As Parents of Boys: Does the Worry EVER End?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a statement that I know a lot of people will have an issue with but it needs to be said so here goes: when it comes to having children, girls are better than boys.

There. It’s said.

And I have to say I welcome any and all to refute or argue that this is not true. My own incontrovertible arguments are below.

It has been my experience as an only girl with three brothers and as the mother of an only boy that a boy is born and then begins a fairly constant campaign of trying to kill himself from then on.

You do not find girls flipping through gun magazines at age eight. You don’t see girls trying to create their own mailbox bomb at ten or taking apart the laptop because “You didn’t look like you were using it much and I wanted to see how it worked.” You just don’t.

I have friends with girl children and they have plenty to complain about but none of the whining or gossiping or nonstop talking or whatever gripe you have about daughters can compare with the worry you must live with on a daily basis when your child is a boy.

My older brother got his pilot’s license on his sixteenth birthday, before he even collected his driver’s license, which he did the very next day. My mother, when it became evident that my son was also mad for jets, said: “Do yourself a favor, forbid him to learn to fly now and save yourself the terror you’ll experience every time he walks out the door.”

Unfortunately, when I laid down the edict to my son, like most things, I went too far. I told him something along the lines of : “I don’t want you to fly as long as I am taking breath on this earth.” Maybe not surprisingly, the thought of my dying does not appear to unduly unsettle him. Rather, he finds himself wondering how old he’ll be (i.e. when I die) and if there’ll be a flying school near his house.

Boys want to do dangerous things with dangerous implements and they want to do them pretty much from the moment they can reach. I have a girlfriend who had three girls before she and her husband were surprised with their last, a boy. She told me the story of how she handed down to this, her last child, a wooden toy that all her daughters had played with as babies. She said the first time she gave it to him—he still couldn’t walk yet—he gave it a whack that broke it into three useless pieces.

Boys are so different.

My husband’s cousin’s son achieved fame within the family (posthumously, I must add) when, clowning around with his pals, he climbed a telephone pole and then reached for the wrong wire.

Can you imagine a girl doing this?

“A daughter is a daughter all of her life, a son is a son ‘til he takes a wife.

I have quoted this line to friends who had baby girls for years before I became a parent myself. I am that kind of daughter. The kind who calls and worries and visits and keeps my parents, now just my mother, in my daily thoughts and activities. On more than one occasion, my son, now seventeen, has offered the lawn mower shed to his father and me in the backyard of whatever home he eventually moves to when we are in our dotage.

I think being a parent means learning to manage fear just about all the time. When you treasure something that much, you’re constantly worried about losing it, but with a boy, the worry is racheted up several notches higher. I mean, really, what is there to worry about with a girl?

That she’ll drink or do drugs? That worry is not exclusive to girls and boys have a worse peer pressure for doing those kinds of naughty things.

That she’ll be abducted, raped and murdered? Sorry, that also is not exclusive to girls.

That she’ll get pregnant? Please. Not the end of the world. Nobody dies in this scenario. Next.

That she’ll get a DUI (or worse)? New statistics have come out that indicate teenage girls are delaying getting their driver’s licenses. So, fewer of them are driving until later when they’re more mature. Boys are LESS mature at 16 than girls are at that age and THEY are not delaying getting their licenses!

How about that she’ll want to play with guns or bash her brains out playing football or decide to join the Army or take up rock climbing so she can hang from a precipice 10,000 feet up and make you go totally WHITE before your time?

Boys are different.

My son is into backpacking and he’s recently bought a camping hammock. To me, the hammock resembles one of those contraptions you hang bananas in until they ripen, not unlike, I assume, how a hungry bear will view my son.

Which brings me to the end and the seemingly innocuous incident which prompted this post in the first place. Upon returning home from school today, my son grabbed a hatchet and said: “Heading into the woods, Mom, to find something for Dad’s birthday.”

Seriously. Can you honestly imagine a girl uttering these words? (Fortunately, it was a tree, not an animal in his crosshairs but even so, there was blood involved when it was all over.)

Boys. Are. Different.

And finally, what about the undeniable comfort one parent gets from the solidarity of being able to share fears and concerns with the other parent? Let me refute that myth right now. When my husband came home tonight, he dropped his briefcase and headed out the back door, yelling over his shoulder in the direction of my son’s bedroom: “Hurry, John! Neighbor said there’s a nest of copperheads in the back yard.”

Seriously?

