“Your Poor Husband!”

Jami is a stay at home mom of 4 girls. She recently moved halfway across the country and is trying to put down strong roots in the Midwest. Currently, her life revolves around her kids, but she is planning to start nursing school within the next year. You can also find her at Following the Bus.


“Your poor husband.”

Can I just go on record and say I am SO TIRED of hearing this?! Family, friends and strangers alike have hurled this phrase at me. It never fails that when I am on an outing with my 4 little girls, at least 2 or 3 people feel the need to say this to me. Why? What makes my husband someone to be pitied? What makes anyone think this is OK to say, especially in front of my girls? What type of message does this send to a child, to insinuate that they are some sort of a disappointment to their father simply because they are lacking a penis?

After the twins were born, I tried to let it roll off of me. I get it, society thinks every mom wants a daughter and every dad wants a son. Perhaps some, or even most, do. Maybe the vast majority’s idea of a “perfect family” is one with a son (no doubt the first born), a daughter, and a well behaved Golden Retriever. Fine. I figured the comments would stop eventually. When I got pregnant with #4, everyone assumed I (and more specifically, my husband) was hoping for a boy. I expected that. What I didn’t anticipate is that complete strangers would be so distraught when I announced that it was another girl. What difference does it make to them? Why is it so undesirable to have a crew of girls, or boys for that matter?

I have officially hit my breaking point and I am no longer polite to these people, well-meaning as they may be. Now when I get this comment, I give them a piece of my mind. First and foremost, I use a phrase I learned when people asked if my twins were “natural” or not. “Why do you ask/say that?” Luckily, this gets the point across to most people. However, there are still a few that press on and insist that living in a house full of girls is something to be upset about. To these people, I say that there is nothing upsetting about having 4 little girls that absolutely worship their daddy. 4 little girls that run to the door, arms wide open, the second he walks in. 4 little girls that crawl into his lap with a book. 4 little girls that love to snuggle in (as they call it) “daddy’s big girl bed”. My husband tells anyone that asks that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He knows how very lucky he is, and how special the bond between a father and daughter is.

Certainly, he has fears about raising 4 daughters, but I can assure you none of them have anything to do with hormones or boyfriends or makeup or (gasp!) paying for 4 weddings. His fears for his daughters are about how much society still views women as a lesser sex… that some people cannot accept that a woman can be just as smart, accomplished or athletic as a man, or cannot accept that a woman can, in fact, be all 3 of these things at the same time… that a relationship between a father and daughter cannot be just as fulfilling as that between a father and son.

D and I are working our hardest to raise strong, smart, independent girls that know, without a doubt, that they can conquer the world. We do not determine their value based on the sex organs they have, and neither should anyone else. When we look into each of our girls’ eyes, we do not feel sadness or disappointment, but rather pride and unconditional love. So, random stranger in the grocery store, please keep the “poor husband” comments to yourself, especially when little ears are listening. Oh, and you can take that “perfect family” image and shove it, because we have our perfect family right here.

Follow the Bus


Originally Posted on Follow the Bus.


  1. says

    I am the oldest of 5 girls. My husband has 6 sisters–no brothers. We have 3 daughters and 1 son. Research shows that the more women a man has in his family, the longer he tends to live. My husband is very fond of saying that between his wife, 10 sisters (original and in-law) and 3 daughters, he will NEVER DIE.

  2. says

    I have four daughters and it’s a dream come true. Beyond just being girls, each one of them is–get this–an individual human capable of thinking and feeling and rational and irrational actions. Why feel sorry for me? Why not my wife? Do they think that when I’m not home, my wife is calmly helping the girls braid the hair of ponies or paint rainbows on their bras? It’s insane. Our troubles and triumphs are human ones, not female ones.

    I get sick of hearing this, too. And I really get sick of how I am treasured when I’m out alone with my girls. If they’re misbehaving or having a fit in Costco, everyone has sympathy for the poor, overwhelmed dad. When my wife is alone with them? Dirty looks and comments about how she should maybe not take her daughters with her to the store. It would be nice if we treated everyone–child and adult–like people and not minor variations of a gender role established by Kellogs in the fifties.

  3. Jan says

    We had 6 girls and 1 boy so I’ve heard all these comments. My husband’s response was that he was meant to be surrounded by women.

  4. Erika Fultz says

    The ONLY time I would drop the “poor husband” line is if I were friends with the woman and her family and she’d said something about all the ladies being on their periods together! The resulting wave of tampons, pads, chocolate cravings and crying jags would be difficult in the most hardy of males!)

