Raising Boys. It’s not what I expected, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I remember a few days after getting home from the hospital when my second son was born, my brother- and sister-in-law came to visit and meet their new nephew. My husband greeted them downstairs with our 2-year-old while I was upstairs nursing the infant. “They’re here!” he yelled up to me. “I’m nursing the baby,” I called back. It was true. But I was also sobbing.
[Let me get this out of the way. I LOVE MY BOYS. More than anything. Bigger than the universe, as I tell them. More than I ever knew was humanly possible before having kids. I wouldn’t change this family for the world. But I expected to have girls.]
We didn’t find out the gender of either of our first two babies. After all, I was thrilled just to be growing my family, and knew that any baby would be the perfect baby for me. But as a girly-girl, it was quite an adjustment when I became a M.O.B. the first time, and here I was, the second time around, with a second son. This time, I had been 99% sure that I was having a girl. So sure that we hadn’t even picked a boy’s name until one night, three weeks before my due date, when I told my husband we should pick a boy’s name just in case. It’s a good thing, because I went into labor that night and met adorable baby E the next evening.
So why was I sobbing? Everything was perfect as a family of 4 with a happy, healthy newborn. It took me years to admit this, but that day I cried for ME. For all the things I thought I’d miss out on by not having a daughter. I mourned the motherhood experience I had always expected, and I was filled with uncertainty about how I’d fit into the life of boys. “Boys love their mommies,” people always tell me. But the last time I checked, so do girls.
I was stuck, wondering who would have bonding days with shopping trips and fancy lunches with me. Was I now sentenced to a lifetime of action figures I know nothing about and gory movies instead of chic flicks? What would vacations be like, with me being the only one in our hotel room to actually sit on the toilet seat while the rest of the family carelessly sprinkled it and blamed the others? Will they love their daddy more than their mommy? Will they bond more with him, and will I be lonely? Will I feel as loved as I know my mom does from her sweet daughters?
The feelings were raw and they were real, but I felt so guilty and selfish thinking them that I kept them to myself for years. But I now know this: action figures are fun, stereotypes aren’t always true (my boys have asked to have their nails painted, and they love to bake with me), every child is different, pee on the seat is – indeed – inevitable, boys DO love their mommies, and mommies love their boys. With a few years of M.O.B. life under my belt, I’ve been able to reassure friends who are having boys that it’s going to be more than alright. It’s going to be an adventure, and it’s going to be amazing.
How did you feel when you found out it was a boy?