The Ideal Family: Two Girls?

by Samantha on April 10, 2011

Image courtesy of www.wallcoo.net

Apparently many of us are in for a shock. We do not have the perfect family, according to a new survey by Bounty.com.
According to this poll, the “perfect” family consists of two girls. Yes, you heard right, people. That means that if you have any other familial configuration than what has been pronounced via these findings (of which I’m not sure are completely scientific), then you are likely very unhappy. Well at least that’s what the survey seems to say.
The happiest parents are, apparently, those with two girls, followed by those with one boy and one girl, then two boys. The list continues with a number of varied filial permutations, ending with – surprisingly – four girls! How ironic that two girls are supposedly the ideal complement to one’s family, yet doubling down on the double-X chromosone will only get you a double-dose of misery. Strange.
Following is the Bounty list, in decreasing order of parental happiness:
1. Two girls
2. One boy and one girl
3. Two boys
4. Three girls
5. Three boys
6. Four boys
7. Two girls and one boy
8. Two boys and one girl
9. Three boys and one girl
10. Three girls and one boy
11. Two boys and two girls
12. Four girls
The site also goes on to discuss the benefits of having two girls and the negatives of having four girls. You can find more details about the lists in an article I wrote about it for Technorati, here.
Firstly, I’m really not sure what the purpose of this survey was and exactly how they thought that the rest of us poor sods who don’t fit into the proscribed “happiest families” contingent would feel. I mean, really – of course parents of two girls are happy, but isn’t there something to be said about the rest of us that isn’t pitiful or downright insulting? We may not fit into the mold that Bounty has arbitrarily formed, but rest assured that I as well as many parents of children that are not two girls, are very, very happy about the type of family that we/they do have and wouldn’t change it for the world.
In a larger sense, there is something disturbing about a survey that at once pits one set of parents against others, as well as perpetuating gender stereotypes about boys and girls.
For example, some of the so-called “benefits” of having two girls are that they are “rarely noisy” and that they “help around the house.”
Many parents of two girls (or more) are probably laughing out loud right now, and will tell you that their kids are not “rarely noisy;” if anything, they are the opposite. As well they are pulling their hair out trying to get them to help around the house.
In other words, if it isn’t already apparent in this post, I am not a fan of surveys like these. They set up a hierarchy amongst parents and pit us against each other (the “haves” and the “have-nots”) unnecessarily. Because, really – parenting in and of itself is a hard, hard job. It’s rewarding beyond compare, but it’s an effort to do it well. Why add guilt and longing for what we don’t have into the mix?
So I have to ask: what do you think about this survey? Do you agree? Is the two-girl family the best type of family? Why or why not?
What type of family do you have? How do you feel about surveys like this?
I look forward to hearing from you!
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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

RoryBore April 10, 2011 at 3:54 am

Lucky #7! In my house, the boy is the oldest, followed by the 2 girls. So, does that make a difference? What if the 2 girls are twins? What if they a years apart in age. I know families that are in both categories, and those mommies look just as tired and overwhelmed at times as I do. So many contingencies that could play out! Yep, agreed, pretty ridiculous.
Why do we love to “compare” so much in this world. Is it mass insecurity — everyone needing assurance and confirmation that they are “ok”. Nothing good ever comes from this. The only thing I know for sure, is that with having 3 kids — we blew any chance at “family of four discount.” LOL

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Samantha April 10, 2011 at 4:15 am

@RoryBoreHi RoryBore,
Yes, so ridiculous and infuriating that parents are set up to question and second-guess their families! Some people have difficulties having children and others couldn't have more than what they have for whatever reasons…these types of surveys just perpetuate a completely unrealistic ideal that states that all of us choose the amount of children that we are fortunate enough to have…and discounts the fact that perhaps there were other factors that were attributed to the number of children we were fortunate enough to end up with.

And yea – you raised a really good point. What about twins?? I have twin boys and the synergy between the two of them because they are twins and the same age is surely very different from siblings of varying ages.

Overall a very, very silly survey indeed.

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Skiba April 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I am not sure who they surveyed, but no one asked me. We have two boys and we are very happy. Maybe the survey was backed by some children clothing store like Gap, which always has 70% more girl's clothing than boy's in the hopes that people will have two girl family and increase sales. Happiness is very subjective. How did they go about measuring something of this nature and what outliers did they consider in their survey in terms of the economics, relationship or mental health of the family? Maybe the surveyors should begin by assessing their own level of mental health and happiness because the seem a bit off.