  5. Solrun says

    I have 4 daughters… And I love it…. Yes people say oh… And you don’t have any boys, poor you and poor your husband…. People give me a break… I love them and so does there father…… I have always wanted girls… Now my girls are grown and my Oldest has 2 boys… Those 2 grandsons are my boys… And each of the girls are such a Daddy’s girls…. They watch Football together, go shopping, go to baseball games together, go and see wrestling, go to play and Opera….. I think we are so blessed to have those 4 girls and my Husband loves to be the only male….. We even have a female dog….. People think we have allot of kids well girls but I don’t feel like that.. We just have 4 wonderful girls and if I was younger I go for the 5th one…… Good luck….. On poor you and your husband that does not have a boy 😉

  6. Elizabeth K says

    How great is it to read these comments about all these families with 4 girls? I am also one of four girls! The only way I feel sorry for my dad, is that we were all teenagers at the same time (that is difficult no matter the gender). I feel equally sorry for my mom! Now that I have kids, I apologize to them both frequently for that terribly difficult decade. They said it wasn’t as bad as I remember and it brought them closer together. Now we are all very close to both of my parents.

  7. Candice says

    I can relate. We have twin daughters and we are done having kids. Even our two pugs are girls and my husband and I constantly get the “your poor husband” comments and the “double trouble” twin comments and the “are they natural” comments. Because aparently because I had twins my fertility is everyone’s buissness. I know some “perfect families” and they are no more perfect than mine. My husband loves his girls and frankly wouldn’t have it any other way. My sister will visit with my nephew and when they leave. He is always glad he had his girls. Not that there is anything wrong with boys. But for us a sea of pink is just “perfect” :)

  8. Lisa says

    Oh Karen I absolutely get comments about having a house full of (only) boys. And I concer with them :/ Being outnumbered 6 to 1 has been weighing on me a lot lately. The never ending rough housing and talk about farts and penii and just “energy” is wearing. I am no frilly girl but it is exhausting. And maybe it is parenthood and not my kids sex, maybe a girl would be just as exhausting in the same or different way but… yeah.

  9. says

    We started getting the “your poor husband” comments when I was pregnant with our third girl. People would come up and tell us how badly they felt for us because we had three girls. My girls started to ask after their youngest sister was born why people thought it was such a bad thing that our family had three girls. I honestly don’t know why people do this. I wonder if they say things like that to moms of all boys. Somehow I doubt anyone goes up to the mom of three boys in the supermarket to tell them they’re so sorry she’s the lone female in a house of men.

    What I find most disturbing now that we’re expecting our fourth child, who happens to be a boy, is the excessive amount of cheering and celebrating that people do when they ask if I know the baby’s gender. I find it unsettling and most don’t know how to react when I tell them my husband would have been just as happy if this baby was also a girl. The other comments that we now get are the ones telling us that we can stop now that we’re going to have our boy like we finally got it right.

  10. Alison M says

    I loved this article!! I have 4 daughters and one son. Our son is number 4. Man the stuff I hear about our poor son and poor husband. I also saw the sadness in others when we told them number 5 was a girl. I was not sad I was elated!! We were having a healthy baby!!

    I was at the store one day with my mother and a man walked up to us, asked if they were all mine. I responded yes and he told me he would trade them all for boys! WHAT? Why would you say that in front of my girls? What message does that send them? We kindly told him we will take all the girls, we love raising girls. I also dearly love my son too.. and I also hate for him to hear these comments! I am now in charge of raising a strong, kind, loving man who may one day take a wife and I want him to be the best husband/father he can be!! And what boy would not love having all of his sister’s friends around when he is a teenager?

    Thanks for sharing I’m sure families with all boys feel this way too!

  11. ashley says

    I’m one of 4 girls!!!!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “You’re poor father”. In the past I’ve just laughed and shrugged it off. I love this article! If anyone ever says this to me again, I will respond with a different perspective. I will stand up for my sisters and I. Not my poor father. My lucky father. He has 4 strong willed, healthy , happy daughters. What more could he ask for? And screw the rest of the world who thinks of women as less than equal to a man.

    I forwarded your article to my mom. I’m going to send it to my sisters as well. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jaimie says

    As a mother of four girls I want to thank you for writing this!!!!! I echo these words and applaud you for sharing your feelings! Life with four beauties rocks and their father adores them!!!

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