mother of sons

Saturday afternoon, I decided to do groceries with the boys. We headed to the nearby mall to buy some fresh veggies. The sons enthusiastically accompanied me. When I was picking fresh peas, how delightful they are in this season, the younger son wanted to help. So I showed him how to choose the plump bright green pods. With loads of concentration, he gingerly picked out the pods weighing them against what I had just told him. He held a few in his hands to show me before tipping them in a bag where I was putting some, we continued. Just then a young lady joined me and started picking peas. She observed how the younger son was hard at work and smiled encouragingly.

We started a conversation. She was quite amused to see a child so interested in vegetables. And we began our chatter around children. I told her how my sons loved food.  She smiled. Just then the elder son walked to me with a bag full of onions. Yes, he was bagging onions. I held the bag and ball parked that it must be still less than the weight I wanted. He went back to get more. She commented, “Oh, two sons?” I smiled and said yes. She chipped in that she had a boy too – a toddler who loved running around in the aisles. “Of course,” I smiled. Toddlers just love that! We exchanged some more tales of boys while working hard at picking the right peas. In between, we exchanged some recipes with peas as well.

Just then her husband came by; he was holding a cute, chubby boy who immediately wanted to go to his mother. They spoke something in a language I did not understand. Oriya perhaps? Then he drifted away and we resumed our conversation. We spoke about the work we did and how her maternity leave had stretched to almost 1.5 years and she was looking to get back to her professional work.  Ah, the dilemmas that confront a working mother. The thought of leaving her still young child in day care is so unnerving yet necessary for those of us who live in nuclear families. Some more minutes of chatter and she said bye and went away.

There is something energizing about discussing mundane matters with strangers especially those who share your wavelength and chatter without any judgment or annoying questions. I can’t tell you how many strangers when they heard that I have two sons have not commented whether I didn’t want to ‘try’ for a daughter. Or that it must be tough having sons? Or that my family was incomplete? while wrinkling their noses.

It makes me wonder what makes people say such things even if they may actually feel it. How does having two sons make my family incomplete? Or why is having sons any tougher than having two daughters or a single child? Perhaps some research figures may help me fathom this hypothesis. Sometimes, I brace myself for such obscene comments but like this conversation, I didn’t have to.

It was a fun, neutral conversation where we goodnaturedly cribbed a bit about kids in general and how they were so mischievous at home but perfectly behaved outside. Yes, I know, a lot of people think that given how the society tends to the patriarchal in India, men do grow up feeling entitled to certain privileges or being waited upon or not helping out at home etc.

But, I think if they are brought up in the right manner, they will be just as helpful and equitable in their thinking as say a girl. In my opinion, I am initiating them to all the household chores including cleaning and cooking just as I would a girl, if I had one.

As a matter of fact, the younger son has just started cooking. He can make a perfect half-fried egg. He actually insists that he make you one almost threatening you to have one. And did I tell you that he makes me toasted bread with butter every evening. Last evening, I was resting, so he left this at the kitchen table. Such a heartwarming plate to see, don’t you agree?

mother of sons

So coming back to the thought. I enjoy being a mother of sons. It is exasperating at times and so very rewarding at others but entertaining at all times just like I am sure it must be parenting girls. And yes, I don’t care for statements like, “Wait till they have a girlfriend!” or “That a daughter always belongs to her parents while a son moves on.” Pretty insulting stuff and idiotic too.

I am sure sons and daughters are as true to the parents as the parents are true to them.

Our responsibility lies in raising them right without expectations and certainly without pesky stereotypes.

Have you been party to these kinds of conversations with mothers of sons?

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61 Thoughts on “A Mother of Sons

  1. I agree wholeheartedly Rachana. You once did a post about ‘the father, the son and the donkey’ it’s the same situation here. We were two sisters and our parents got tired of listening to people saying they must have a boy and those were days when three kids were considered okay. I thought I’d trumped it when I had twins – a girl and a boy. And yet I have people saying – same sex siblings have a better bonding or that they could have shared clothes and belongings or that they’d have had similar interests! ! It’s unending. I agree about conversations with strangers – it’s great to bump into someone with your wavelength.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…The end-of-year postMy Profile

  2. Awww… I louuu Gautam even more. Wait till he learns to cook. Then people will say, “You are so lucky to have such a son that you don’t even need a daughter.”

