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I am the mom of four kids. That still blows my mind a little bit. I always imagined I would be a high-powered businesswoman, taking Wall Street by storm, and later, when I was done being a financial mogul, I would have my one perfect child, a beautiful little girl.

Well here I am, many years later, and I was a stay-at-home mom for most of that time. I never did see Wall Street. I do have a beautiful little girl, as matter of fact I have two, and two handsome sons as well. Not the way I imagined it would be, but so much better.

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It is an adventure raising four children, and an even bigger adventure raising boys and girls. No matter what people say, neither gender is easier to parent, at least in my experience.

Now I will say that there are things that are easier with boys and things that are easier with girls, especially in high school.

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Dances are definitely easier with boys. I have been through several dances with Keeley, and it is a process that begins weeks, if not months, in advance. We search for the dress, the shoes and the accessories. We arrange appointments for hair, nails and makeup. Then we agonize over whether the right boy, or any boy, will ask her to be his date. The day of the dance is an all-day affair, from getting ready to getting pictures, with all-out mom involvement.

I started the dance routine with Quinn last year. What a difference. We didn't even really talk about the dance until two weeks before it happened. We shopped for his clothes a week before and we got everything at the first store we came to — from shoes to shirt and everything in between. He got ready about an hour before the dance and I was lucky to get a couple of pictures with him and his date, nothing like the hundreds I was used to with Keeley.

The hardest part of the dance routine for boys is the pressure put upon them when they ask a girl to go with them. No longer is just saying, "Do you want to go with me?" enough. No, it has to be some kind of big, creative endeavor that the girl can brag about to all her friends. If he doesn't, then it's almost an embarrassment. How shameful to just ask someone with words.

Then there is the stress of worrying about whether the girl will say yes. I'm learning a lot after having been on the girl side of things for so long. The girls are worrying that the boys will never ask and the boys never ask because they are so worried that the girl won't answer the way they want.

High school life isn't easier with girls, but you know a whole lot more with them. When Keeley would struggle in school, whether with friend issues or schoolwork, she would talk to us. It was still hard to see her hurting but we knew why she was upset and we would try to encourage and help however we could. I never know anything that is going on with Quinn. I'm lucky to hear that his day was good, bad or OK. And heaven forbid that I ask a question. For boys, at least my boy, a question is the kiss of death for conversation. So I not-so-patiently wait for those loquacious moments when I get caught up on his life.

There are other things that are easier, like taking a boy to a public restroom or spending a day shopping with a girl, but all in all each child is unique and raising them requires a lot of prayer, discussion, and help and advice from friends and family. And I can't imagine it any other way.

Jill Murphy writes from Manchester.

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