Is It Easier for Parents to Raise Same Gender Kids?
What are the benefits of having kids of the same gender? This mum shares her opinion...
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was positive I was going to have a girl. In naïve anticipation, I bought the tiniest ever dress in delicate cotton and even a pair of darling little shoes. At my 16 week scan, of course, I found out I was having a boy.
When I was pregnant with my second child, again naïvely, but a bit more cautiously this time, I thought I was going to have a girl. And of course at my 16 week scan, I found out I was having another little boy.
Now don’t get me wrong — I love my little guys, now four and six years old, deeply and fiercely.
But at times when they are wrestling with each other stark naked on my freshly changed linen, or screaming “I am Optimus Prime/ Bumblebee” and leaping off the coffee table (also often naked), I wish I also had a little girl who would perhaps balance out all this hyperactivity and boisterousness (fully clothed, of course).
And I have wondered, “is my job as a mum made tougher because I have two boys?”
But recently, as I watched them having a rare quiet moment playing together, I realised that my life was in fact made easier by having two kids of the same gender.
1. I can re-use clothes
I went overboard with buying adorable little outfits for my first-born, some of which he didn’t even wear because, as I now know, babies grow the fastest in their first year.
As a result, I had a heap of barely used baby boy clothes which I really wanted to give away.
But I couldn’t bear to part with them (because they were so cute!) and I’m glad I didn’t because I dressed my second-born in each and every outfit in his first year.
Also, because their age gap is just two years, they can now wear each other’s clothes without a problem.
This equates to a fairly big financial saving (at least until my younger son starts complaining about wearing hand-me-downs) because we all know just how expensive good kids’ clothes are.
2. I can plan out the same activities and buy similar things for both of them
Being boys, my kids’ interests are pretty much the same — currently, transformers and dinosaurs. As they grow older they’ll still probably share similar interests (most likely girls at some point, but I shall cross that bridge when I reach it).
This is especially useful to me as a work-at-home mum. Why? Because being able to plan out activities for my boys when they are home that I know will keep both of them interested in a set amount of time is crucial in helping me get my work done.
I just set some transformers and dinosaur toys in front of them, throw in the Lego for good measure, and we’re all happy.
Now don’t get me wrong — I’m against gender stereotyping, and I have bought my fair share of dolls and cooking sets for my kids.
But in my experience, once most little boys are exposed to other little boys who live in little-boy worlds where superheroes, cars and machines dominate, it’s extremely difficult for parents to change those stereotypical girl-boy attitudes.
I think the fault mostly lies with the gender labelling of toys by the toy manufacturers themselves — but this is a topic to be saved for another day.
Of course, we as parents can try our best to be gender-neutral, so the dolls and cooking sets remain in my boys’ playroom.
And I feel a sense of achievement when I see them comfortably playing with their tea set when their little girlfriends come over for playdates. Equally, most of their girlfriends are quite comfortable playing with cars and robots.
But given the choice and when by themselves, my children will almost always choose their Transformers to play with, rather than a doll.
3. I can relax (to some extent) about modesty issues
I can be laxer about issues related to decorum than perhaps a mum of a boy and girl needs to be more aware of, especially as they grow older, which makes my life easier in certain ways.
For example, I can give them a shower together, which saves me precious time and effort. And I don’t have to be overly concerned at least for now when they prance about naked in my living room!
4. I have slightly less awkward questions to answer than the mum of a boy and a girl
My boys have obviously both got the same bits and pieces so I don’t have the need to answer awkward questions that I’d imagine mums of girls and boys might get asked, like “Mummy, what happened to mei mei’s penis?”
One less awkward question to answer in a busy mum’s life does make things easier, right?
I also spoke to clinical psychologist Rachael Tan about whether it’s easier for parents to raise kids of the same gender, and here’s what she said:
“Whether a family find it easier or more difficult to raise children of the same sex can depend on many different factors. These can be relatively concrete and practical factors, such as financial ability, as well as more abstract factors such as parental expectations.
“For example, if a family are less financially secure, they may find it more challenging if they are required to purchase different clothing or play items for the additional child if the child’s preferences differ from that of their older sibling of the opposite sex.
“Similarly, if parents were wanting a child of a particular sex and find out that what they are expecting is different to what they were hoping for, they may struggle to accept this which may, in turn, make raising the child a less rewarding experience, regardless of whether the child is of the same sex as their older sibling
When having more than one child, my best advice is to plan for what you can, and keep an open mind for what you can’t!”
Ultimately, I’m sure all parents will agree that while having kids of the same gender might make certain aspects of your life easier, you’re all blessed regardless.
Because you have children while many struggles to conceive.
Because your children are precious, precious gifts.
And because they teach you lessons that you would never learn otherwise, like the true meaning of patience, generosity, and of course, love.
Parents of same-gender kids, what do you think? Is your life made easier because you have only girls or only boys? Do share your thoughts with us in a comment below.