One of the first things every one said to me when they found out I was pregnant with my son (my second) was this: "Your husband must be thrilled!" This was soon followed by: "Every man needs a son" and a host of other cliched responses to a male-bearing pregnancy that started to make my skin crawl by the end. Why is it that my husband -- a man who was madly in love with our little girl -- "needed" a son so badly?
It turns out? He didn't. In fact, new research revealed by the New York Times last weekend reveals that daughters (not sons) actually make men better. Daughters make them more generous, more likely to think of others first, and generally more sharing. It's not really that surprising.
My own husband said, while he loves our son (and wanted a son badly), it was our daughter who truly changed him for the better. It was her tiny body that had him spreading more good in the world and wanting to do better. He needed a daughter.
It's not clear why this is true. There are many theories, but it is also something I have seen anecdotally my whole life. Men with sisters make better boyfriends. In general, they are just better people. And the study showed that is true as well. Men with sisters were on whole, more generous than men with no siblings or men with only brothers. They shared better.
In the archaic way of thinking, men need sons to carry on their name and to do big, manly things with them. It's a great idea. In theory. But times have changed. Both men and women can do many of the same things. Girls can throw balls and men can go shopping.
A girl softens a father in ways I had to see with my own eyes to believe. My husband is a very intellectual, strong man, but when it comes to our little girl, he melts a little. I kind of get it, too. Our son has that same effect on me. My daughter I expect to be tough and strong (like me), but my son is foreign. He confuses me and I am tempted to do everything for him just because I am not 100 percent sure he can do it all on his own.
A son is wonderful and I am so happy to have one of each. But every man need to father a daughter. There is no way he can look at women the same way again. Every stripper could be his little girl. It is much harder to objectify women and treat them badly when you have one at home who belongs to you.
So, while I was happy when I found out my son was a boy, it was not the "dream" any more than my daughter was. I was and am thrilled to have one of each, but both are my heart. Every parent should have the opportunity to parent the opposite sex. It does open up a whole other world.
Did your husband change after your daughter was born?