    P.S. i believe the “A daughter is better” philosophy stems from the fact that mothers expect daughters to help with household work. If they can simply accept that their sons are just as inclined to help, and cultivate that nature from childhood in boys, it benefits not only the family but generations to come.
    Vishal Kataria recently posted…Stop Saying “I Don’t Have Time”. You’re Lying to YourselfMy Profile

    • You can discuss cars and bikes with him even airplanes. He is quite crazy about them. He can be so sweet and adorable and very headstrong and annoying as well. 🙂 Yes, I guess I get that logic in the Indian context. But because we don’t look beyond let the girls help the mother do men continue to expect their wives to handle household chores. Somewhere the mothers have to change the way they raise their sons. And the society needs to change its mindset as well. Luckily, cooking is no longer seen as a domain for women with all the Masterchefs around. I completely agree with your point about benefiting the family as well as future generations.
      Rachna recently posted…A mother of sonsMy Profile

  3. The day we learn boys or girls for kids you are parents and for parents they are kids… Unfortunately we are a gender biased society and we may say girls are better, Laskhsmi ka roop hai and all but still people prefer boys the dwindling sex ration in the so called advanced states is a sad proof.
    There is no right or wrong gender only society stereotypes…that are leading to the same.
    The next generation hopefully will be more practical
    Prasad Np recently posted…Virasat-e-KhalsaMy Profile

    • Yes, we have some weird stereotypes about boys and girls. I have seen some parents preening that they have boys as if that is some achievement. I wonder if the next generation will be more sensible if they are brought up with these stereotypes. Thanks for dropping by, Prasad.
      Rachna recently posted…A mother of sonsMy Profile

  4. I keep hearing the ‘Your child will grow up alone and friendless’ even now. I mean, what do I tell these people? So I stopped responding and just smile and shrug, saying she’ll make her own way in the world. As for the ‘complete family’ statement, it’s an annoying one and one that still bugs me no end. So a couple without kids are incomplete? Or one with two boys or two girls are bad? So ridiculous how even now people come up and ask me if something is wrong with me (physically) and if that’s why I cannot have another kid.

    Your son is so cute! How could you eat that bread after seeing that note? So much heart melt right now <3
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…The Checklists that matterMy Profile

    • Yes, my sister who has a single girl child also hears these kinds of things.
      So crazy. Imagine the nerve of them for asking such personal questions.

      Yes, he can be really adorable. 😉 I had the bread butter with my tea. He had made it for me and then ran off to the park to play. Such cuties they are.
      Rachna recently posted…A mother of sonsMy Profile

  5. Well in our society that is a big issue.. and for some reason people have got something to say either way.. If you have just a girl they will say something about having a boy and if one has a boy then about how irresponsible they will be..

    Etc etc
    God knows when we will get out of all this pallava…
    Bikramjit recently posted…2015 – 2016My Profile

    • Yes, it is and it is so annoying. Like you said, whether you have a girl or a boy, something will be the issue. And going by comments even having a girl and a boy is not ideal. Boys will be irresponsible is what I’ve heard very often too.

  6. Once in a while we all come across strangers who are pleasant and easy to talk to. The fact that you wrote a post around it shows how much you enjoyed that little conversation. And talking of daughters and sons, I really don’t see the difference. They are kids; individuals first irrespective of the gender and the way they turn out depends on what the parents show them by example. Your boys are darlings. Gautam’s gesture is so, so, sweet! 🙂
    Destiny’s child recently posted…In two minutesMy Profile

    • Such a joy that is, Veena. I quite liked her and how easily we chatted. Thanks for your sweet words. You are always so kind and supportive. Gautam will love reading this post. 🙂

  7. I have a boy too who’s around 2 and half year old! I grew up as an only child to my parents! But I wasn’t a lonely kid as many around me felt. My parents made sure I was happy in our own ways! Being just one kid or 2 boys 3 boys or girls doesn’t make any family incomplete! Its just the way we are being judged for everything in our society!!
    Our kids are our blessings be it a boy or a girl! We love them no matter what and like you said its hard to find ppl who do not judge us for everything!! 🙂
    Bilna Sandeep recently posted…Gratitude – For this year and foreverMy Profile

    • My sister has one daughter and she is very well brought up. I never felt that she was lonely at all. Every situation has its pros and cons but to pointedly tell people is really ridiculous. Getting an opportunity to raise children is a blessing that must be cherished. Girl or boy is besides the point. Thanks for reading, Bilna.

