Reddit Asks What's the Difference Between a #Boymom and #Girlmom?

One Redditor asked what made parents flock to the popular gendered hashtags and fellow Redditors had thoughts.

If one thing is certain, it's that parenting isn't easy. It isn't easy with one kid or four. It isn't easy with twins or singletons. It isn't easy with one gender or another. Yep, across the board, being a parent is pretty tough—which is why people wonder why some parents think it's different for them than it is for others. Namely social media circles where parents identify as "boy moms."

A recent Reddit post posed the question, "What makes being a 'Boymom' so different than just a mom?" which stirred up a fascinating comment thread that revealed different perspectives on parenting.

Reddit user u/Ethrynn wrote, "I hope I don't get a lot of hate for this because I truly don't mean any harm or offense by it. But what is up with the whole #boymom saying?"

The #boymom hashtag is ubiquitous these days. On Pinterest, there is an endless scroll of #boymom content, and on Instagram, there are over 16 million posts that use the hashtag. Etsy is filled with shops that sell #boymom apparel and trinkets, and Google has an entire universe of more than a billion #boymom hits. But why do parents feel so compelled to draw distinctions of difficulty between raising boys, and what makes #boymoms so unique?

The original poster (OP) added, "I'm sure having a little boy is equally as wonderful as having a little girl, and yet I have never, one time, ever heard anyone say or use #girlmom...there are tons of little sayings for the boy mom idea as for example: 'being a boy mom will show you what true love is. Them boys sure do love their mamas.'"

The OP concludes with, "I just feel like it implies some kind of line in the sand attitude that separates mothers who have just boys from the rest of motherhood entirely…Arent [sic] we all in this together?"

The question of why raising boys is somehow different struck a chord (nerve?) with other Redditors.

One commenter pointed to the gender stereotypes the #boymom hashtag often seems to allude to: "It's some kind of weird sexism and stereotype thing. Girls are delicate, quiet, and play nice. Boys are rough, loud, and rambunctious. Whenever someone talks about being a 'boymom' it's like they're patting themselves on the back because boys are just so much harder. I think it's dumb," wrote u/poisonk.

Redditor u/pacificnorthwest976 added, "I always think of parents who say girlmum or boymum as people with kids who really fit in the gender stereotypes? I don't really see a point honestly. We're all mums." And u/greenpotatoes9 agreed writing, "The whole thing is just perpetuating gender stereotypes."

"My favorite is is when someone makes a big deal of their BOY doing a thing…" wrote Redditor u/MableXeno, "and it's exactly something my girl child does and if I go 'Ha, yeah, Girl does that, too!' there's always this weird little thing like…'It's different for boys.' Really? Eating dirt is somehow different for boys than it is for girls? Fine. My kid eats dirt different than your kid!"

Others pointed to the possibility that the #boymom identity stems from gender disappointment. Redditor u/blondebrunette wrote, "So many that I know personally desperately want or wanted a girl. Then they adopt this huge #boymom mentality after they find out it's a boy and it always seems like an overcompensation to me."

Redditor u/FauxbeeJune adds, "'s some serious gender disappointment coming out and certain moms who never had a girl need to prove that they are having just as good a time because they personally feel like they are missing out on something."

As odd as the comparison between "boy moms" and "girl moms" may seem to some, it's a common belief that boys are indeed easier to raise than girls. In a 2018 Gallup Poll, 54% of Americans said that girls are harder to raise than boys—an attitude that hasn't changed since 1947. (Note that the poll did not ask about nonbinary or other genders; only about the difference between boys and girls.)

But that widespread attitude that boys are somehow easier to raise than girls doesn't seem to translate to how parents raise their kids despite the popularity of hashtags like #boymom. In an exhaustive meta-analysis on the differences between parenting boys and girls, researchers concluded that there really aren't any differences between genders in how parents treat their kids. Maybe that's because when you're in the trenches of parenting, the universal truth is that all kids are tough, no matter their sex or gender.

Still, for others, the issue with #boymom isn't so much about cementing gender roles as it is about a feeling of belonging for the parents. Some Redditors pointed to the cliquey superiority they perceive #boymom parents exuding. While others wondered if that phenomenon of turning #boymom into "us versus them" might stem from a lack of confidence as a parent.

U/sixmatt summed it up with, "It's an attempt to be accepted into an imaginary, super important group. I'm a dad. I have a boy. No one cares."

Regardless of the motivation behind the hashtag, one commenter summed up pretty much the only difference between the boy mom experience and the girl mom experience quite succinctly: "Baby peeing into his own mouth while you were changing his diaper is possibly the only boymom thing I can say."

Updated by Kristi Pahr
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