Life as a “Both” Mom: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Both Boys and Girls


It wasn’t until I started having kids that I noticed those t-shirts that say, “Boy Mom” and “Girl Mom.” To this day, I think they are super cute. Those moms have embraced the fact that they were destined to raise children of one gender. I can only imagine that wearing one of these t-shirts brings mixed emotions of both joy and disappointment. If I could have found out ahead of time that I was going to have all boys or all girls, I would have gone out and bought one of those t-shirts in a flash! It helps to bond with other moms who are in the same boat.

But I couldn’t find out ahead of time. And now I have one daughter and one son.

So… I guess you could call me a Both Mom???

Yeah, it doesn’t sound nearly as cool. And I probably won’t put that on a t-shirt.

Raising both girls and boys is such a joy, but it is also has challenges. I always thought I would have a boy first because almost all the firstborns in my family are boys. But we were pleasantly surprised when we found out our first baby was a girl! When I was pregnant with our second baby, we thought for sure we would have another girl. But again, we were pleasantly surprised when we added a boy to our family!

Now, we have one of each, and they are soooo different.

The Joys

Boys and girls are were created to be different. And this is one of the main joys of raising both. Our daughter is relational, active, and creative. Our son is curious, loud, and jolly. It is fun to see them interact and respond to their world and environment differently.

Another joy is that I will get to experience both “girl things” and “boy things” as they grow up. Ballet. Tea parties. Dresses. Crafts. I love doing all these girly things with my daughter. Dirt. Trucks. Legos. Roughhousing. I am looking forward to doing all of these boyish things with my son. All of this is not to say that my daughter doesn’t enjoy dirt, trucks, and legos, and my son won’t enjoy crafts, tea parties, and playing dress-up with his sister someday.

I am simply excited that I likely will have a little bit of both.

I also look forward to the relationships I will have with my daughter and my son as they get older. I hope and pray my daughter and I are close when she reaches adulthood. And I hope and pray my son calls me or visits his mom more than once a month. Relationships with sons and daughters are different, but I look forward to both as they grow up. I look forward to their childhood, adolescent years, and young adulthood. Every stage will be different with both, and that is what makes it so much fun.

The Challenges

Raising both a boy and a girl means having twice the stuff. Girl toys and boy toys. I already try to buy toys that both will enjoy, but that might become more difficult as they get older. There will be few hand-me-downs passed from the first to the second. Trying to control all of the stuff and keep it to a minimum will be a challenge.

My daughter and my son will also show emotion and process life differently. I will not be able to parent them exactly the same (I know this is a challenge when raising kids of the same gender, as well). I will need to study them, learn what helps, and learn what doesn’t help. I will especially be relying on my husband to help understand my son.

I grew up with two brothers. And I remember wishing and hoping for a sister for the longest time. Now, as a mom, I have one of each. And my husband and I are not sure if we will have more. If we do decide to have another baby, we will probably stop at three. That means our daughter may have a sister, but our son will not have a brother. Or our son may have a brother, but our daughter will not have a sister. It may be something they wish for, but I pray they can form a strong, loving relationship as brother and sister. Hopefully they will not feel too much loss either way.

Whether you are raising all girls, all boys, or a combination of both, motherhood is filled with joys and challenges. It is up to us to decide which we will focus on the most. I have to admit that some days I struggle to find the joy, but I will never give up trying. I can’t wait to see how my “little girl” and my “little man” change and grow in the coming years.