  8. Rickie on January 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm said:

    Dekho, better only 2 boys (or girls for that matter) than 3 or more. Otherwise you would have barely had enough time to buy a packet of frozen Safal peas, instead of fresh ones!

  9. Kuch toh log kahenge…..it is a part of the world we live in! I have a daughter and a son and I see absolutely no difference in their attitude at home, maybe my daughter is tomboyish or my son is more a homebody, I don’t know. All I know is I adore these two beings and hate the fact that they are growing up too fast! Those blessed to have the joy of parenting healthy and happy kids, do they need to ask for anything more?
    Kala recently posted…The Liebster AwardMy Profile

    • Your last lines are perfect, Kala. Our society just keeps driving wedges between the genders just reinforcing the stereotypes that they swear by. It is just quite annoying.

  10. How sweet of him. Next Gordan Ramsay in the making, I say! 🙂
    But really, people ask you to try for a daughter? How sick is that!

  11. Interesting! I too have two sons and few people had asked/advised me to have a girl!!! I am happy with my boys. Yes, they were helping me in the kitchen while making pooris esp., their favourites. And dosas too. They were perfect round and they used to be so proud of it. Once they started working, they are not interested in cooking now. Maybe after they have their own family, they might change!

    I used to have conversations sometimes in the train journey. Perfect strangers, sometimes come close to us. As you say, they will not be judgemental. Easy to talk to. It is easy to open up with them.

    I feel there is no difference between girls and boys nowadays. We have just one or two children and so it is easy to bring them up in an equal manner unlike earlier days when our parents had 5-6 children and they needed help from the ‘daughters’ esp. since men in the family were ‘earners’! The boys too were prepared to just earn and girls to just cook!

    Times have changed!
    Sandhya Kumar recently posted…Wordless Wednesday!My Profile

    • What is more important is that they know how to cook and don’t think of it as an activity to be done by girls. Yes, train companions are also fun at times. You are right, Sandhya. You know, I have two siblings — a brother and a sister. There was absolutely no difference in our upbringing. Though we did hear nasty things about girls while growing up. These days the roles of both genders are more rounded. Women have careers and men can handle homes quite well. It is actually quite nice to live in these times.

  12. Thankfully, no one has asked me if I miss not having a son. Closeness to a parent has little to do with gender and a lot has to do with how you bring them up.

    You my dear, are doing a commendable job.
    Purba recently posted…Learning and Unlearning to be a MomMy Profile

  13. I enjoyed reading your post, Rachna. It brought a warm feeling to my heart.

    I’m glad that stereotypes are fast fading.
    I have a son and a daughter (both adults now) and I used to hear the ‘complete family’ thing pretty often.

    But as you said, what matters is how you bring them up. They should all have a strong sense of self that is based on good values.

    You are doing a fine job with your boys!
    Kamini Lakhani recently posted…5 Simple Steps to End Your StrugglesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Kamini. It is an open Secret that I did want a daughter. But it in no way means that I pine for one. I am quite happy with what God has given me. 🙂 But idle minds what to do? Thanks for your warm words, Kamini.

  14. I wrote out a long comment but must have made a mistake while posting because it doesn’t appear to be here. I will try to remember what I said!:)

    I really enjoy those encounters like the one you describe, real moments of connection to another person, however brief! They are somehow so uplifting and encouraging, knowing we share similar experiences.

    As a mother of two sons, I really liked this. Everything about it. I think that raising sons involves challenges and raising daughters does too, each have their own struggles I’m sure. I like having sons although mine do fight a lot (normal??!) 🙂 but I always hope one day they will rely on one another and be friends.:)

    I hope I have the wisdom as a mother to raise them to be good men. Thank you Rachna for all your encouragement!

