As she rubbed my shoulders while my nails dried under the loud hum of the dryer, she saw my phone light up, showing the vibrant photo of my son's smiling face as my wallpaper.
"Oh! How old -- and a boy" she asked. I replied that he's 16-months and alllll boy, which was why I was super excited to have this relaxing 'me time.'
"Ohhhh...next time you'll try for a girl! But boys are so much easier, so..."
My nervous laughter and polite head nodding trailed off to an annoyed facial expression as she walked away. What the hell. And I had already tipped her.
She gave a good shoulder massage, so I'm certain that played a small part in why the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, but there's a lot wrong with the words that came out of her mouth. First, the obvious -- what makes her think I want more kids and that I am disappointed I don't have a girl? I can chalk that up to one of those foot-in-mouth things a stranger says, though. But...more importantly -- the 'boys are so much easier' statement is just something that has got to G-O in 2018.
It's not the first time I've heard it. It's been peppered throughout my life in random conversations, and poured into my ears when I announced I was having a boy of my own. I admit -- pregnant me was like "Oh, easier? Awesome" even if I didn't really believe it.
No. Boys are definitely not easier. Why? Simple. Because I'm not Matt Lauer or Harvey Weinstein's mom. Boom. I said it. And I'm not sorry. Look, I have no intention of raising a young man who is allowed the ol' "boys will be boys" excuse, turning my head if he ever says/does something even questionably disrespectful toward women, and shrugging a "well, I did my best..." with a foolish giggle if he acts like a jerk as an adult.
Just as much as girls have to be taught to be careful, respect our bodies, make wise choices when it comes to dating/relationships of all kinds, know our boundaries and demand we be treated as equals...I think boys have to be taught some of those same things -- and the importance of their support in all of those things. While I may not have to explain how to use a tampon, I have to explain about them and why they're needed, etc., so he's not 'that guy' who gets all weird if his girlfriend/wife asks him to pick up a box on his way home.
AND also -- to be sure he's not 'that guy' who makes menstruation jokes and is all, "Are you PMSing?!" when a woman in his life isn't feeling all rainbows, butterflies and puppies that day.
Sidebar: I'd like to slap the moms of men who say, "You should smile more, why aren't you smiiiiiiiling?" because it seems like it stems from a mommy issue, doesn't it? I don't know.
Anyway. I digress.
So...no -- I don't think I got handed an easier motherhood because I have a boy. I don't think I have a harder one, either. I just know that (warning...this might sound corny) I feel as though I have a profound responsibility to make sure I send a stand-up, respectful, compassionate, inspiring and proactive man into the world.
Because all of your daughters deserve that.