Raising kids is hard sometimes. In fact, as I’m writing this, I have a million kid-related things to do, and I feel as if I’m coming down with the fracking flu, even though I know I’m probably just anemic and fatigued because of my extra heavy girl week this month.
No amount of coconut butter can give me energy right now -- it's really sad. Point is, it’s really tough doing all those mom things when I can barely move from the sofa.
Now that Oliver is eight and can wipe his own butt and tie his own shoes, I find the most challenging aspects of having a kid, for me, have less to do with the kid and more to do with whatever is going on with me at the time. Like, if I didn’t have this pounding headache, I could probably cope a lot better with everything I need to do “as a mom.” If I’m feeling tired or sick or just grumpy, everything seems more difficult.
I have to be honest: for the most part, being a mom isn’t that hard for me. I love my kid, I make the best decisions I can for him, I feed and clothe him, I make sure he does his homework, and I take care of him if he gets sick. Of course, I am skating through an easy age with him right now -- he’s beyond the terrible twos (and threes, fours and fives), and he hasn’t hit that moody pubescent age, which I’m guessing will gradually start to happen in a year or two. This is the Golden Age of kid-dom.
But when Oliver was younger, he was That One Kid at preschool -- you know the one, the kid who won’t sit still during story time -- and I often wondered if having a girl would be easier. Observing the other kids at his preschool, it seemed like the boys were more active and vocal and “wild” and the girls played quietly off in a corner with blocks or whatever.
“I bet those girls don’t go home and do parkour off the furniture,” I thought. I longed for the peace and quiet that must come from having a child who was so mellow. I remember thinking that those parents with girls were so lucky.
In fact, when I was pregnant I was SO SURE that Oliver was a girl, that I didn’t believe the doctor when she said he was a boy. Part of my confidence had to do with my own sort of dark sense of karmic retribution -- you see I was really horrible to my mother when I was a teenager; I thought my penance would be to have a girl who would then also be horrible to me, thereby completing the perfect cycle of life.
Instead, I ended up with a little boy who is probably the sweetest kid on the planet, and while he is certainly full of energy (which is still a challenge, especially when I’m feeling poorly and just want to be a lump on the sofa) he is a “mama’s boy,” if I may use that silly term. We have a really great relationship.
And I’m pretty confident that when he hits those preteen years and starts butting heads with his dad, our relationship will stay strong. I mean sure, he’ll hate both of us and probably be a jerk sometimes, but I’m willing to bet he’ll be less of a jerk to me by default, because I’m the mom.
So are boys easier to raise than girls? A survey found that almost half of respondents wanted their first child to be a boy, and of those people, half said it was because they believed boys are easier to raise than girls.
I call bullshit! Some boys are probably easy and some boys are challenging (did I mention the parkour?) Just as some girls play quietly with their toys, and some girls are That One Kid who won’t sit still during story time.
Really, you don’t know what kind of a kid you have until it’s too late to return them to the kid store or whatever, and whether your baby is a boy or a girl isn’t a very good predictor of how easy or difficult they will be as they get older. And even those quiet three-year-old girls playing nicely with their blocks? They're going to be horrible to their moms in about 10 years.
So -- am I totally wrong here? Are boys easier to raise than girls? And were you a horrible human being to your mother when you were a teenager, like I was? Ugh, I feel so bad about that now.
Somer is on Twitter: @somersherwood