On Reddit, a platform abundant with diverse perspectives, one user sought clarity on an intriguing social media trend. They questioned why parents are increasingly drawn to gendered hashtags, specifically, what’s the difference between #boymom and #girlmom. Other Redditors, as always, were eager to share their thoughts and experiences.
If one thing is clear, it is that parenting is difficult. It is not easy with one or four children. It is not simple to raise twins or singletons. That is difficult with either gender. Indeed, being a parent is generally difficult, which is why people wonder why some parents believe it is different for them than for others. Namely social media communities in which parents identify as “boy moms.”
A recent Reddit post addressed the question, “What distinguishes being a ‘Boymom’ from simply being a mother?” which sparked a fascinating comment thread that displayed many parenting philosophies.
Reddit user u/Ethrynn commented, “I sincerely don’t intend any harm or offense with this statement. Therefore, I hope I don’t receive much animosity for it. But what is the meaning of the #boymom hashtag?”
Nowadays, the #boymom hashtag is prevalent. There is an unending scroll of #boymom stuff on Pinterest, and over 16 million posts on Instagram utilize the hashtag. Etsy is loaded with businesses selling #boymom clothes and souvenirs, while Google has more than a billion #boymom search results. Why do parents feel compelled to differentiate the hardship of raising boys, and what makes #boymoms so exceptional?
Added by the original poster (OP): “I’m sure having a little boy is just as beautiful as having a little girl, but I’ve never heard anyone say or use #girlmom…there are numerous sayings for the boy mom concept as well, such as “being a boy mom will teach you what true love is. Those boys really adore their mothers.”
This finishes the OP: “I simply feel that it symbolizes a line in the sand mentality that separates women with only boys from the rest of parenthood…”
Were we not all in this together?”
The subject of why parenting males differ in some way piqued the interest (nerve?) of other Redditors.
One commentator mentioned the gender preconceptions the #boymom hashtag seemed to frequently allude to: “It’s an odd combination of sexism and stereotypes. Girls are fragile, quiet, and polite. Boys are rough, boisterous, and unruly. Every time someone refers to themselves as a “boymom,” it’s as if they’re patting themselves on the back because boys are so difficult. I find it ridiculous “wrote u/poisonk.
u/pacificnorthwest976 posted on Reddit, “I usually associate parents that use girlmum or boymum with children who conform to gender stereotypes. I honestly do not see any point. We are all mothers.” And u/greenpotatoes9 concurred, stating, “The entire situation perpetuates gender stereotypes.”
Redditor u/MableXeno commented, “My fave is when someone makes a big deal about their BOY doing something, and it’s precisely what my girl child does, and if I say, ‘Ha, yeah, Girl does that, too!’ they always say, ‘It’s different for guys.’ Really? How is the act of eating dirt different for boys and girls? Fine. My child consumes dirt differently than yours!”
Some suggested that the #boymom persona may arise from gender dissatisfaction. Redditor u/blondebrunette wrote, “So many people I know badly want or desired a female partner. Then, when they find out it’s a boy, they adopt an extreme #boymom mentality, which always seems excessive to me.”
Redditor u/FauxbeeJune adds, “…there is some major gender disappointment coming out, and certain moms who have never had a girl feel like they are missing out on something.”
Some may find the contrast between “boy moms” and “girl moms” unusual, yet it is widely believed that boys are easier to raise than girls. In a 2018 Gallup Survey, 54% of Americans stated that raising girls is more difficult than raising boys; this sentiment has not changed since 1947. Note that the survey did not inquire about nonbinary or other genders; only the distinction between boys and girls was addressed.
Despite the popularity of hashtags like #boymom, the prevalent belief that boys are somehow easier to raise than girls does not appear to translate into how parents raise their children. In a comprehensive meta-analysis of the differences between parenting boys and girls, researchers concluded that there are no significant gender differences in how parents treat children. Possibly because, in the trenches of parenting, the common fact is that all children, regardless of sex or gender, are challenging.
Yet, for some, the issue with #boymom is less about establishing gender stereotypes and more about a sense of belonging for the parents. Some Redditors mentioned the perceived cliquish superiority of #boymom parents. Some speculated that the phenomenon of converting #boymom into “us versus them” may be the result of a lack of parental confidence.
U/sixmatt summed it up as follows: “It is an attempt to join a made-up, extremely significant organization. I’m a dad. I have a child. Nobody cares”
Regardless of the purpose behind the hashtag, one commenter put up the primary difference between the experiences of boy moms and girl moms fairly succinctly: Baby urinating in his own mouth while you were changing his diaper is the only boy-mom-related observation I can make.