"Deep down, every mother really wants a daughter," the woman standing next to me at the bar said smugly.
What? Really? No, that's not true! That was it, I'd heard enough. After almost 10 years as a mother of boys, I couldn't keep quiet any more. I'd been hearing it for years — almost a decade to tell the truth — and I couldn't take it anymore. No, every mother doesn't really want a daughter and even so, who was she to be informing me of this. Unfortunately for this stranger, whom I'd only just met at a cocktail party at an industry convention, she said the wrong thing at the wrong time and became the unsuspecting victim of my verbal rage.
If I really think about it, it started mere minutes after my first child was born. Always a fan for a surprise, we didn't find out what we were having with either of my pregnancies. And both times, I was shocked to give birth to sons. Though I have a brother, my mother came from three generations of families with only daughters. But my husband was one of three boys. So there was that. But unlike some people, who prayed to have a child of one sex or another, I really didn't have a preference with either of my children. And after having my first son, I was actually frightened by the idea of having a daughter — I knew what I was doing with a boy. I'd have a learn a whole new way of wiping with a daughter!
But when I was pregnant with my second son, even strangers would stop me and say things like, "I bet you're hoping for a daughter." Or, "Now that you have a son, you need a daughter." It's amazing how someone else's pregnancy completely removes the filter from some people's brains.
And then my perfect, snuggly, adorable second son arrived. It didn't take long for strangers' loose lips to start flapping again.
"You'll try for the girl, right?"
"Sons are wonderful, but it's a daughter that takes care of her parents when they're old."
"A son's a son until he takes a wife, a daughter's a daughter all of her life."
"You know, my friend's friend used
this method to guarantee her third would be a daughter and it worked. Want me to ask her about it?"
I've heard it all, and I've never let it get to me before. My family's complete, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, I have my old sorority sweatshirt and some childhood jewelry boxed up in case a niece wants it one day, but I truly cherish my life as a mother of boys. Which is why the comment probably stung as much as it did.
I was working my way up to the bar with a friend who had recently given birth to her second son. We were chatting about the conference and working mom issues, when an acquaintance of hers, who hadn't seen her since she gave birth, wanted to know what she had. "A son!" my friend exclaimed. "Oh," the woman, who happens to be the mother of a daughter, said a bit deflated. "I'm sure you were hoping for a girl." And that's when I launched into her.
Don't project your insecurities or your own issues onto me or any other mom for that matter. Just because you want something, doesn't mean I do. And don't make this a competition. There's more than enough competition in the mommy world to go around. Let's not start competing about something we have no control over.
All of this is to say that we need to be nicer to people. We need to take people's feelings into consideration. We need to consider some of the basic tenets of preschool — be nice, say nice things, think before you speak, etc. While I considered myself to be blessed to have two sons who would walk on water for me (and after seeing how my husband and his brothers care for their mother, I know I have a lifetime of support ahead of me), I'm sure there are moms of sons out there who desperately want a daughter. And mothers of daughters who dream of having sons. There's no perfect formula for what makes a family whole. But I do know that I wouldn't change mine for all of the tutus, tiaras, and estrogen in the world.