse often negatively impacts victims in their relationships for years, even decades afterward, and a girl who has been abused will many times end up in what is essentially the same relationship with a new abuser. The very thought of a child of mine being so wounded actually brings tears to my eyes because it's a lifelong injury and I don't think the healing is ever totally complete.
The upside I see to mothering a girl? Obviously it's that you can support another woman, your own daughter, on her own motherhood journey. Sure, your son may father children, but frequently that child's mother would rather have her own mother offer help, advice, and support. In an ideal world, you would be more actively involved in the pregnancy, birthing, and raising of your daughter's children because usually women on their motherhood journey can count on their own mothers to be there for them. I tell myself that I absolutely would be there for my daughter, no matter what.
I guess I am afraid of the unfamiliar and I'm not sure that I have the history or ability to adequately mother a girl. I have many friends who are wonderfully loving mothers to their daughters and I think it's possible to be the kind of mother I want to be if I observe and learn what girls need.
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Do you have sons or daughters or both? What joys did you find about mothering your children? What concerns did you have about mothering either gender? Were your concerns valid or did you find that they were totally unfounded?