Author Topic: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...  (Read 14572 times)

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MommyPenguin

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Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« on: June 23, 2013, 08:31:31 PM »
So, we now have four little girls, and we already get the comments.  If we end up having a fifth, they'll only increase.  "wow, all girls!  Gonna keep trying until you get that boy?"  "I'll bet your husband is hoping for a boy next time?" If we have another and it's a girl, we'll be asked if we (especially my husband) were hoping for a boy, if we were disappointed, if we'll keep trying.  If it's a boy we'll get asked if we'll stop now that we have our boy, etc.

I asked about this once in a specific case of somebody who was asking repeatedly and got some good advice, but I have no idea how to find that thread.  What I'm wondering, though, is about dealing with new, friendly one-timers.  In other words, people who have just met us for the first time and ask once, not repeatedly.  We've just moved to a new area and we're getting this many times every day, in front of the kids.  It's so bad my husband says if we have a fifth and it's a boy we need to have another one afterwards to prove we weren't just stopping at a boy.

Would it be too harsh to say, "we're really happy with our wonderful little girls and would never want them to think that they aren't enough and we need a boy, too?". I think something like this was suggested in that other thread but the context of a repeated pusher versus a one-time asker might make a difference.  I don't want to alienate people, but i wouldn't mind making them think about how their questions might appear to the kids.  I can reassure our kids all I want, and I do, but, seriously, several different groups of people this morning and on and on they went with it--it's gotta make it hard for them to keep our reassurances in mind.

Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

(Edited:  Sorry for all the typos, getting used to typing on an ipad.)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 11:30:05 PM by MommyPenguin »

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 08:51:04 PM »
If my paternal grandmother were still with us, I don't doubt she'd have some kind of response for this that eHell would not approve of (she wasn't known for her brain-to-mouth filter), but I don't doubt she got these comments as well.  She had 7 children, 6 were boys, and the youngest was NOT a girl.(1,2,3,4,5 and 7 were boys)

I might respond to those comments with things like, "We're not worried about that, we're just happy they are healthy" or any kind of statement that is polite but makes it clear you're not inviting further discussion on the matter.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2013, 08:51:34 PM »
You can prefer while still be accepting of what happens. DH and I are TTC, and while we do like the idea of having a girl, we will accept whatever we get.

It's not as if you can choose!

Jones

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 08:55:52 PM »
"Why mess with a working formula?"

Roe

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2013, 09:02:21 PM »
"So long as the baby is healthy, we could care less what we get."

mime

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2013, 09:03:54 PM »
I just have 2 boys, with a girl on the way, and I get similar questions. I am excited to be having a girl and the new experiences of a daughter, but my response to people has been "we didn't need a girl for our family to be complete." if my kids are nearby, I follow my comment by smiling at my family and saying "isn't that right, guys?"

It has worked for us.


Bluenomi

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 09:11:56 PM »
I'm one of 4 girls so my parents have heard it all. Dad gets the 'you must really want a boy' thing, Mum gets the 'you need to have another so Dad gets a boy' (cause apparently it's always the woman's fault the baby is the wrong gender)

They just say they love their girls and wouldn't have it any other way. You'll never change a person's mind who thinks you need a child of the other gender so bean dipping is usually the best idea, get them onto another topic!

We've got DD and twins on the way. I've had so many comments along the lines of 'I bet you hope at least one is a boy!' Actually being a high risk pregnancy I'd just be happy with 2 healthy babies of either gender.

ThistleBird

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 09:42:32 PM »
My husband and I have just been talking about this issue! Hypothetically in our case; we're expecting our first and found out it's a boy, and we have several friends expecting as well, so the "which do you want?" question is running around these days. My husband asked me why people seem so obsessed with getting a "set." We both kind of feel like you get what you get and that's fine.

If anyone made these comments to me I would be seriously annoyed. I understand innocent first-timers are just letting their first thought come out of their mouths, and sort of reacting out of the basic cultural assumptions, etc, but I feel like they ought to give a little thought to whether it'll sound to your girls like people think they're not good enough. It's true that people also say it in the reverse gender situation but "Dad must want a boy" does smack slightly of sexism to me.

Maybe I have extra feelings about this because of my own family's story. My mom was the youngest of three girls for years and years while my grandma went through difficult pregnancies and miscarriages trying to have a boy. Thirteen years after my mom was born, my grandparents had a baby who made it to birth... a girl. I have always felt bad for my aunt. It was clear to me she was not valued in the way a boy would have been at that point. Perhaps that's why, to me, a strong sense of "we must have X gender and the other will be a huge disappointment" is immoral. It really can lead you to not value the child you have, the real child in front of you. People encouraging that by smilingly saying you must feel that way... to me, they may mean well, but in the end it's wrong.

Anyway, I think what I would do is smile sweetly and sincerely and say, "Oh, we like girls!" This communicates to the girls, even the ones who are still quite young for complicated concepts, that they are valued; it communicates to the asker that 1) no, you're not obsessed with having a boy and 2) maybe their question's implication was a bit inappropriate in front of the kids. It communicates it in a gentle and friendly manner. It's really kind of the short version of what you quoted, which I think would also be a perfectly OK thing to say. I think people who say these things in a knee-jerk manner, even innocently, do deserve to be made to think about what they're doing for a moment.

bopper

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 10:46:24 PM »
"You get what you get and you don't get upset!"

