don’t blame the girls

by humanmama on March 8, 2013

When I first had kids, I noticed something interesting. Everyone loves a baby, true, but even from pregnancy there’s a difference between girls and boys. “A son is a son ’til he takes a wife,” I heard, “a daughter is yours for the rest of your life.” Hmm. I wanted to like that, I guess, since my first came out a girl, but it didn’t always sit just right with me. What did that mean–a son moves away and takes care of his family, but a daughter is with you forever? Is she okay with that? Will I be? What if she wants to move away?

Okay, overthinking it, I guess. But they kept coming. When I was pregnant with my second we knew it was a girl. “Ohh, a daughter steals your beauty,” I heard, which is what people say (I guess) after the baby comes out and you’re left with stretch marks and black under-eye circles. “I don’t like that,” I said to Carpenter, “I think we blame women for enough.”

When the girls were littler, we often were stopped so people could lament to Carpenter. “I hope you have enough bathrooms for three women!!” Or even “Three females! I hope you’re dog is a boy!” [Nope.] The Carp was always pretty impressive in these situations, pretty much either ignoring the comments or diverting: “I know! Pretty great, right?!” They’d continue on:I hope you’re ready! Teenage girls are horrible!”And, as soon I was pregnant again, it started anew. “Trying for the son, eh?!”

Well, it was a son. And I was a little worried. What would people say? What wouldn’t people say? “You FINALLY got the son!” “Oh, boys are so wonderful/ so cuddly/ more attentive than daughters,” I heard. Really?! When I was pregnant I’d say “I haven’t thrown up this time,” and parents of sons would give me that knowing glance: yes. Sons. I also heard “oh get ready! Boys are tough, they’re so different than girls,” but that was usually when my girls were wrestling their boys in the backyard. I knew we’d be okay, but what about my kids? Were they all growing up in a world that still devalued women and blamed them for everything? Stealing beauty? Being more difficult as teenagers? Or would my son grow up with the stigma that he was “worse” than the girls, naughtier, and would the girls have to deal with that too–be good, girls–remember how a LADY acts, right?

Well, it’s okay. I realize that I make my famliy, and so if the boys are tough and the girls are dainty and the boys love their mama forever and the girls take care of me ’til I die–that’s all stuff that I raised them to do. Or not do. If I constantly devalue them (“Let the boys do that”) they’ll grow up weaker. If I praise one gender over another they’ll believe it, too. So instead we just try to move on, little by little, through our lives, loving each other and reminding the kids of how much they can DO with their lives (no matter the gender)–all while expecting the same level of rule-following from all of them.

And, when the time comes to answer for why mom looks so haggard and exhausted? Don’t worry. I’ll blame them all evenly.

 boys vs. girls

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