I know the lovely Candice Coot through Treena aka one of my soul sisters. Over a play date we were discussing how we have both experienced bizarre and somewhat hurtful comments when people realise we only have sons. We decided it would make for a great post, so here it is …
Emma: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Candice: I’m 32 and I live in Canberra with my husband Ross and three sons – Bradley (5 yrs), James (3 yrs), Markus (2 yrs) and currently 34 weeks pregnant with number four due April. When I go to work which hasn’t been much over the past 5 years I work for the Department of Defence, where I have acted in various different roles for the past 13 years.
Emma: Congratulations on expecting your fourth bubba! I saw on your Facebook feed some people have written along the lines of ‘fingers crossed for a girl’. How does this make you feel?
Candice: I think a lot of people can’t understand that someone may actually want to have four children. As ours are all the same gender it is just assumed that the only reason we are having another is to hopefully conceive a girl. Not sure why people these days struggle with the concept of someone wanting four children. Most can relate to those who don’t want children or who only want one, but a big family these days is not the norm. Even complete strangers in the supermarket who see me with just one or two of my boys and a big pregnant belly feel the urge to tell me they have their fingers crossed for me to have a girl, they would be horrified if they knew I had three boys. I never felt like there was anything missing from our world and after struggling to conceive in the first place and having fertility assistance with my first three I just thought of them as blessings and I never felt disappointed with what I had, quite the opposite I felt really fortunate.
We didn’t find out the gender of the others however I was very tempted to this time but decided against it because if I knew I was having a boy the comments like ‘fingers crossed for a girl’ would seriously bother me. We honestly would love to have another boy. Truth be told we probably wouldn’t have had four if we didn’t end up with three of one gender. Our ideal family would consist of two boys and a girl or four boys. On one hand we are hoping for a fourth boy (this is husband’s preference) because a boy would fit in so well with our family, everyone would be paired up and have a buddy, we already have everything we need and we are a very ‘boy’ household. But then it would of course be lovely to have a girl and experience what it’s like to have a daughter. I would be happy with either.
Emma: Have you always wanted a large family?
Candice: I never used to want any children but after my first I was hooked. We decided straight away we were definitely having three but four wasn’t out of the question. Ross is one of four boys and even though there is a seven-year age gap between the middle two, all four brothers get along really well and are good friends. Maybe that’s part of the reason why four boys seems so appealing to us, I have never seen siblings with such a great relationship.
Emma: What are some of the great things about having sons?
Candice: I can’t state the good things about having sons in comparison to having daughters but I love the way my boys pick me flowers, tell me I look beautiful if I wear a dress, charge at me with wide open arms to give me big (sometimes painful) cuddles if we’ve been apart for a while. I love the way they idolise their father and imitate his gestures and the things he says, the way they always try to help him fix or build things and actually think their contribution is helping get the job done. I like their constant energy which helps keep me fit and the fact that they would rather be running around outside or pretending to go 4wdriving and camping together than sitting in front of the television. The way they insist on helping bring the groceries in or carry bags and other things for me because it makes them feel big and strong. I love that when they see a spider, even though I have never been afraid of them they still feel the need to protect me from it and tell me not to get to close and offer to take it outside. I like the way they can all play so well together because they share the same interests and hobbies. I love the way they eat everything I put on their plates and although they cost a fortune to keep fed I always have the satisfaction of knowing they have full tummies as each one eats like a horse.
Emma: Why do you think there is so much pressure on us to have a boy and girl in each family?
Candice: I guess because it is nice to experience having one of each and in our society two kids is considered ideal. My friends who have one of each would rarely get asked if they were having another or if they had one of each gender and wanted a third people would be shocked and ask why. This is very different to my experience. I am already being asked if this one is a boy would I go again. They don’t ask if this one is a girl would we have another.
Emma: I know I have had a few experiences of people being disappointed I was having a second son. Have you got any similar experiences to share? How do you respond?
Candice: Some people’s reactions caught me off guard after my third boy. Maybe there were similar comments with my second but I just didn’t notice but I do feel it was much more prevalent with my third that some people really felt sorry for me. One lady at work, when I went in to show off my third beautiful bundle of boy joy said ‘Oh another boy, I’m sorry. Better luck next time.’ I was so shocked. There weren’t as many congratulations third time round and I noticed a few people responding to the news with comments designed to make me feel better as if something terrible had happened. A few people asked if I was going to try again. Try for what?!
I have friends who have one of a kind and long for the opposite gender and I really feel for them. Gender disappointment is a very real and very sad thing some people experience and I’m not trying to say in any way shape or form that it doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that I don’t have it. It is a strange feeling when you don’t have gender disappointment but other people have it for you.
Emma: You are currently a stay at home mum. How are you finding this?
Candice: I really enjoy being a stay at home mum and just because I am one doesn’t mean we actually stay at home. Most days we are out and about for at least part of the day, it just seems to break the day up and give everyone a chance to do something exciting and burn some energy. I have been asked many times ‘how do you do it’? or ‘why don’t you complain more’? and the truth is I don’t know. I just generally enjoy my life and my children but that’s not to say we don’t have really bad days as well, I just try to focus more on the good times. One of my children is particularly challenging and I often get frustrated and upset and feel like a bad Mum at the end of the day for how I’ve dealt with particular situations but I try not to be too hard on myself and don’t dwell on it. Some days all I want to do is go back to work full-time so I don’t have to deal with the kids but that feeling usually passes pretty quickly. Kids are hard and whether you have one child or five if you’re having a bad day you’re having a bad day and you are fully entitled to feel miserable and admit you’re struggling.
Before I had children I was working full-time, spending all my weekends for years building and renovating houses with my husband whilst also studying a management degree part-time, yet no matter how much I had on nothing could prepare me for the constant and demanding job of having a child. It was like nothing I could imagine and it’s not something you can really explain to another person in a way they can relate, you can only understand it once you’ve experienced it for yourself. I think for me the reason I do generally cope well with the never-ending mess, cleaning, feeding, tantrums and other aspects involved with multiple children is I don’t need that much down time. I like to keep busy and for me my babies are the most rewarding and fulfilling way I keep busy these days.
Have you had similar experiences as Candice? I must admit I would LOVE to have a daughter but I’m completely head over heels in LOVE with my boys, and if we are blessed with another bub I would be over the moon with either sex. By the way, if you like this post, you should check out this one here, where the lovely Ingrid talks about the blue v pink thing we force on our kiddies.