I’m truly blessed to be a boy-mom and a girl-mom. We have one of each and it’s awesome to get to experience both. It’s amazing how two children, raised the same way, can be so different and have such distinct personalities.
Our son is very gentle, always helping and giving, a real people-pleaser. While he can be stubborn at times, he mostly abides and does what he’s told. Our daughter, on the other hand, is dramatic, sweet when she wants to be, and so so strong-willed. In public, she’s often very shy. She’ll turn her head and even close her eyes when someone talks to her. My son, however, will tell anyone who wants to listen everything about himself and anything else he can think of. Sophie is very dainty and particular. Her fine motor skills are pretty refined for only being a year old. She uses her little fingers carefully and walks on her tippy-toes all the time. Jackson, who’s three, is one of the loudest kids I’ve ever been around, especially when he walks. He can never just walk, he’s got to stomp (and I mean STOMP), or hop, or gallop, or waddle like a penguin. He walks…sorry, stomps around the house screaming and roaring and banging on things. He’s all about building things up and tearing them down and making as big a mess as possible in the process.
These differences have taught me so much about myself and life, though. They balance each other out and always keep life interesting. Some of these things might be “first child vs. second child” personality traits, but I think “boy vs. girl” comes into play, too. Here are 4 ways being a mom to both a boy and a girl has altered my perspective of things in life.
1. Fresh air is a game changer…so is playing in the dirt.
Now, I’m not a clean freak by any means, but I will admit that I think of my kid being covered in mud and cringe a little. If you’re like me, it takes a lot of deep breaths to let your kid be a kid sometimes! I tend to get caught up in keeping things tidy or avoiding stains, but with kids, that’s just silly! I’ve learned to let loose a bit and with two kids that are totally outdoorsy, I’ve learned the magic of fresh air and playing in the dirt. Going outside, even for 60 seconds, can turn my whole day around. I’ve never been one to love going outdoors, but now I can’t get enough of it. And to sit down and dig in the dirt with my kids? It’s actually a little therapeutic. It makes me be in the moment. I don’t worry about the mess I’m going to have to clean up, I just enjoy spending time letting my kids be kids.
2. Self-love starts with me.
While society puts pressure on the way boys are “supposed” to look, I think there’s an added pressure on girls. It wasn’t until I had a girl that I finally learned to love my body just the way it is. After having Sophie, I realized that the most she will learn about how to love and accept herself starts with me and the example I set. I actually wrote a whole post about it called Babies and Bodies. You can check it out here.
3. There’s no such thing as girl toys and boy toys.
With each kid, we’ve been pretty particular about the toys we’ve bought them. Boy: you think trucks, dinosaurs, rough and tough. Girl: you think sparkles, baby dolls, all things pink. However, once Sophie was old enough to play, I realized that isn’t the case. She loves driving cars around and thinks it’s funny to roar like a dinosaur. Jackson loves dressing up and seeing how many little toys he can fit in the old purse I initially gave to Sophie. They don’t see pink or blue, girl or boy. They see TOYS! They’re just excited to have something to play with.
4. Everyone’s parenting styles are different, even your own from kid to kid.
This may sound a little like a double standard, but what works for one kid will not work for the other. Like I said before, Jackson is the people-pleaser. He thrives off of rewards and making us happy. If he doesn’t want to eat his supper, but he knows we’ll get to do something fun when he’s finished, he’ll try a little harder to eat than complain. If he doesn’t want to go to bed yet, we talk about all the things we’ll do the day after a good night’s sleep and he’s out like a light within minutes. Sophie, on the other hand, doesn’t really care. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to parent that girl. She is so strong-willed. She cares more about getting what she wants when she wants it, making her harder to reason with. It’s really thrown us for a loop, but I do know that what has worked with Jackson just doesn’t work with Sophie, and that’s ok.
These kiddos have changed my life. Sometimes being a mom is really hard, but it’s also fun and always worth it. They’ve taught me so much about life without even knowing it. It’s been awesome getting to experience the differences and similarities between being a boy mom and a girl mom. All the expectations I had before motherhood flew out with window, especially after baby #2. But that’s what makes it one great big adventure.