Friday, March 25, 2011

Having Favorites

If you haven't come across this attention-grabbing Babble post called I Think I Love My Son A Little Bit More Than My Daughter, check it out. Or if you'd like to save yourself thirty seconds, I'll give you the main idea: Mom has two kids (and another on the way): a 20 month-old son and a 3 year-old daughter. Her son's birth was easy, they bonded instantly and he is a low-key affectionate child. Her daughter's birth was hard, they didn't bond instantly and she is defiant and hard-to-manage. The mom feels guilty because she loves her son (just a little bit) more than her daughter.

A few days later, Babble ran this response from a father of our (with another one on the way), 5 Reasons I Would Never Publicly Compare My Children.which I thought makes some really great points, particularly when he talks about the dangers of holding up a snapshot of the present moment as permanent and forever. This mom may feel like she loves her son a little but more now but fast forward two years, ten years, and it might be just the reverse, or she might not be able stand either or it might be the third child who's the real impossible one and odd man out, The one thing you can rely on in parenting is that everything changes, constantly, but when you post a controversial blog, that doesn't change. It remains and after fifteen minutes, collects dust until one day, your daughter unearths the thing and her heart is broken. Some things you can't take back.

At the same time, I think its brave of Katie to put herself out there to alleviate the guilt and confusion of other moms who may feel the same way. I was terrified during my second pregnancy and in the first year or two of my daughter's life before she was a real person, that since I loved my son so unthinkably much, there wouldn't be enough love for her. Now she is Sec and he is Primo and they are so wildly different and my relationship with them is so wildly different, I would be hard-pressed to compare. I feel such a kinship with Primo in so many ways, but in some ways he is unreachable to me. Sec is like a tiny version of me which makes her maddening sometimes but also means that I understand her and her needs profoundly. I do find myself sometimes protective of one more than the other, but I hardly think that's a matter of love and more a matter of the ways I've come to see them, and I try, hard, to be aware of that instinct and balance it out.

Its like asking which arm I love more. They're my arms. I need them both. Maybe I have this "I love you the purplest" perspective because I'm a sanctimommy but maybe its because I refuse to ask the question "Who do I love more?"Or maybe the explanation is that BOTH my kids are defiant and hard-to-manage, And I hope it doesn't break their heart one day to read that.