“Oh, are you going to try for one more to get your boy?”
“I bet Daddy would like a little boy, right?”
“Your poor husband!”
“Your high school years are going to be rough.”
These are a few of the most frequent comments our family gets when people see us out in public. With three girls, we often get comments on how a boy is needed for our family to be complete. How my husband won’t be happy without a boy to teach how to throw a baseball or watch the Seahawks game with on Sundays. They give us their condolences for the fact that we haven’t had a boy, and then ask about our plans about expanding our family as if they plan on watching the show. Every time I get these comments I give a smile, all while gritting my teeth and squeezing my shopping cart a little harder. For the love of God, please stop telling me I need a boy.
Strangers make comments. I know this because as soon as my belly started to expand with my first child it was like a distress call went out all over the world letting strangers know they could now ask questions about my personal life and choices. Most of the time I honestly don’t mind it. I am a people person, and I enjoy chatting with others as I wait in line for coffee or at the grocery store. And I know most of the comments are made with well wishes (except those people who ask questions like, “Are you having twins?” or “Oh my gosh, you’re about to pop!” Just… no.) so I typically just let it roll off my shoulders on the rare occasion something gets under my skin.
But one thing that has gotten increasingly more frustrating is the premise that we need a boy in our family. “Actually no,” I want to tell them, “We don’t.”
To be perfectly honest, my husband and I always wanted a boy. He is a sports loving, physically fit, handy-man, characteristic man’s man. He’s good at sports, he knows random statistics of every professional (and most college) sport teams, and he can pretty much fix almost anything. I know that part of him would love to have a guy’s guy to teach how to do these things. But after three rough bouts of postpartum depression, I don’t think I would survive another babyhood. And plus, at this point, the odds are against us.
After we were told baby #3 was a girl (we had three ultrasounds because we just could.not.believe it), we effectively made the decision that our family was complete. As our girls grow up together, I can’t imagine it being any different. Do I wish we could have a boy? Sure. Do I think my husband wanted a boy? I know it. Am I sad that I’ll never have a mother-son dance at a wedding? Honestly, not really.
There are things with the girls that we might not be able to experience since we don’t have a boy. Watching our offspring don some way-too-big football gear is probably one of them. But there are a plethora of other things that we can do with all these girls no matter if we had a boy or not. It just depends on their personalities as they grow up. Will they love sports? Maybe, but not all boys love sports either. Will one of them be super handy? Not if they take after me, but that goes for a boy too. Will they be physically fit? Probably, since both my husband and I enjoy dragging them to the gym six days a week, but that would happen whether we have all boys or all girls. I don’t think, in this day and age, that having a boy or a girl drastically changes your parenting – we might have more dress up clothes than trucks, but I think it’s safe to say that all of us parents are just trying not to let our kids grow up to be assholes.
You Shut Your Mouth When You’re Talking to Me
Despite my husband and my own feelings about having all girls, that still doesn’t give strangers license to make comment on them. And like I said, most of the time I let it roll off my shoulders. Our society is led to believe, as archaic as it is, that a boy is necessary. You need a boy to carry on the name or to make the daddy proud. Dad will have some metaphorical hole in his heart without a boy, they assume. So to a certain extent, I get it – people see all my little girls, two of them dressed in princess dresses and one quickly falling in suit – and decide to say something just to make small conversation because society has led them to believe that having three children of the same sex, especially daughters, is a sad state of affairs.
But what really irks me is when people say this in front of my girls. My oldest is almost six. She hears you. And so does the three year old. And soon the two year old will get what you’re implying, too – that somehow, they aren’t good enough. That we need to add someone with something between their legs to make our family complete.
To those people – the ones that make my girls feel less than, the ones that make them wonder if they aren’t good enough in the eyes of their father, the ones that are promoting the societal belief that boys are superior – I want to say a big f- you.
Instead I sit there seething, infuriated by their disrespect. I wonder if they are incapable of understanding that my daughters are listening to them and taking in every word they are saying, especially because it’s not the first time they’ve heard it. Then I turn my anger into strength – strength to will my daughters to be better than the little boy sitting next to them. To be stronger, healthier, and happier just because they can be. I will them to be empathic to others who are automatically seen as less than because of factors they cannot control. I hope that they feel empowered rather than degraded, especially because they will probably hear a hell of a lot worse as they grow older.
My fear is that my girls hear these things and grow up with the idea that society won’t appreciate them because they aren’t boys. But then again, I also kind of hope they do grow up with that idea so they can go ahead and punch it in the face when they break down those barriers.
Will the high school years suck for us? As a self-proclaimed teenage drama queen, I’m going to assume yes. But will we have the opportunity to watch these three girls grow up to be the best of friends, having an organic relationship where they can depend on each other wholeheartedly? Absolutely. My husband and I might always wonder what it would be like to have a boy in our family, but it’s not something we are necessarily missing. Our family is complete with our three daughters.
So please, don’t tell my girls they are less than. Don’t make them feel that they aren’t perfect for their father. After all, they say little girls have their daddies wrapped around their fingers, and I can say that this is true for my husband three times over.
Photo Credits: Lauren Lomsdale