The Joy of Having Boys

The Joy of Having Boys

When pregnant, did (or do) you secretly hope to have a boy or a girl? Honestly, seven years ago, I was nervous when I discovered I was pregnant with a boy. What if I couldn’t connect to my son? Worse, what if he didn’t connect with me? But then of course (OF COURSE!), I fell head over heels crazy in love. Here, nine moms, including myself, share what they love about having sons…

Toby has always been a die-hard romantic (exhibit A, exhibit B). But recently Anton has gotten swept up in the excitement of all things fancy, as well. Last week, they asked if we could dress up and go to a nice dinner. They took a bath, THEY WASHED THEIR HAIR and they picked out nice clothes — including blazers and light-up sneakers. “Mommy,” Toby said seriously, as he combed his hair, “you should probably wear a dress.” We decided on our neighborhood Indian restaurant. During dinner, Anton wriggled off his chair, crawled into my lap, and spent the rest of the meal cuddled in my arms. I find these two so delightful — I literally delight in them. They are the great joys of my life.

The Joy of Having Boys

I cried in the car after finding out the sex of our baby during my first pregnancy. What would I have in common with a son? But after Hugo was born, all those fears evaporated. The mutual adoration was real and intense. We were together so much during that first year that I called him my little barnacle. It makes me laugh to think that I ever questioned how we’d relate. Not only does he love so many of the same things I do — books and baking and knock-knock jokes and cuddles, to name just a few — but it has been remarkably fun to discover the other things that bring him joy — pirates and animals and music and his unbridled imagination. When we had our second child, I found myself hoping it would be another boy. I’m thrilled to be the mother of two sons, whose all-encompassing love is the most special thing in my life. — Luisa Weiss

The Joy of Having Boys

Six-year-old Eli sometimes asks to “do my hair” and it’s so sweet. When I say yes, he gets excited like it’s a special treat. He brushes out my hair until it’s “really soft and smooth,” then he makes ponytails or braids (he just learned to braid). He’s always eager to find out if I like the results. I’ve raised my boys very gender neutral, supporting all their interests and never ever saying that something is “for girls” or “for boys.” But for some reason I never imagined playing “hair salon” with my son. It has been a pleasant surprise! — Lena Corwin

The Joy of Having Boys

Oak is hilarious and has no sense of boundaries. Everyone is his friend: the crossing guard, the stranger at the flea market, the guy at the bodega. Literally, he will walk up to anyone and say “Wass your name? I Oakie!” And that free spirit and lack of self awareness is so new for me to watch and love. I’ve learned so much as his mother. — LaTonya Yvette

The Joy of Having Boys

I don’t know what I thought it was going to be like, having a boy, but this beautiful, gentle 17-year-old who drives his sister to the town library and plays Joni Mitchell on the piano and says deadpan things like, “Same,” to make me laugh after I muse aloud that perimenopause is killing me — this is beyond whatever my wildest dreams must have been about babies, boys, people in general. Whatever it is you imagine boys are, or teenagers, I promise you want this. — Catherine Newman

The Joy of Having Boys

I feared my son might prefer things foreign to me. What if he liked sports?! Would I have to fake liking them, too? (That had never worked for me when dating!) But it turns out that I’m so in love with him that experiencing something he likes is entirely different than trying to like it for myself. For example, the other morning at his soccer game, I found myself on the edge of my seat during a heated play. When I realized it, I laughed out loud — that had never happened to me before, but I couldn’t help being swept up in passion as I watched his little body race after the ball with all its might. — Linsey Laidlaw

The Joy of Having Boys

I’m the mother of two sons — ages 28 and 35. When my sons began following their passions, I made a point of reading their Skateboarder and Surfer Magazines. It was fun to learn about those subcultures, and my interest gave us so much to talk about. Likewise, their graffiti phase sharpened my fascination in the tags we’d glimpse around San Francisco. Cooking is where our hobbies intersected. Ned discovered that baking a cake was a fun date; and Alex regularly makes his own gravlax to go with bagels. Nowadays, we talk and text regularly about what we’re up to in the kitchen. — Nicole Young