    • Mine fight all the time. It can drive you up the wall. I don’t know if it is normal because it is the only normal I know. 🙂 Yes, I hope the same for my sons too, Colleen. Like you said rightly, raising a child is a challenge. I don’t think the gender of the child matters much.

  15. Agree with you completely, Rachna as a mother two boys myself. I won’t lie and say I had not wanted a girl, but having decided to have just two kids, I had no regrets that both were boys. Raising children as children and not as boys and girls is the best way to go about it. What they learn from parents after all stays with them through their lives. You are a great mother, Rachna. Hugs
    Zephyr recently posted…Today is the first day of the rest of my life!My Profile

    • It is an open secret that I wanted a girl as well. But two kids and I was done just like you. The disappointment is long gone. Raising children is such a big achievement. As parents we falter and learn and try to do our best. And then there are people who will needle you endlessly. Thank you for your warmth and love. So validating.

  16. I have one son, and as of now, there are no plans for another child. There might be another kid in the future, but I don’t see it happening. One thing I am certain about -my family feels very complete to me.

    Also, this -I am sure sons and daughters are as true to the parents as the parents are true to them. – Yes, and thank you for saying this!
    Shantala recently posted…Fitness Goals for 2016 – Quarterly Tracking and Baby StepsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Shantala. Makes me feel so happy that so many of us feel similarly and don’t care about the common stereotypes that people thrust down our throats.

  17. It’s funny that parents of girls were always subject to ridiculous stereotypical comments (she’ll be in another family soon, don’t get attached etc etc) and now it’s the parents of boys who are the target! One wonders why people can’t just let it be! But, apparently some people enjoy needling and watching the reaction!
    Roshni recently posted…Indian American Mom blog roundup for 2015My Profile

    • Yes, I guess that must be it. I guess they just enjoy saying something mean and watching your smile disappear. I am sure those having girls also listen to a lot of bullshit.

  18. Rachna…This is my first time on your blog and this post really made me go Awwww…:-). I am a mother of an adorable and super-naughty son. And it is so much fun…Not saying that girls arent fun. We are best buddies not only in the playground but also in the kitchen. We watch TV together and read books also. About being brought up in the right manner…I realized I am doing it right when my son wrote in his EVS book – Your Best Freind’s name – Mumma Deepali. Cheers to Sons!! Oh…by the way, just subscribed to your blog. So you will find me in this section more often.

    • So gratifying your words, Deepali. Thank you so much. Glad that you connected with this post. I hope to interact with you more often. And hugs to your little boy. He indeed has such a wonderful friend in you. Thanks for dropping by.

  19. I have never understood what the “complete” family means. How does only having a daughter and son make things complete? I guess people just enjoy criticising others.
    Suzy recently posted…#woty My Word for 2016 is CreativeMy Profile

  20. Adorable! I have only one son and he turned six last week. People ask me about the next kid as if hell broke loose! I even told to some that we are thinking about the next one but even that answer isn’t letting them leave us alone. I can not stand the ‘only child will be lonely’ talks. That is like telling us that it’s not us, the parents, who take care of our child instead it’s the sibling, the newborn, who will be looking after my son!

    • What you say is so right, Vinitha. I don’t think having one, two or no kids is anyone’s business except the couple’s, yet people continue their strange speculations and say things that are mean and hurtful.

  21. People never stop giving free advice. I just had a boy and people have been pushing me to have another, as the kid will become lonely etc. I think everything depends on how the kids are brought up by parents. I never entered the kitchen even once as I was not interested in cooking, even though I am a girl and my mother never forced me to, just because I am a girl.

    • Oh yes, I had that one a lot when I had only one child. I was also never initiated into household chores before I got married though I wish that I had been. I had a tough time learning to do housekeeping. I did enjoy cooking even before marriage though cooked very rarely. In my opinion, it helps to be self-sufficient in this regard whether a boy or a girl. Thanks for dropping by.

      • I agree but what I was trying to say was there is no need to push someone to learn cooking just because she is a girl and will have to cook for her husband. I did learn cooking when I had to live alone and had the need to do it.

        • You are right. But I look at cooking as a gender neutral life skill essential for both the sexes. Besides all of us in the family are passionate about food and cooking so why wouldn’t the kids pick it up?

  22. Some people still love discriminating between having a boy or a girl. Fortunately, I’ve friends who seldom pay any heed to this and, for strangers, I care a fig.

