The gift every mother doesn't need

Three boys and a girl ... "Got it right at last"?
Three boys and a girl ... "Got it right at last"? 

I have three boys and a girl.

Apparently this makes me clever, relieved, thankful, special, lucky and blessed.

Evidently it is a common misconception rattling around the empty heads of many people that having a daughter is the gift every mother needs. It is a topic so dry, so boring, and so over discussed that I contemplated scrapping further commentary. In fact, I touched upon it back in 2009 after I’d had my third son but the troubling point is, three years later, I am still greeted with remarks on a daily basis regarding the same tedious subject matter. So, I jump back on my soapbox and hurl some random abuse in the hope that I may just save one idiot from making the fateful mistake of advertising their stupidity in public.

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an idiot magnet. Every second eejit seems to seek me out to observe and discuss the gender distribution of my family. Some of them are attempting simple pleasantries, sharing in the joys of raising both genders, and that is lovely. Sadly, I’ve received a disproportionate amount of comments since having my daughter that have left me utterly gobsmacked.

“Shame it took four to get lucky!”

“You finally got it right!”

“You must be so relieved you got a daughter.”

Why? Would having a fourth child of the same gender be the worst thing that could happen? Was this not something I would have contemplated before deciding to have a fourth?

Perhaps it is not what is said, but what is omitted.

If I’ve “finally got it right” with my daughter, would that insinuate the three children I had before the pink one were wrong? Was I unlucky to have three robust boys?

Imagine being my sons accompanying me on a shopping trip and having to endure the relentless comments about how ecstatic I must be to finally “get that girl” as strangers point and smile at the baby. Will my boys feel they were not enough? Is there something wrong with boys, perhaps and that’s why everyone tells their mother she must be so thankful to have finally won the pink prize?

I’ve been accused of being sensitive to the subject. Maybe you’re overanalysing? Reading too much into it? People are just making friendly conversation.


I make no apologies for being highly defensive of my children. All of them. Willy or no willy. They are individuals, not merely genders.

The mindless remarks come from people who do not think before they speak. These are people who are drowning in stereotypes of the way a family should look, of what defines happiness. And it seems unless you have “one of each” your life is somehow incomplete, that you got something wrong along the way.

The apparently harmless comments are ridiculous and offensive in equal measures. Through a forced smile, I try to disguise the righteous scorn I feel towards such imbeciles. It takes some effort to refrain from rolling my eyes and retaliating with confrontational responses in the middle of the nappy aisle.

I love having a daughter but would just as much loved having a fourth son. I celebrate the differences in raising two genders but also recognise that each child has a personality of their own which is above and beyond their gender.

I appreciate that many people have gender preferences, a completely personal desire that to me, should remain private or discussed within a group who shares the same goals. Projecting those kind of needs on others, particularly strangers, can be poorly received.

If only people would learn that it is not compulsory to share every thought that pops into their head with a random stranger standing in the line at the supermarket. Some people should be issued a muzzle.

I will now step down from my soapbox and attend my weekly anger management session. I may also consider online grocery shopping!

Does this banal banter about gender make you as angry as me?! Do you get strangers commenting on your luck or lack thereof in relation to what genders your children are? Join the discussion on the Essential Baby forums.

I make no apologies for being highly defensive of my children. All of them. Willy or no willy. They are individuals, not merely genders.