I’ve been reading a book called It’s a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons. The book is a compilation of essays written by mothers of sons. Many of the essays touch on the idea that raising sons is different than raising daughters. Some of the essayists go on to claim that mothers and sons have a special bond and relationship that cannot be duplicated in the relationship between mothers and daughters. Many of these mothers claim it’s easier to raise a son than it is a daughter.
Ever since having Ryan, I have been intrigued by this idea. You see, while I was pregnant, I will admit to having what Andrea Buchanan, compiler of this book of essays, coined “prenatal boy anxiety.” The thought of having a boy rather scared me. What was I, Ms. non-athletic, going to do with a boy?? I really thought there was no way I’d end up with a boy, because even as a kid, I always envisioned myself having a girl. I even remember asking a mother of two sons once how she could STAND having two sons and no daughters?! I think my reasoning was, as a child and even more recently when I was expecting, that because I AM a girl, I would just automatically ‘know’ what to do with a girl, and would be able to relate to her because we share the same gender. I don’t even consider myself a real hard-core girly girl type, but I still thought it would come very naturally to me to play dress up, have tea parties, paint toenails, and go shopping. And that it may not come so naturally to me to toss a football, dig worms out from under rocks, and make robots. (I know! So many gender stereoptypes! But those things were going through my head.) So, as my pregnancy progressed, I kept envisioning the baby as a girl. Until the last couple weeks, that is, when the stubborn little bugger wouldn’t budge from his cross-legged, head up, booty down position, then the thought DID cross my mind that I might be dealing with a boy here. But still, it came as a shock to hear the word’s “it’s a boy” when FatJ was finally able to identify those boy parts through all the blood and guts of my c-section.
And what did I do when I heard “it’s a boy”? I burst into tears. And I know part of those tears were for the daughter that didn’t materialize after months of imagining her. But then…I saw the boy. And it was love at first sight. From that moment on there was no looking back on the thoughts of a girl. (Except for maybe a few exclamations over the ensuing days by FatJ or I when we said “Can you BELIEVE it’s a BOY??”)
So now, I’m the mother of a son. Soon after Ryan was born people began telling me how special it is to have a son. What an indescribable bond a mother and son have. And how different it is raising a son than it is raising a daughter. How much easier, is what I’ve heard people say. Nine+ months in, I can confidently say that I love being the mother of a son! We definitely have what I would describe as a positive mother/son bond going on (if Ryan had his way, we’d be permanently welded together at the hip). I’m no longer worried about being awful at sports and even more awful at math. I love that none of his clothes are pink, and that I don’t have to look at any pretty princess girly crud. I know we can still have tea parties, and if he wants to play with a doll that’s fine with me. I’m also excited to teach him everything I know about sports, and know that where my knowledge stops, Ryan’s dad, uncles, grandpas, and any other male in his life can jump right in and provide all sorts of manly knowledge. And, come to think of it, when I was little I liked playing with trucks! I liked digging in sandboxes! I like building with blocks, constructing things, pounding things….and I think it will be lots of fun to do all this stuff with my boy!!
So back to the question from above. I’d like to know what others think. Is raising a son really easier than raising a daughter? I guess I could see how with a boy you wouldn’t have to deal with so much catty drama, hormonal changes, mood swings, and other female issues. But is there more to it than that? And what about this mysterious special bond between a mother and a son? Is a bond with a son really a lot different than a bond with a daughter? If you are currently raising both boys and girls, or if you’ve already experienced raising both genders up to adulthood, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Even if you don’t have kids, but can add to the discussion based on your own experiences growing up, please chime in.