    Really loved the sweet note left by your younger one. God bless… 🙂

  23. I don’t see any difference in having two girls, two boys or any other combination for that matter. People always have something or other to say. Yes, it is quite refreshing to have such conversations with strangers. And that plate is super adorable. You have raised two wonderful sons. I wish to meet them someday. 🙂
    Saru Singhal recently posted…#YouAreMineMy Profile

    • And I am happy that you don’t. I can’t figure it out. It is not as if we really have a choice in what gender of child we have so all such discussions are so pointless. We all would love to meet you too, Saru. 🙂

  24. Kids are kids, irrespective of the gender. Just like how that doesnt come in the way of parent’s loving their kids, I see no reason why that makes people say if the family is incomplete. It is difficult raising kids, though there are exceptions to both sides. These people and their narrow minds and stereotypes, I tell you!
    Ashwini CN recently posted…Of Fixed Mindsets & Prejudices!My Profile

  25. I have realized that people will not live you peacefully, ever! They have snarky comments, ridiculous assumptions and irritating beliefs about everything. Single child is selfish, bringing up daughters is tough, sons will leave you in old age, twins are competitive…. Aarghhh!! Applying Ctrl+Alt+Del to their chatter is what I prefer to do. Oh yes, having a chat with a like minded stranger is so wonderful… no judgments just simple healthy conversation. Gautam is such a cutie! ♥
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…My Book Reading Challenges for 2016My Profile

  26. How great that you’re raising your sons without gender bias! My Italian husband was taught how to sew by his mother, but alas, the cooking didn’t take.
    I found it interesting that people feel entitled to pass judgement on your having two sons. They should mind their own business!

  27. I agree having a conversation with strangers on the same wavelength is an amazing experience. I cannot even begin how may strangers have stopped to pity S. And yesterday I was pleasantly surprised by the Grandmother of one of the kids, who said he looks smart and happy. I was waiting for a ‘inspite of everything’ kind of a statement or a ‘but he needs what he is missing’ kind of a statement to follow that, but it didn’t come. That made me so happy. It is very rare that a person will pass a kind judgement.

    I believe ‘if you have nothing nice to say, then just don’t say anything’ people need to practice that more often!
    Jaibala Rao recently posted…Childhood: Mine And HisMy Profile

  28. To not judge people acording to their gender ought to be taught since childhood. The seeds of equality ought to be sowed early in life. Kudos to you for bringing up your sons in that manner. Wish more people followed suit.
    Maliny recently posted…Could I Ask You A Favour? – MidWeek QuestsMy Profile

  29. Being a mom of two sons, I totally identify with this post. I did one post on the same lines some time ago…Stereotypes, I believe, will be broken when our kids grow up…(too optimistic, eh? ) btw, my younger one loves being in the kitchen and cooking with me, and I don’t mind if he wants to be a chef some day!
    cheers to us! 🙂

  30. Here after a year and what a post to come to! Now that I am the ‘mother’ (yeah it still sounds weird when i say it loud) of a baby boy, i can understand where you are coming from with this piece… reading through I also realized that I would want to bring him up just the way you are helping your son’s grow…

  31. Even I find it silly when people offer unsolicited advice about completing families or having another boy or girl! As you say, a well raised child will always be a pride and joy for parents irrespective of the gender.
    Priya recently posted…Besan ka halwa/ Besan ka sheera/ Home remedy for cough and coldMy Profile

  32. Being a mother of 2 boys, I have no different experience, My friends and some relatives always remind me how having no daughter is sad thing for a mother. A woman needs a daughter to share her feelings. I don’t agree with them. My elder son is as close to me as a daughter would have been. Who cares what they say? People have habit of commenting without thinking.

  33. I love cooking. A feel good post to read. I remember my mom pushing my aside saying it might be morning until I get done. That’s how slow I would make rotis then (she would patiently wait for my first two though) Thanks for sharing.

  34. lovely post. I am mother of two lovely daughters and it does not matter whether you have sons or daughter ..u need to bring them up with right values so they turn out to be responsible adults. It ‘s all about creating memories for our children. All of us cherish our childhood memories and now its time we create it for our children.

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