There’s something weird I’ve noticed over the course of this pregnancy – strangers tend to respond differently when I tell them I’m having a boy than they did when I said I was having a girl. “So what are you having?” the barber/postman/waitress will ask. When I say a boy is on the way, their eyes light up.
“A son! Lucky you! Wow! You must be SOOOOOOO excited!”
I never got this kind of over the top reaction when I told people I was expecting a girl (most people just offered a subdued response like, “Girls are nice.”), and frankly I’m starting to get kind of annoyed about it.
I realize, of course, that a lot of these people have only the best of intentions, especially if Annie is with me and they see I already have a girl, but with others it’s pretty clear they assume men want sons and not daughters (or at least prefer sons to daughters). They don’t just reserve this attitude for dads-to-be, either. I’ve also heard it when people talk about older men and say stuff like, “Poor, Frank. He never got his son.” It makes me sad to think girls might be getting the message from this attitude that they’re not as important as boys, or that their dads don’t care for them as much as their sons.
Part of the reason people feel this way is because, unfortunately, there are a lot of dudes who do want boys and feel like they wouldn’t know what to do with girls. Luckily, a lot of these guys end up being great dads to girls once their little lady arrives, but not all of them do.
Personally, I love being a Dad to little girls, and would have been just as happy to have another beautiful little girl. I think more men would feel the same way if they worried less about gender stuff when raising their kids. I never assume Annie wouldn’t be interested in something just because she’s a girl. I expose her to all the stuff I like, like baseball games and robots, and she loves them too. And the traditionally girlie stuff she’s into like tea parties and princesses? I’m having fun with those too.
Of course, this is an incredibly complex subject that would take a lot more than a blog post (or even a few thousand) to get to the bottom of. With that said, I do think only good can come from people making the conscious effort to treat expecting dads with the same level of excitement regardless of whether they’re having a boy or a girl.