Are Mothers Tougher On Daughters?

Son, have fun. Daughter, hope you are learning valuable skills for the future.
Son, have fun. Daughter, hope you are learning valuable skills for the future.

My daughter is six years old, and my son is two. I wish that I could say that I treated them equally. But recently, I have realised that I don’t. As I consider myself to be a strong woman, I want my daughter to grow up to be a strong woman too. I am determined that she grow up to be independent and resolute. And my son? Well, I want him to be a respectful man, a kind and happy person. Do you see the disparity?

Dubz is sweet and happy (who knows if he is clever, after all he is only two). He has all the potential of becoming prime minister or a rock star. Moozles is sweet and clever. So I do not want her working in a lowly post in an office, passed over for promotion because she is too bashful. So I am a bit tougher on her. But I don’t think this is right.

As a woman, you grow up with so much criticism. From yourself, and others. The way you look, dress, act. It is not fair to have to deal with that from your mother. I want my daughter to have a great life. I want her to be happy. But I also want her to be successful. I know how tough it is for women in the workplace. We have to deal with bosses who stare at our chests and colleagues who comment on our looks. And when we have children, the masses voice their loud comments on pregnancy sickness, maternity leave and any reduction of hours. And to top that off, we are paid 35% less than our male counterparts. Ouch.

There is some sense in wanting to prepare my girl for this world. But while I prepare her, I should not be critical of her. Moozles needs to know that her mother is in her corner, in this big bad world. That I am fair and kind, in a world that can be biased and cruel. She should not grow up seeing me encourage her brother’s cheekiness while expecting her to be serious and studious. Mother-Daughter relationships are complicated enough. I don’t want Moozles feeling like an outsider as she watches Dubz and I clown around. After all, there is room for all three of us to be silly.

Are Mothers Tougher on Daughters

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20 thoughts on “Are Mothers Tougher On Daughters?

  1. Ohhh interesting bab. I’m pretty tough on both of mine but I must admit when I am at school I sometimes do expect more of girls. I put this down to going to an all girls school till I was 18. Maybe as she grows up I will be tough on her too! No bad thing though. We do have more to contend with x

  2. This is such an interesting post. I don’t have a girl, as you know, so it’s hard to know what I would be like. I do find with my boys that I am basically seeking to contain their exuberance for their own safety. Beyond that, I also want them to be kind and considerate, and basically just happy. I don’t know what I’d do with a girl! xx

  3. Wow! Thought-provoking post, you’ve got me thinking. I’ve got a girl and a boy and so far it is very different, but I was putting that down to first-born and second-born issues rather than anything else. Who knows! It’s so tricky isn’t it?! Here’s to silly times all round. I’m definitely in that camp… x

  4. I think it is your daughter being older that is more the issue than her being a girl, the eldest is a boy with us and he has more responsibility put on him, not deliberately, it just happens to the oldest. My only daughter is youngest of 6 and no way pulls her weight in the house!

    1. For me, I think it is a smaller case of responsibility and a greater case of being serious in school and in attitude. I worry that if my daughter is too silly, it will lead to glamour modelling (a very slight exaggeration).

  5. Ha ha, yet again you’ve written a blog post that intrigues me as a stay at home dad! Based on the running of this household, I can assure you my wife is the one softer on our daughters. I am defo the bad cop. As a son, I can also categorically state that my mother most criticised the way I looked, acted and dressed when growing up! It is an interesting one though because I can think of father / son relationships I know of where the fathers can be emotionally brutal. I just don’t think you can’t generalise. I suspect every parenting relationship is different. #brilliantblogposts

    1. I wonder if it would be different if your wife stayed at home. I was definitely less critical when I worked. And certainly I wasn’t critical when my daughter was younger. But now that she’s in Year Two, I feel like I need her to be a serious student so that she doesn’t end up as a glamour model (only half joking).

  6. Ahhh hun I love this because I have often thought this myself having a daughter and son I find it hard to treat them equally as you say here. Women whether we like it or not have to fight to the top and fight to stay there and will have it way harder career wise then men. I do agree there is a fine line isn’t it where to be with them as I think I will always be harder on my daughter for these same reasons. What a brilliant thing to think about though and how we all support and raise our children. #brilliantblogposts

    1. Thanks Jenny. It’s tough, because as a parent we always want what is best for our children. And even when they’re little, we still want them to have the lives they deserve. And with a girl, you worry that it will be that much tougher for them.

  7. What a thought provoking post. I am the opposite with my son who is a bit shyer and more sensitive than my daughter. I keep trying to toughen him up whereas I think she can take on the whole worth with ease. Perhaps I need to be somewhere in the middle for both. Great post hun x

  8. Fab sentiments here lovely. I agree that you need to prepare her more. While I wish the world was different, it will be tougher on her as a woman. but you’re completely right to not criticise. Really made me think this one – I only have a boy so not sure how I would do it but I am certain it would be different! xx

  9. I guess I will have first hand experience of this in the not too distant future! I wonder if it’s just as women ourselves we have a better understanding of girl stuff 😉 we’ve been there after all! Whereas willies, tree climbing and shaving… not a clue… LOL x

  10. Really interesting… You’ve got me thinking now, because I suspect that I will be like you. I kind of let the boys get on with it, I want them to do well, and they are, so I don’t worry too much (at the moment anyway!). I imagine that it will be a little different once my daughter is older… Hmm! Great post x

  11. This has made me think – I don’t know yet how I’ll be with Mabel as she’s only 2, but so far we pander to her less because she’s our second – she seems much tougher than Buster was. But you’re right – unfortunately the world of work is tough so I wonder if we’ll try to prepare her differently? Thanks for making me aware of this! X ps nice new header xx

  12. I must admit I don’t worry about my daughter not being as successful as her male counterparts or having to suffer sexism etc in the workplace. I never have and although I know it can happen, it isn’t something anyone else I know has had to deal with thankfully. My worries for her are more about whether she’ll even be able to get a job in the first place when she leaves school, given the state of the economy, but that’s just something we’ll have to tackle when she leaves school in a few years time. We are more strict with her than with my son, but she is secondary school age and he’s just a toddler, plus with him we’re mainly trying to prevent him from killing/maiming himself, so I guess that’s probably to be expected. Great post and certainly food for thought.

  13. Really interesting post, I don’t have a daughter so doesn’t apply directly to me but I do know that both my sons are totally different in character, and my mother brought my brother up and I equally (as you are doing with your kids), we were taught we could achieve what we worked hard for and my Mum, a feminist never made me feel women couldn’t achieve what men could and that was the best prep really as I succeeded in very much a male domain as a director-love this post! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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