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Samantha April 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm

@Skiba
Well said!
Agreed that the survey does seem off – I mean, how does it account for the large numbers of families that do not fall into the two-girl schematic? And the fact that, like you, these families are actually happy? I think we have to take surveys like this with a grain of salt. Or maybe a bag or salt, in this case.
Thanks for commenting!

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The Paradise Series April 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Aww, and I have always been told the ideal family is when you can have two wives. Oh well, I have had my two wives, but not at the same time. So, can we say I have had the ideal family? AND NO, I am not looking for a third. This present marriage of mine is a dream marriage and we have passed our silver wedding anniversary without the first cross word. The first marriage was good too, but in that case there was no choice of staying together. I have had a wonderful life with my two wives and could never ask for anything better. Dr Robert E McGinnis — sole survivor of his own life.

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Holly Ann April 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I've got 2 boys and girl. I can't lie, my older boy is the one that sometimes makes me want an extra shot of rum in my diet coke, but that doesn't mean that we are generally unhappy. I love my family and I know it is as it should be. :)
Surveys like these include so much bias/subjectivity that calling them scientific is laughable in my personal opinion. I completely agree with you. Let's focus on how we can help each other, not bring forth negative emotions unnecessarily.

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Samantha April 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

@Holly Ann Yes, I agree with the whole topic of this being “scientific.” Children are individuals, and to generalize about their behaviour due to feedback from a sample group queried via a website shouldn't carry too much weight in my opinion.
Thanks for your comment!

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Samantha April 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

@The Paradise Series Interesting perspective! You've brought up a point of view to make us all realize that the “perfect family” is certainly subjective. Which underscores my point that the “science” behind this survey doesn't hold much weight.

Congratulations on your very successful marriage!

Thanks for your comment.

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Grumpy Grateful Mom April 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I think it's fun to read surveys like this. We are #11. With all my kids fighting so much lately, that number sounds generous. :)

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Samantha April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm

@Grumpy Grateful Mom Funny! I'm number 11 as well, though the age range is pretty vast. These surveys can't be taken too seriously and they certainly are not scientific!
Thanks for your comment.

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Allie April 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Oh Boy! You opened a can of worms!

I have my oldest as a boy and younger girl, 2 years apart.

The happiest family is the one with the most love and understanding.

It is all in your perspective.

I am thankful for one of each.

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Samantha April 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

@Allie Hi Allie – Agreed! You have the right perspective, for sure :)

Thanks for commenting.

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Cathy April 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Okay I have three boys – we're pretty happy. The only thing I *might* concur with is that having an odd number of children always seems to result in odd man out. And, the forever table for 4 with a chair shoved on the end (hate that!).

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Samantha April 16, 2011 at 1:49 am

@Cathy
Hi Cathy,
I guess there are pros and cons for even and odd-numbered amounts of children; I never thought of the chair situation! I guess I will be encountering that soon as well as I have toddler boys (twins) and a seven-year-old. My oldest (in her twenties) lives on her own for so for all intents and purposes I'm dealing with a three-kid scenario a lot of the time. Twins are particularly good at having their own little thing going and interacting with each other in their own little world. In this case, there's more that one “odd man out.” All of us are left out!
Thanks for your comment.

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Anonymous April 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

I have four girls. Not thrilled about this study!

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Samantha April 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

@Anonymous Because according to the study, you must have a miserable life! So silly. Thanks for commenting.

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Kenda April 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

New follower from BlogFrog – hope you'll come by TheCaffeineCoquette.com and say hello!

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Samantha April 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm

@Kenda Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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Mry Jhnsn May 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Ha! Well, I have to say my ideal family was two or three boys so what do I know… I ended (yes, ended) with one of each and it is to soon to tell if we are happy ;)

I think the survey (I hope) is entertainment and it is right up there with every facebook and myspace survey.

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Samantha May 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

@Mry Jhnsn Hi Mary, I was definitely entertained by this survey and couldn't take it too seriously. That lack of scientific controls and methodology alone made it null and void as far as I was concerned.
And, I am happy with my family complement of kids, in spite of what they say!

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somemother.com June 17, 2011 at 1:47 am

The perfect family is the one God gave me! Two girls, one boy. And guess what?everyone else's is perfect for them too.

(I wonder if this survey looked into adulthood, when eldercare becomes an issue… does having adult daughters affect then? Care-wise, positively…? But, is it better financially to have sons…? Men getting paid more and being able to have continuous work is just a reality….)

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Samantha June 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

@somemother.com I agree! Everyone's family is just what they should have. There's no “right” or “wrong.” And interesting point about daughters and sons and eldercare. I'd like to see a study about that too!

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