“But boys are so much easier!” They told me, “Why would you want a girl? It’s all drama, drama drama...” And so the conversations would go. Every time I mentioned my desire to have a girl, almost every mother in the room felt the need to fill me in on how lucky I was that mine turned out to be boys. I couldn’t argue with them, I am lucky to have four wonderful, healthy boys. But that shouldn’t negate my desire to raise a daughter.
Boys and girls are different, just as one child is different from the next. All four of my boys have different personalities and dispositions that have nothing to do with their gender. My oldest is thoughtful, skilled in spatial thinking and hyper. My second son would rather play video games then eat and is as cuddly as a teddy bear. My only niece is a rambunctious two year old that loves to dance and has a firey temper. None of these personalities are tied to the gender of the child that owns them. Just imagine the description of my niece’s personality, had I said she was a boy. It wouldn’t make a difference, would it? Any child could be rambunctious, love to dance and have a temper.
So why do we hold on to this stereotype that girls as a group, are harder to parent? Why do we think that our sons will love their mothers deeper than our daughters will? Parenting and raising children is so much more than the everyday struggles that those flawed arguments focus on.
My longing to raise a daughter has nothing to do with the frilly dresses or pink barrettes (though they are adorable!). I want to be the mother of a girl because I want to raise a woman. I want to teach her everything that I was taught and everything that I wish I had been taught. I want to give her confidence and teach her humility; show her her worth and teach her to love; embrace her sexuality and teach her not to be ashamed; give her the tools to become anything that she wants to be and the courage to find her path.
I want to be the mother of a daughter so that I can be a part of that mother line. We come from our mothers and we live on through our daughters. We connect through our shared experience of being female and being mothers. As women we share a special strength and I believe that the relationship between mothers and daughters is an expression of that strength.
I am a mother, and I am lucky to be one. In time, I may be granted the honour of raising a daughter or I might not. If that is the case then I will continue to raise my sons to be the best men that they can be and through them my granddaughters will come. If I teach those same skills of worth, love, confidence and courage to my sons, they will pass those on to their daughters.
I may not be a part of the mother line, in the way that I had always hoped I would be. But with my sons, I am still a mother and I have the same job to do.