ALL. Boys. Are. Different.

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11 thoughts on “As Parents of Boys: Does the Worry EVER End?

  1. that last part about your hubby was hil-arious!!! I agree with this post although my boys are still young and I have no idea (besides reading posts like yours) what I’m in for. But I’m already seeing signs of … craziness. very good post!

  2. AMEN SISTER!! I am sick of people acting like having boys is sooo much easier than girls. I especially love your point about girls getting pregnant and some parents acting like that is the worst possible thing that could happen. I will quote my best friend, who has 2 girls: “At least girls get pregnant one at a time. Boys can get more than one girl pregnant at once!” haha! Both my stepsons got their hunting license this year…and my husband got them “Rambo knives” for Christmas. Like, REAL knives! How do I sleep at night, you ask? Not well, Susan. Not well. Great post! 🙂

  3. I don’t have kids yet, but I totally fear everything about it when I do! Great post though, nice mix of humour and reality.
    It’s not always true though – my brother is the one who stayed close to home with a nice safe desk job. At 16 I told my parents I wanted to join the army and I now live 3000 miles away. Daughters can be worrisome too!

  4. Omigosh!!! I TOTALLY agree. I am married to a man, I have two boys, and even my dog and cat are both boys. I often look at them and think… how could that one little Y chromosome make them so different? All of them. Your last statement about your husband pretty much summed it up. I can look at my sons and think “ok, they’re boys,” but then I listen to my husband sometimes and think, “omigosh, he’s still really just a boy.” Girls can walk by a pile of rocks for days without picking one up, but you send the first Y chromosome sporting person down that same path, and I guarantee they will pick one up and throw it at something. No matter what. Always.

  5. Yep, that pretty much sums it up! I have two boys (3 and 5). If there is a rock or pointy stick within one mile, they will find it and use it against their brother. I envy our next door neighbors with two girls the same age. It’s tea parties an dress up all the time for them!
    On top of it, my husband is a commercial fisherman. Not only do I worry about him out on the water, but I dread the day he takes our boys fishing with him!
    It’s true, the worry never stops.

  6. Great post Susan! I have four boys in my life…including my husband! Although my kids are still young (two elevens and eight), they are everything that you had written. It freaks me out when my elder twin is glued to History Channel watching Top Gear or Discovery Channel’s Young Guns. The other twin dreams to do all the gravity-defying dunks of Michael and Kobe. And the youngest? He is learning to play musical instruments…but he needed to disassemble them so he finds out how they work! How about my eldest (my husband)?I do not have to expound. He is one of them. I am trying to get as much sleep as I can now in preparation for the challenges ahead!!! Boys.Are.Really.Different!

  7. Susan- I grew up in a family of four girls. My sisters and I are very close now (not in proximity, sadly) though we weren’t always. I’m attempting my very first writing project based on our lives growing up together. I can tell you as a teacher of teens for most of my life, the mother of a twenty-something son, the aunt to four nieces all under the age of 7 and two nephews aged 10 and 7, that you are absolutely spot-on. Yes; girls are better than boys. I don’t think a rational being could argue this. In fact, my son would be the first to defend you in your position. 🙂

  8. I love this article! I have 3 boys and 1 girl. I love my boys. I love their ambition and their need to shoot things and take other things apart. When they argue and fight, they get it over with and move on. No bringing it up 3 months to a year later. I always say they scrabble like a pile of puppies and its over. No I won’t ever stop worrying about my boys. I will always be on edge to waiting to hear what is next. But to smooth this all over, I always conclude the best thing about my boys is “They always love their Momma!” Although I would never give back my daughter, I think the boys are better.
    I see my daughter at 12 worrying about more than she should. Trying to fit in at school, thinking a boyfriend is a must and god-forbid counting the days until she gets her first period. I can’t seem to get her to enjoy being her. She is growing up too fast and that has so many more worries for me, than the boys excitement about the next Airsoft tournament. Most of all I appreciate each one of them and their uniqueness. It is awesome being a parent!

    • I was 3 boys/only girl growing up and my husband had the same sibling set up in his family. When I knew I was pregnant with a boy, my mother (mom to three of ’em) told me (and risked hurting my feelings as her only daughter, I have to say!) that boys were the best for mothers. If you can put the constant worry aside (can anyone?) I have to say I do know what she means (a boy’s affection for his mama is singular if rarely-displayed, LOL!) but I don’t have a daughter to compare it to.

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