Our first two kids were girls, which was perfectly fine by me. I loved my girls. I understood girls. Girls were my jam.
When we found out our third baby was a boy, I freaked a little inside. What was I going to do with a boy? I worried that I wasn’t going to understand him. Worse, I worried that I wasn’t going to love him as much as I loved my girls.
Moms of boys kept telling me that there was nothing like the bond between mother and son. They kept saying it, but I couldn’t picture it. I figured they were just “boy moms,” who always wanted boys, got boys, and loved boys. I didn’t want to tell them that I didn’t really want a boy, didn’t get boys, and was honestly afraid that I couldn’t love a boy.
Then our son was born. And in the past seven years, I’ve experienced exactly what those moms were talking about. As much as I bonded with girls and as close as I am to them, there’s just something about a boy and his mama that’s qualitatively different. It’s hard to explain exactly how the relationship is different — it’s just different.
One of the things I worried about was the rambunctiousness I’d observed in a large percentage of kids with a Y chromosome. Our first daughter was super mellow, and while our second daughter had quite a wild streak, neither of our girls held a candle to their boy cousins in the rough-and-tumble department. And sure enough, our boy did come with an extra dose of physical energy. He is, as some would say, “all boy.”
But coupled with that energy came an unbelievable sweetness in the way he shows his love for me. When my son snuggles, his whole body melts into me. When he was a preschooler, he would grab me by the cheeks and plant a dozen kisses on my face, saying, “Mommy, I just love you soooo much!” He’s told me on more than one occasion that he wants to marry me. He loves me with a fierceness and intensity that is just different from the love from my girls.
And my feelings for him are qualitatively different from those I have for my girls too. Where I’m pretty good at not giving in to my girls’ puppy dog eyes, I find my son a bit more irresistible. Maybe part of that is that he’s the baby of the family, but my husband finds the opposite to be true for him and our kids. When our girls give Dad the sad eyes, he just melts. My son can turn on just the slightest bit of charm, and I’m a goner.
I really didn’t expect there to be this much of a difference. I’m not generally one to assign specific behaviors or qualities to gender, and always thought it sounded a little sexist for moms to say that their relationships with their sons are different from what they have with their daughters. But in my experience, it’s true. Boys simply adore their mamas. And the feeling is mutual.
I still have fears and uncertainties about raising my son. I still wouldn’t trade the relationship I have with my girls for anything in the world. I still find a lot more to relate to with my daughters. But my son fills a place in my heart that I didn’t even know was there. I’ve been converted and transformed by my relationship with this little boy.
Moms of both boys and girls — at least every one I’ve met — can attest to the special connection moms have with their sons. And I’ve been told by older moms that that bond of affection and adoration never really goes away. I’m counting on it, as it would break my heart to think otherwise.
My sweet boy will someday become a sweet man. He’ll have many other loves come into his life, and I will happily step aside when they do. Because even though he’ll eventually give his heart to another, I know there’s a dedicated place in it for me. Nothing can replace the bond between a boy and his mama.
Annie Reneau is a mother of three addicted to coffee and wanderlust. On good days, she enjoys juggling motherhood, work, and the somewhat baffling choice to homeschool her offspring. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone. She writes at Motherhood and More and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
All images courtesy of the talented Marian Tudor at Marian Tudor Photography.