I used to want sons. Each pregnancy I would hope and pray that a “Y chromosomed” individual was growing in my belly. I thought that raising boys was easier. I mean I'm a woman and I know how hard it is to deal with all those yuck emotions. I know how it was to deal with my sisters and my mom and I felt like my brother was cool. He was annoying like all little brothers are but still... He was cool.
I always wanted to be a guy. Not in the transgender sense where I was downloaded into the wrong physical body; but in a jealous I wish I could love 'em and leave 'em, emotionless, selfish, stand up and pee kinda way. I wanted that life. Since I couldn't have it for myself I had hoped I could live vicariously through my offspring... Alas I got daughters... 3 and each time I felt sorry for them and I felt sorry for myself. All the pubescent crying and bleeding that I'll have to deal with. All that heartbreak and emotional drama that's bound to happen with groups of friends. The bullying, the body shaming and slut culture and sexual pressure to maneuver... Exhaustive. But each day as I raise my girls I begin to see the benefits of having two X chromosomes. I’ve started appreciating it more. At various points I’m still unconvinced by the “pluses”. I daydream about the patch of grass on the other side of the fence where boys play sports, wield swords and guns, love dinosaurs and bugs and beat each other up for crying. Having a penis must be so amazing. Gazing at my "neighboring parents" hard at work raising men, I fantasized about a parental obligation I'd never know.
Until this Easter... several revelations let me to believe that my situation was amazing.
We spent Easter with family and they invited friends over who I did not know. I was the only one with all girls and it was my first experience observing a predominantly boy environment. My daughters do a good job of holding their own around boys their age. In fact they dominate them. But these boys were a little older and they had no sisters. In fact the only women in their lives were their mom. These boys were different. I watched as these boys ran around a small condo, throwing balls, yelling, and I watched how even though the women asked and scolded the men just let the boys keep rough housing. If there were a basement it would be totally appropriate but there was none. My first revelation- boys need space. Girls do too but boys need space to burn off energy.
The entire time I kept one ear on the adults and the other on the kids. Older boys make me nervous around girls. These boys were probably 8-11. My oldest is almost 7. That is a recipe for disaster in my book because they are actual boys. Before 7 all kids are the same, but I've noticed a real divide beginning around the end of 1st grade. I don’t care what anyone says, boys and girls are different creatures even if you allow them to participate in activities usually ascribed to the other gender. Around 7, they don't see each other as a variation of their own gender but something mysterious and different... Not that these boys would have done anything but I know plenty of stories where little girls saw their first penis from an older boy... No thanks. Revelation two- testosterone in high doses is something I'm not all about.
My daughters love eating but I watched as the boys kept coming back for plate after plate of food. I was impressed with how much they ate. Revelation three... Boys need lots of fuel for all that energy they are burning off.
By the end of the family gathering I was exhausted and all I did was watch and worry. I mean what about the moms who kept asking their sons to be respectful to others or to stop doing x, y, z? They had to be tired. Revelation four- although all parenting is tiresome, boys will wear you out physically. My daughters make me tired mentally. That's a lot but adding that physical component was insane for me to watch.
Revelation five is very important. Boys need their dads... It's dire. I mean moms can yell, scold and punish but mention “dad” and kids (boys and girls) are shook. It's really important that men are examples for their kids and are very hands on in the parenting, because it's necessary.
These are broad generalizations, true. And these boys were actually well behaved for what I’ve seen on playgrounds and in classrooms. But still…. I respect the fact that it's hard raising a boy or a girl. There are challenges that go with both genders just as there are great triumphs as well. But I think having 3 girls is a challenge I can handle. I tip my hat to moms raising sons... Especially if they are doing it alone (alone can include having a spouse that is worthless mind you). I must say I want no parts of raising boys... It's crazy. Bring on the tampons and the crying and the dolls and the tulle and lace. Bring the girly whatever... I'll deal with that stereotypical stuff. I can do all the "boy" stuff with them too. Sorry not sorry... I'm glad I have daughters.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.