Sophia

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2013, 11:01:27 PM »
Your oldest is definitely old enough to understand what is said.  I would be more worried about the message my daughter(s) heard over someone else's feelings.  So, the subtext of any response would "You have two heads."  The suggested response seems like the nice version of the good options.

CLD

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 11:03:27 PM »
My grandpa used to say, "I couldn't love a boy more than I love my girls."

This was back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s when having four girls and no boy was a big deal.  My 75 year old mother still chokes up at how much that meant to her as a young girl in a sexist world.

Audrey Quest

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 11:18:26 PM »
I think your best bet is to make a joke out of it.  I raised three boys.  The only time I was ever truly offended was when I was pregnant, standing in line at the grocery store and some rube in line ahead of me turned around and said "Boy, girl, or basketball?"

I didn't even respond, I just glared at him.  And when he turned around, I glared at the back of his head so that when he turned around again (and he did) he would see that I was not pleased with what he thought was humorous.  I actually made him stammer.  He had to verbally, out loud, figure out that what he said to a very large and overworked pregnant stranger was not something he should have said.

Anyway, here are some suggestions, some of which we used, and some of which I only thought of using:

They say: "Are you going to try for a boy?"

What do you think we've been doing all this time?  (dryly)

How does one try for a boy?

We don't make that flavor.  (I used that one a lot!)


They say:  "I'll bet your husband is hoping for a boy next time?"

Next time?  What is this "next time" of which you speak? 

Oh my, but we want all girls, what if we actually had a boy?  It's too scary to think about!



They say:  "Were you disappointed that it was a girl?"

Well, I was disappointed that it was a baby--I was hoping Bob Barker was going to pop outta there and tell me I had won a paid vacation to Hawaii!



And if someone says something truly offensive, just glare at them.  They don't deserve a response or an explanation.

acicularis

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 11:24:05 PM »
I have three girls, and comments like this are one of my pet peeves. Seriously, you're going to say in front of my girls that they're not good enough?

My oldest daughter has multiple disabilities, and when I was pregnant with our second and third girls, whether I had a boy or a girl was the furthest thing from my mind. I was incredulous that people were so focused on this. It was all I could do to keep from saying "Are you out of your mind? All we want is a baby! A normal, healthy baby! Do you honestly think we care whether it's a boy or a girl?"

Anyway, I seethed inwardly at stupid remarks like "I'm praying for a boy for you" and "You should get pregnant again and give your DH a boy." Outwardly, I just smiled and acted surprised, and said things like: "What? I wouldn't know what to do with a boy!" or "I just love having girls!" or "Why would I have another baby? I hit the jackpot with these three!" When my youngest was a few years old I said "Nope, I'm getting too old for this! Thank goodness I'm happy with what I've got!"

If it makes you feel any better, after awhile the comments will stop. My youngest is now 10, and I am old enough that only the most deluded individual would think I should get pregnant again in hopes of having a boy!




LeveeWoman

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 11:30:18 PM »
So, we now have four little girls, and we already get the comments.  If we end up having a fifth, they'll only increase.  "wow, all girls!  Gonna keep trying until you get that boy?"  "I'll bet your husband is hoping for a boy next time?" If we have another and it's a girl, we'll be asked if we (especially my husband) were hoping for a boy, if we were disappointed, if we'll keep trying.  If it's a boy we'll get asked if we'll stop now that we have our boy, etc.

I asked about this once in a pacific case of somebody who was asking repeatedly and got some god advice, but I have no idea how to find that thread.  What I'm wondering, though, is about dealing with new, friendly one-timers.  In other words, people who have just met us for the first time and ask once, not repeatedly.  We've just moved to a new area and we're getting this many times every day, in front of the kids.  It's so bad my husband says if we have a fifth and it's a boy we need to have another one afterwards to prove we weren't just stopping at a boy.

Would it be too harsh to say, "we're really happy with our wonderful little girls and would never want them to think that they aren't enough and we need a boy, too?". I think something like this was suggested in that other thread but the context of a repeated pusher versus a one-time asker might make a difference.  I don't want to alienate people, but i wouldn't mind making them think about how their questions might appear to the kids.  I can reassure our kids all I want, and I do, but, seriously, several different groups of people this morning and on and on they went with it--it's gotta make it hard for them to keep our reassurances in mind.

Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

What? Of course it's an issue of sexism! These people are making comments and judgments based on the sex of your children.

Good grief.

KB

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 11:50:21 PM »
Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

What? Of course it's an issue of sexism! These people are making comments and judgments based on the sex of your children.

Good grief.

I'm sorry, but just commenting on gender does not make it sexism. Now if their next comment was "I suppose you'll be getting rid of them soon and getting yourself some REAL children [meaning boys] then yes, that's sexism. But simply commenting on a disparity does not automatically equate to sexism. Inequality in numbers does not immediately mean an inequality in anything else.