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Things This Girl Mom is Learning About Being a Boy Mom

From massive hunger to smegma, it’s just different.

 A baby with short black hair rests their head over the arm of a woman.
Photo credit: Getty Images
A young woman with dark curly hair is using mobile phone. Female is smiling while holding smart phone. She is lying on sofa at home.

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I’ve done the girl mom thing for 10 years. The pink, frilly outfits, the hair bows, the sugar and spice and everything nice. After parenting three sweet and sassy little girls, I feel like an expert. They’ve grown from teeny 6-pounders to school-aged kiddos with big opinions and even bigger wardrobes. Through daughter osmosis, I know all the My Little Ponies by name, I can style braided pigtails in 10 seconds flat and I’m a Disney princess authority (try me!). That’s not to say my girls aren’t rough and tumble and never break things. And I’ve certainly attended to my fair share of split lips and cut up knees!

Still, when I found out I was expecting a boy, I was terrified. It’s not that I didn’t want a son, especially since everyone swears it’s totally awesome. It’s just that I felt intimidated due to my lack of experience in the boy-mom department. I worried I might not be able to feel as close to a boy as I do to my girls, never mind completely convinced my newborn son would sense right away how clueless I was and reject me straightaway. My misgivings about having a son ranged from serious to silly, and from immediate to long term. Would I be able to bond with a boy? Would I be able to effectively discipline someone who would eventually tower over me? What if his feet were as stinky as his father’s? I felt completely ill-equipped to immerse myself in boy world. Like when I was hugely pregnant and walking through the “boy” toy aisles at Target with a pit in my stomach, unable to tell the difference between Spiderman and Wolverine. After years of buying sweet little gingham dresses and matching sun hats, I just couldn’t get excited about fire truck pajamas, no matter how tiny they were.

All the trepidation I felt for nine months melted away, however, when I met my big, healthy baby boy. One look at that chubby face and those pursed lips, and my heart melted faster than Elsa’s ice when she discovered true love. Although my level of adoration was no different for my son versus my daughters, five months later, there have been many surprises about “boy momming.” Of course, this is only my experience, and by no means do I think all girls and boys are the same! But if you’re used to having just girls or boys, I think you’ll relate to some of the things I’ve noticed.

Boys are BIG

My son was born weighing a full two pounds more than any of his sisters. This may be because he’s my fourth baby, but he has also grown more quickly and is (deliciously) meatier. Which probably has something to do with the next difference I have experienced between boys and girls.

He’s hungry AF

Holy hell, my son eats nonstop. Since I’m breastfeeding, sometimes I feel so depleted, I want to drop. By the end of the day, my nipples are like open flesh wounds. I cannot wait to give my son solid food in about a month so he can tear into that instead of me all the time.

But the amount of pooping, OMG!

My big boy has roughed up more diapers than all of my girls combined. It’s obscene how often he requires changes. I’d say switching out his outfits and doing baby laundry accounts for about 90% of my day. I fear for my gag reflex when we get to the solid food.

Yet diaper changes are easier

Why? Because unlike when you change a girl, the direction of wipeage is less important. You can just get all up in there without worrying about traffic flow. And yet, in some ways, changing a boy is mighty nerve-wracking for other reasons.

The equipment down there is an obstacle course

I didn’t know being a boy mom would feel like entering a Ninja Warrior competition. I’m down in his diaper pulling back the skin from his penis to keep it from sticking after his circumcision. I’m applying Vaseline. I’m cleaning up smegma, which is a real thing, folks, not just a funny word. I had to Google it after a pediatrician visit and found out that’s the name for the white, pasty stuff that collects under a penis foreskin. Oh, how I miss the comparably simple diaper changes when my girls were babies: Wipe, move on!

And speaking of circumcision …

Tell me I’m not alone in feeling traumatized by having my newborn baby taken away for his circumcision. Afterward, tending to the blood and puss and gauze was enough to earn me a nursing degree. Having had three daughters before a son, this mama was beyond ill-prepared for the whole circumcision experience.

Testicles

My son’s pediatrician told us to keep an eye on his, um, balls, because they look bigger than usual. Apparently this is common, and often resolves on its own by 6 months of age, but can signal a hernia or trapped fluid. Meanwhile, my husband thought the doctor was doling out a compliment—must be a guy thing. Either way, herein lies the part about being a boy mom I’d rather just opt out of. As if the smegma wasn’t enough!

Good thing most of what I’m learning as a first-time mom of a son is even better than expected. He’s a champion cuddler, and he looks at me like I’m the most important person in his life. I see now that it’s a privilege to be raising a little man, not something to fear! My son is the love of my life and I can’t wait to see him grow up right alongside his sisters.

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Published July 9th, 2019
A young woman with dark curly hair is using mobile phone. Female is smiling while holding smart phone. She is lying on sofa at home.

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