The Joy of Having Boys

My nine-year-old son is hands-down the most sensitive and empathetic person I have ever known – all ages and genders included. (I have a daughter, too, and we openly acknowledge who the most sensitive family member is!) He notices if I am wearing a new perfume; he sees if I am a little stressed or sad and asks why and if he can help. When I ask if he wants a back scratch at night, he’ll often offer me one in return. — Rony Elka Vardi

The Joy of Having Boys

When Beckett was three, he went through a major Batman phase. He was Batman, and I was his sidekick, fighting crime across every inch of our apartment. “I’m Batman, Mommy. Who’re you going to be?” has been the kick-off question, and, to amuse myself, I’d given some random name off the top of my head. At some point, as the Batman phase was winding down, I remember one of our last battles. We were doing our usual: kicking imaginary villains on the yellow sofa in the playroom, when I turned to him and said, “I love you, Batman.” He looked up at me, straight-faced, and said, “I love you, too, Milli Vanilli.” The image of that moment remains in my mind — those chubby, flushed cheeks; the nylon Batman costume. I had totally forgotten my sidekick’s name from a few months before — but Beckett had not. The most surprising realization of mothering boys is that, for the most part, I forget they’re boys. I think of them as children, as loves of my life, as interesting individuals, as the reason I’m excited to wake up in the morning.” — Lisa Rubisch

The Joy of Having Boys

What about you? Do you have a boy or girl? What has your experience been like? For any mothers-to-be who are secretly nervous about having a son, let me reassure you: you will look back a year from now and not be able to comprehend how much you adore that little person. xoxo

P.S. When I showed him the top photo, Anton said, “Mommy, was I smiling in that photo? Is that smiling?” Haha, kind of!
P.P.S. Toby’s week of outfits, and how to talk to little girls.

(Bottom photo by Lena Corwin.)

  1. Nicole says...

    I have just discovered i’m having a boy and to be honest i’ve shed some tears of disappointment… My dream has always been a girl.
    This whole thing has upset my husband. But in the end I do pray this little boy growing inside my womb to be a healthy and honest humsn being!!

  2. K says...

    I came back to read this post and comments after we just found out the sex of our second baby today. I have a daughter and was really feeling like I wanted to have two girls but today we found out we’re having a boy. I’ll admit disappointment, but I think it really stems from the fact that I’m an older sister with a younger brother and I resented my brother so much when I was young and always wanted a sister (I love him now, but I think my parents did some things unintentionally that fostered resentment). Even a few hours later I’m feeling more excited about it, but now I just feel scared about unintentionally repeating behavior patterns from my childhood and stressed about how different I know my family/in-laws will treat a boy versus girl (they already treat my daughter in a MUCH more gendered way than I do/would prefer and know the difference will be stark).

  3. Karen Benson says...

    I have a boy and a girl and honestly they are surprising so hang up those preconceptions at the door – you never know who you are going to get! My son is quiet in character, loves to cook and is organized, well groomed (though not above a good armpit fart). My daughter would sooner stick mud in her eye than wear a dress or watch/participate in anything pink or girly. SHe is the one who first got obsessed with trains and dinosaurs and legos – she has played baseball on all boys teams and in elementary school was the only girl at all boys dodgeball parties – just how she likes it! Now that she is in middle school she isn’t completely sure who she is yet but it’s still not ‘girly’. She’s just her: funny, wry and sarcastic, bright and curious, athletic, messy. I know you all know this but the stereotypes, or even the temperaments or personalities you picture – are not necessarily what you get. Prepare to be surprised as these humans amaze me you in all their differences.

  4. Emily says...

    Please consider doing a post on the joy of having girls!

    As mom to a three-year-old boy who is the love of my life, I just found out my second baby will be a girl and it’s thrown me for a loop. For whatever reason, I always felt like I was meant to have two boys.

    Hearing from moms of girls what they love about it would be wonderful — everything I’m hearing now is about princess parties and spa days, and I’d love to go deeper than that to hear how others have experienced a special mother-daughter bond.

