March 17, 2011

My Favorite Child

Hubabaloo is spilling out in the mom blog world from this article: "Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son a Little Bit More."  I see where the writer, Kate, attempts to go with the article, but she fails to make the confession in a way that makes people empathize with her.  Because some things, no one wants to read.   Here, she loves her son more than her daughter.  She loves the youngest, snuggly kid more.  She blames it on the lack of bonding with her oldest daughter at birth, the difficulties with her first born, la la la la.

Facts, which are all surprisingly similar to James and Stella (only my son is the oldest).  James is a fighter - has always been.  Stella is a lover - has always been.  James is by far the more difficult child.  Stella has been easy from day one.

The author, Kate, writes a follow-up article, wherein she defends herself as "I Am Not a Perfect Mother" and explains that the article was offensive to people because: "It probably struck a little too close to home for many of you…you’ve had those same thoughts about one or more children in your darkest, most private times…and found it obscene to see your own worst thoughts out in the light of day."

Whoa nelly.  Now, thems just fighting words.  I can just imagine the Perfect Mothers of the World uniting (oh, I'm not invited either, don't worry), lighting a candle, and praying for this woman. Now.  

I think Kate missed the boat from the get-go.  The name of the article should have been: "Motherhood Sucks So Bad Sometimes, that I Don't Like Either of My Kids."  

The misstep in Kate's article is the failure to distinguish between "love" and "like".

I have two children. My Favorite Child is whichever one of the two is being good and not giving me hell at that given moment.  I like James when he's hugging Stella, reading quietly, playing hard and being sweet.  I do not like him when he's being a total tool, pain in the ass, brat of a three-year old.  I like Stella when she's carrying around her baby doll, kissing her Daddy, and sucking her thumb.  I do not like the child when she's the postergirl for the Terrible Twos, biting the ever-loving crap out of her brother, and I'm stuck worrying that she's going to carry on that nonsense at preschool. 

Yes, I have two children.  Who I love exactly the same.   My like for them, however, is a giant, swinging pendulum which changes as quickly as Stella can strip off her diaper and run out the front door.  

But the love for my children is woven into the very fibers of my being, and that love is the same for both of them.  And yes, I think instinct is absolutely tied to love.

Think of it this way.  I am walking down the middle of the road with a child on each side of me.  Some danger comes across my path (truck, bus or alien landing).  I'm not going to protect one child over the other.  Rather, I am going to throw myself into the danger and push both of them out of the way.  

Oh, and there's always the organ donation test!  I have two kidneys and two kids.  Each needs a kidney that matches mine. Well, they both get one, and I'll figure out something else for myself.   

Love is a sacrifice.  Love is action.  Love is commitment.  Love is instinct.   And I have the exact same sacrifice, action and commitment to both of my kids.  Period.  I love them the same.

Kate seems to draw the line on love at annoyance and picking which kid is easy.  She says, "My son [the youngest] was the only person I have met under ideal circumstances in my entire life.  For us, bonding was instant and uncomplicated." There you have it.  Her son was easy, and the bond was uncomplicated. So at her worst (?), she's a lazy parent who is incapable of distinguishing between like and love, and thus, she fails to make the connection in her own brain that an uncomplicated life (of course) equals more warm fuzzy feelings.  But does more warm fuzzies equal more love?  I think we're still talking like here, people.

Again.  Love is a sacrifice.  Love is action.  Love is commitment.  Love is instinct. 

Being a parent is exceptionally gratifying and beautiful, often fun, and full of really awesome Norman Rockwell moments. Being a parent can also be one's worst nightmare, a swift kick to the face and a seemingly  complete loss of self.  But to pick out one child and make a statement like, "hey, that's the munchkin I love more" is just plain parenting stupidity.  

And it's a shame that Kate's blogging isn't lucrative enough to support the endless therapy she just created for her daughter.  All from the choice of word and failure to make a time/space distinction:  love versus like. 

Does this post even make sense? 

I know... people in glass houses.  Sure, my kids will probably need therapy from me cross-dressing them, or my random Mommy Dearest moments. Well, I'm hoping my blog will make enough money for their joint therapy fund.  Shut up.

Right now, I love and like both James and Stella equally.  Because it's 5:15am and they are beautiful sleeping angels.   Ask me again around the 5:15pm dinnertime witching hour....when the children morph into alien pods, and then quickly hatch into baby demons.  

Baby demons who I love completely equally, mind you....


Maeve's Momma said...

Agreed from top to bottom, although I am the proud mommy of only 1 baby and so can't make a distinction there.

Also my husband and I like the part about them coming out of alien pods and becoming baby demons at 5 because ours does, too, only at 3:30 or 4. Must be the time difference. :)

shanna2777 said...

I agree with you. I, too, only have one (daughter) but I cannot imagine loving another like her less. Thank you for your insight!


Elizabeth said...

Awesome post Meredith! So important to remember the definition of those two words and distinguish between them. I have two sons and both are very different, but i agree with you the love is constant and equal and the like just depends on the day! :)

Mere said...

Thanks, ya'll! Have a great week!