“Oh no! You’re having another boy!”
I heard a woman say this to an expecting mom sitting behind my eldest daughter and me at swim class earlier this week.
I legit almost turned around to ask the woman if she knew that what she just said was rude, but before I could even develop enough courage to confront and correct a stranger (which I never do), she spewed out more unthoughtful and utterly ridiculous comments.
“You’ll just have to keep trying for a girl,” she said to the not-so-young very pregnant mom, who was trying to contain the behavior of her toddler-aged son bouncing on her lap.
Even my daughter was involuntarily privy to these comments. My daughter confusingly looked at me as the lady continued the conversation stating that “girls are just more well-behaved.”
Oh. My. Freaking. Goodness.
Listen, I don’t believe that this woman meant to sound malicious. I don’t think this woman intended to offend, hurt, or discourage the soon-to-be mother of two, but the fact remains that she was offensive.
While I can’t speak for the pregnant woman whose name I do not know, I can speak for myself, and as a mother of a boy, I was offended. I was hurt. I was discouraged that there are still people in this world that don’t think before they speak.
This woman’s unwelcomed comments are hurtful to all boy moms.
This woman’s biased statements are hurtful to those that struggle to have children.
This woman’s voiced contentions are hurtful to those women that only want their children to be happy and healthy, regardless of their gender.
While I do agree that “boy energy” is very different than “girl energy,” I believe it to be an inaccurate generalization to say that girls are just more well-behaved.
Kids are kids, boy or girl.
A colicky infant is an extremely fussy baby, boy or girl.
A tough toddler is a challenging preschooler, boy or girl.
It is our parenting, coupled with their innate characteristics, which shape our children into who they are. It is the negative stereotypes and generalized remarks about boys, made in front of boys, that make it hard for them not to believe they are “too much work” and “too much trouble.”
You see, children tend to emulate what we tell them they are or what they believe it is we want them to be. Either by way of our subtle whispered remarks that we speak under our breath or those that we boisterously voice out of frustration and exasperation, children come to believe they are what the adult tells them they are.
And, you know what? I use that term adult very loosely here, because despite your age and experience, lady whose name I don’t know, your behavior is not very adult-like. In fact, your pigeon-holing of boys as not good enough so you must continue to try for a girl is ludicrous and unnecessary.
Is my boy intense and high-spirited? Oh my goodness, yes. Does my only boy challenge the heck out of me every damn day? Yes, no doubt; so much that I wrote about it.
It is our job as parents, grandparents, and members of the general public who will be interacting with children to understand and support all children in their moments of calm and their moments of fervor.
Boys are darn strong; they are fantastic, and they have fun. They are productive, and they are passionate. They are curious and exciting to be around. They feel, and they feel a lot, and that only furthers the depth of their learning.
And, you know what else? Boys will never be worthy of an “oh no!”