  5. Bonnie says...

    I’m the mom of four boys (10, 8, 4, 20 mo). With the first, I was sure I was having a girl. A boy seemed completely foreign. Why would I have a boy when I am a girl? Doesn’t make sense, I know…but it seemed that a girl was the only option! I quickly adjusted to having a boy, but with the second, I figured it would be a girl. I already had a boy, after all. Nope. By the third, I thought “maybe we’re just going to have boys,” and with the fourth I only wanted another boy so as not to throw off everything that I had gotten used to so far…a girl would shake things up too much! Anyway, while I sometimes wonder if there are certain things I’ll miss out on by not being a mom to a girl, I am far too busy with my funny, smart, loving and fairly mischievous boys to think about that! It’s all worked out great so far!

  6. NN says...

    We just found out we’re having a boy! I will admit that I’m nervous – so afraid I won’t know how to connect with a boy, or that he’ll just favor his sportsy dad. This post really fills me with love and hope. :)

  7. Pen says...

    Thank you – as a Mum if three glorious boys. I can not agree more with this post. I never imagined how much they would changed me (for the better!). I also find there is s ‘special club’ for Mums of only boys – when I meet other smilar mums – there is normally a knowing but happy smile. Most important, my husband and I love raising sons who know how important it is to be brothers – that friends may come and go but your brother is the most important relationship. Oh to be blessed, thank you again for this post.

  8. Beautifully written!! I am the mother of two boys and just wrote a post about being a “boy mom.” Life is so sweet and precious. I can’t believe I ever wanted something different!

  9. Mrs D says...

    Choked up! Damn! (Catherine Newman I’m looking at you…) I’m a mum of an almost-five year old son, and I cannot wax lyrical enough about how much of a stinking delightful joy he is. I’ll never forget how lucky I am to go on this journey with him. It’s such a privilege. Reading these anecdotes was wonderful and I love hearing about other mums sharing the good vibes the in this sometimes crazy thing called mothering and growing with a son.

  10. Gennea says...

    We didn’t find out the sex of our baby when I was pregnant last year. We always planned on two babies and I always knew I’d rather be a “boy mom” than a “girl mom,” if I didn’t get one of each. So on Christmas Eve when our little boy arrived, I was thrilled! I enjoy him so much! I look forward to raising him to be a strong, loving, and compassionate man for his future partner.

    Honestly, I do yearn for dressing a girl and having mommy/daughter shopping trips to Paris. But my son gives me so much joy, instead I look forward to mommy/son trips to Paris (shopping or not). I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  11. Chelsea says...

    I’m planning on getting pregnant within the next 1-2 years, and to tell you the truth, the idea of having a DAUGHTER is what scares me .. I’ve always, always, ALWAYS wanted a sweet little son. I’m sure I would love a girl all the same but I’ve never had a good relationship with my mother, and I fear it would be the same..

  12. Omaya says...

    Love the love in this post for sons. I’d love to also put in a request to have a post dive into the joys of having daughters too, please!

  13. Emma says...

    I’ve ALWAYS wanted a girl. I have three boys. I still ache when I see baby girls. I’m almost 45 and done having kids (just age/stage of life, I would have another in a second if it fit), so I have a bit of an inner conflict with the guilt of still wanting a girl. As if my boys aren’t enough? Truth is, my boys are wonderful and I wouldn’t trade them for a million girls… I also roll my eyes at my niece’s tween antics and, frankly, I’m not sure I’d be the best girl-Mom (or am I just telling myself that?). Anyways, adoption could be an option but, more likely, I’ll wait to be a grandparent and just be at peace with the fact that I’ll always want another baby (boy or girl really) and that’s just the way I’m programmed.

    • Mrs D says...

      Thank you for your honesty… Your boys are more than enough of course, but I’m sure sometimes you wanna see what it’s like on the other side.

