On Having Four Boys

May 21, 2014

Lest you think the title means we now have four boys, we don't. At least not four boys that we can hug and snuggle and kiss. In spite of this mother's daily pleas, the fourth boy is hanging tight for probably a couple more weeks.

So no, I can't speak to what it's like to have four boys (yet).

But I can describe what it feels like to be on the brink.

Just the other day, I was standing in line at Costco with Aaron, Max, and Bradley. They were being typical boys--poking, pulling, and pushing each other while laughing uproariously the whole time. The gentleman behind me watched them for a moment, then with a half-amused expression, pointed at my ball of a stomach and critically asked, "Is that a boy?"

You'd be surprised the number of random strangers that stop me on any given day to ask me if I'm having another boy. When I answer in the affirmative, I'm met with a lot of sympathy, a few chuckles, and very little congratulations.

And almost always the question: Do you think you'll try again for a girl?

As if I was trying for a girl this time. As if the only reason I could possibly want four kids would be if one of them was a girl. As if the prospect of four boys should fill me with disappointment and regret.

I know many fellow moms out there who desperately want a girl; moms who, the more boys they have, the more they want a girl; moms who say, "I would consider having another baby if only I could guarantee that it would be a girl."

My thoughts have taken the opposite route. With my first, I very much wanted a girl. And yes, I was disappointed when I found out he was a boy. With my second, I was indifferent. By that time, I'd discovered that boys could be pretty fun, but I also thought it would be nice to have one of each. With my third, I was on my knees praying that it would be another boy because I didn't know how I could possibly handle three kids in three years otherwise. And with my fourth, I didn't know why we should change a good thing and create an upheaval in our family dynamic.

So when people ask, "Do you think you'll try again?" I want to say, "Maybe [although really, I can hardly wrap my head around four kids, so let's not even talk about five], but only if I can be guaranteed another boy" and then watch them shake their heads in flabbergasted disbelief.

Let me just give you an insider's glimpse into the awesomeness of boys:

Cheap. For apparel: shorts, t-shirts (the rattier, the better), no shoes, no accessories. For entertainment: sticks, dirt, bugs, a brother or two.

Easy. It takes thirty seconds to comb their hair, and even that is optional.

Competitive. They will do practically anything (clean up toys, put on pajamas, get into the car) if it's a competition. (Of course, this also leads to a lot of angry tears for the ones who lose, but we won't talk about that part.)

Exclusive. There's something so nice about going to the store and being able to pick up three of the same thing and not even having to consider the girl counterparts. (I'm sure you who have all girls feel the same way.)

Limited drama. I hesitated listing this one because it's so stereotypical as to almost be unfair. But the truth is, in our home, even though there's still plenty of screaming and crying and fighting, it's pretty straightforward and over with very quickly.

No competition. I'm talking about myself here. I am surrounded by boys who love me. It's pretty great. (I've also noticed that my boys are highly tuned-in to what is feminine, and even though they shun those things themselves, they want to make sure I'm wearing earrings or enjoying other pretty things.)

Of course, I've considered the downsides to having only boys, namely that all of them will grow up and stop talking to me, and I will be left the despised mother-in-law.

But for right now, I look at these three cute faces and think, "I get another one of these? I am so lucky."


  1. Great article Amy! So good, that Amanda and I are reading it on our honeymoon in cancun. :)

  2. Great post! You are very lucky. What handsome men you have!

  3. I have four boys. When I was pregnant with #4, I remember getting strange looks when I said I'm glad he was a boy.

  4. It's not a bad thing to have all of one. Your boys are darling, so another one will be perfect!

  5. I use to want a boy. Then I had my girl. Boys are sooo rowdy and rough. But it sounds like you love it and that is all that matters. I find it sad when a woman is blessed with boys and doesn't embrace it. God knows what he does when he gives us our babies.

  6. As a mom of five boys, I definitely get the question of if I would try again and have often felt the same way. I wonder what it would be like to have a girl, but I don't really miss what I have never had. Boys are great.

  7. I love your attitude and your love for your boys! How ridiculous of people to act sympathetic about the prospect of any wanted child. And you are right about clothing and hair combing etc. I've got 3 girl and 2 boys, and in many ways the boys are easier :) Hope #4 doesn't make you wait too much longer :)

    1. Susanna - I didn't know you have FIVE kids! You have my sincere admiration and respect.

  8. This was fun to read! I definitely got the "don't you want a girl" comments (now people realize I am too old, and have stopped, ha ha ha) and it always seemed strange to me. 2 kids were all I wanted, boy or girl it didn't matter.

    1. I know! Sometimes when people ask me if I wanted a girl, I say, "No, I wanted a baby."

  9. I'm excited for you--and for those cute boys of yours to get another little brother. I have 10 brothers (no sisters) and let me just tell you--rooming with 5 girls at college was a bit of a culture shock at first! :) So far we have 2 boys and a girl, but I'm like you--I would be happy with any mix. I just want kids!

    1. 10 brothers?!?! Oh, wow. You really have experience with boys! Where did you fall in the lineup?


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