Friday, February 13, 2009

Erma Bombeck on Raising Children

Thanks to Kim at The Mommy Machine for the interview!

One of the questions was about the differences between raising boys and raising girls. Erma Bombeck penned one of my favorite pieces on the subject, and luckily enough for me, some other patsy kind person already typed it out somewhere on the WWW. Okay, boys and girls, can you spell "c-u-t-a-n-d-p-a-s-t-e?


If you want to stir up a hornet's nest, just ask mothers, "Who are harder to raise - boys or girls?"

The answer will depend on whether they're raising boys or girls.

I've had both, so I'll settle the argument once and for all.

It's girls.

With boys you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane. It's all there. The fruit flies hovering over their waste can, the hamster trying to escape to cleaner air, the bedrooms decorated in Early Bus Station Restroom.

With girls, everything looks great on the surface. But beware of drawers that won't open. They contain a three-month supply of dirty underwear and rubber bands with blobs of hair in them.

You have to wonder about a girl's bedroom when you go in to make her bed and her dolls have a look of fear and disbelief in their eyes.

A mother once wrote me to agree. She said that "after giving birth to three boys, I finally got a girl on my fourth try. At first, she did all the sweet little things I longed to see. She played coy, put her hands to her face when she laughed and batted her eyes like Miss Congeniality.

"Then she turned fourteen months and she struck like a hurricane. When she discovered she could no longer sail down the bannister and make my hair stand on end, she turned to streaking. I'd dress her ever so sweetly and go to the breakfast dishes. Before one glass was washed, she'd strip, unlock the door and start cruising the neighborhood. One day, the dry cleaner made a delivery and said, 'My goodness, I hardly recognized Stacy with her clothes on.'

"As she got older, she opened her brother's head with a bottle opener for taking her dolls and called the school principal a 'thug' to his face.

"I'm pregnant again, and now I sleep with a football under my pillow each night."

I knew of another mother who said, "Boys are honest. Whenever you yell upstairs, 'What's all that thumping about?' you get an up front reply, 'Joey threw the cat down the clothes chute. It was cool.'

"When my daughter is upstairs playing with her dolls I yell, 'What are you girls doing?' She answers sweetly, 'Nothing."

"I have to find out for myself that they're making cookies out of my new bath powder and a $12.50 jar of moisturizer.

"Her pediatrician advised me to 'not notice' when she insisted on wearing her favorite outfit for four months. How do you ignore a long dress with a ripped ruffle, holes in the elbow and a Burger King crown? How would you handle it if you were in a supermarket and the loudspeaker announced, 'Attention Shoppers. We have a small child in produce wearing a long pink dress with a gauze apron, glittery shoes and a Burger King crown'?

"Our third child was born recently. Another girl. I told the orderly to pass maternity and go straight to geriatrics. I rest my case. God knows it's the only rest I've had in six years."

Girls mature faster than boys, cost more to raise, and statistics show that the old story about girls not knowing about money and figures is a myth. Girls start to outspend boys before puberty - and they manage to maintain this lead until death or an ugly credit manager, whichever comes first.

Males are born with a closed fist. Girls are born with the left hand cramped in a position the size of an American Express card.

Whenever a girl sees a sign reading, "Sale, Going out of Business, Liquidation," saliva begins to form in her mouth, the palms of her hands perspire and the pituitary gland says, "Go, Mama."

In the male, it is quite a different story. He has a gland that follows a muscle from the right arm down to the base of his billfold pocket. It's called "cheap."

Girls can slam a door louder, beg longer, turn tears on and off like a faucet, and invented the term, "You don't trust me."

So much for "sugar and spice and everything nice..."

{reprinted without permission, of course}



  1. Oh my word this article had me laughing out loud. It is so right on it's

    See what you experienced at the ice skating was exactly what I was scared of being my Bounce plex sounds great! :) All except the 18th I'm open. I don't know what the hours are, but I need to be home by 3(I have one in public(they have an awesome autism class). Anyway, I am looking forward to it.
    Hey, are any of your boys/girls in scouts? We have to find a boy scout troop in another year or so and I was just curious.

    I know this is short notice and I apologize for that, but the Elysburg Presby church is showing Fireproof. We saw it in theaters, but we're going again. ;) very good marriage building movie. Bring tissues if you decide to come! ;) If you're interested I believe it starts at 7. From what I understand you bring blankets and such and they show it on their big screen. ;) I'm not sure about popcorn or that kind of stuff, I'll have to call someone. A movie isn't a movie without popcorn, right? At least not in my Enjoy your Friday.

  2. Thanks for posting that!! It is absolutely hilarious!

  3. I love, love, love me some Erma and am linking this into your interview.

  4. What an absolute delight. I am a big fan of Kim's blog and it was wonderful to discover your interview today. Kim's idea for weekly interviews are inspired, aren't they? Great bloggers connecting to other great bloggers.

    Oh, and I must say that you are brilliant. Any Mom who knows that girls are hands down harder to raise simply has her facts straight. :)


  5. This post had me laughing outloud! I have to agree with her. I have 3 boys and 1 girl so far my experience has been that she is like having 3 girls. At the age of 4, she's already a drama queen and insists that she knows everything about everything. While her twin (a boy), always asks for my opinion and never puts up a fight when I lay out of his clothes for him to wear the next day. She, on the other hand, acts as if the world is gonna end if she sees her Tinkerbell underwear laying out for her to wear instead of her Hannah Montana underwear.

    I found your blog after reading Kim's interview with you!! I love that she does these interviews every Friday...I enjoy her blog so much and it's always fun to find new blogs to follow!