  14. Lunalina says...

    I just found out we’re having a boy. We have a 2.5 yr old girl who is my life and I always assumed I would be a mother of girls, having grown up around girls… it’s all I know. I feel terrible feeling this way, but I feel so disappointed. I am surrounded by little boy toddlers who I can’t relate to at all. All I can think about is the girl who wil never be as this will probably be our last child. I desperately want to feel excited…but it’s not there :(. Anyone been there and can give me good advice?

    • Liz says...

      I’m a mum of 2 boys (7 and 5) as well as a sister of a younger brother. I’m very much a girly girl – love clothes, makeup, shopping, cooking and a good chat, and I love my mum. And little boys are just magic. So loving, so funny and so full of cuddles. Yes – they definitely have more energy than girls and are on the move most of the day (don’t expect a day full of craft and be ready to make friends with the local park!) but the energy is fun and you’ll find your own games to play with them. Don’t be afraid or worried – you will love your little man and you’ll be surprised at the amazing tenderness and the depth of feeling they have. They are certainly a lot simpler than girls emotionally – zero moodiness or emotional manipulation! Just straight happy or sad or angry or falling about laughing. And you will have the best of both worlds – a girl and a boy – so very special. Your daughter will also adore having a little brother and he’ll get to play Barbies with her, and she’ll love playing transformers and cars with him too. It will all balance out and be just beautiful. Congratulations!!

  15. Samantha says...

    I had a difficult time even making it to the car before I was sobbing about having a boy. I, for some reason, always assumed I would have two girls. That paired with the fact that boys in my and my husband’s families are difficult (I have two brothers with ADHD and my husband has a nephew who has ADHD and, we suspect, other undiagnosed issues,) made me terrified to have a boy and I absolutely refused to even entertain the idea that we would be having one. My husband was so mad at me for being so upset about having a boy. I was nervous and afraid unnecessarily, though. He’s a year old now and is calm, affectionate, and just absolutely wonderful and lovely.

  16. Zoe says...

    This brought me to tears (I’m 8 weeks postpartum, most things bring me to tears). When we found out we were having a boy I screamed out loud and cried tears of joy during my ultrasound! I had wanted boys for as long as I can remember but didn’t want to say anything to anyone before finding out the gender of our baby in fear of coming across as “disappointed” if it had been a girl. Yet funnily enough, the day after we found out I went to the mall to treat myself to some baby boy clothes and had a moment of sort of “mourning” the little girl I wasn’t having as I passed all the pretty dresses.

  17. This resonates with me so much!! With three nieces that I am close to and only one nephew, I was hoping to have a girl myself. When I found out I was having a boy, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Girls’ clothes are so much cuter!! We already had a girl’s name picked out!! Boys’ names are HARD!! What do I do with a boy??? But as my pregnancy wore on, I felt more and more connected to my little guy. Now he is seven months old and I can’t imagine it any other way!! I keep thinking if/when we have another child, I wouldn’t mind having TWO boys!

  18. Jenia says...

    Thanks for this post! We have a 1,5 y.o.girl and just found out that the second baby is a boy. Both me and my husband secretly wanted another girl, but this makes me excited!

  19. Gina F says...

    I had a girl first and grew up with a sister. When I found out I was having a boy I was initially saddened and really struggled with it. Then a neighbor told me, “your son will look at you the way your husband used to.” And it is so true. While my husband and I are still fully in love, and my daughter and I have such a special bond, the adoration I receive from my son is unparalleled. I love having the experience of raising both genders, it is the most fun.

  20. cw says...

    Oh man, 8.5 months pregnant with my second boy and this is making me all sorts of teary! Hormones!

  21. Jen says...

    Love cup of jo and this heart-warming/tear-jerking article. I’ve never posted a comment on a blog…but this speaks so deeply to me. My sons, 2.5yrs and 9mos, are the lights of my life. The affection they give is unparalleled. My older son brings me flowers (usually dandelions) often, and asks me to marry him. Last week he did the same for my husband. When I’m hurt (recent c section and laparoscopic surgery), he asks me where I hurt and does pretend acupuncture on me. His little brother is on the same track with cuddles and raspberries. My heart feels like it could explode every single day.