The Difference Between Sons and Daughters

When I was pregnant with my son, a lot of people couldn’t help but give me sentiments like,

“Oh, you will LOVE having a son! There’s just something different about how a son loves his mommy!”

I would nod and smile politely, thinking that surely these mothers were just a little too mushy, just a little too out-of-touch. Of course I would love my son, but it wouldn’t be any different than the love I had for my two daughters.


In fact, in some ways, if I’m being honest, as the mother of two girls, I was just a teensy bit afraid to become the mother of a son–what did I know about “boy” stuff? I was comfortable with tea parties, spa days, and all things princess, thank you very much. Would my son be bored to death in a world that seemed permanently pink?

As it would turn out, my fears were for naught, because my son is definitely not bored at home in life with two sisters. He loves tractors and all things that have an engine, but he plays Babies with his sisters with no problem. I like to think he’s secure in his manhood.

So, no, I shouldn’t have worried about having a son. I was wrong about that.

And it would appear that I would also be proven wrong about the difference of a mother-son relationship; I thought it would be no different than my relationship with my daughters, but I was wrong.

There is something different about the relationship between a mother and a son. 

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was wrong about the relationship between a mother and son; it’s not that my love is anything different, of course. I love all my children equally and individually. It has more to do with the relationship itself.

How can I accurately describe how I feel about my son?

It’s in the way he needs me, a little fuzzy head of hair resting on mine in complete trust.

It’s in the way he runs to me for comfort, a cry that is often times just a little bit dramatized, just needing a kiss from his mama to make it better.

It’s in the way that he asks for so little, making me want to give him everything. 

It’s in the way that he is a mixture of mischief and sweet, adventure and trust. 

I’ve thought about this a lot, afraid that I will treat my son differently or turn him into the dreaded “mama’s boy.” My husband shakes his head and laughs at me, reminding me that someday, I will have to let another woman into his life.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that the difference might come from the way that my daughters will grow up in a more complicated relationship with me, something that is more common in the mother-daughter relationship. They will grow up wanting to be something more, something different than me, their mother; I will provide them with their first example of what it means to be a woman and a mother, and they will learn to accept me for who I am and learn to grow into becoming their own women–and that’s okay. Our relationship will be made up of more intense feelings; a push and a pull, a giving and a getting, a love, and I’m sure, in some moments, frustration.

Even as young girls, I sense them pulling from me, forming their own identities, working out what it means to live in the complicated world of women. Any daughter knows how the relationship between a mother and daughter can be complicated at times, even as much as it is the best thing in her life.

But with my son?

Things seem a little more simple.

I have to be nothing more to him at this moment than his mother; a shoulder to rest on, a hand to hold, his biggest supporter. I’m not an example of who he should be, or the epitome of what he should not be.

I am simply his mother.

And now that I think about it, what’s so wrong with a mama’s boy, anyway?

Tagged as:
Add to the conversation