Before kids, I would occasionally hear parents say that they love all their children equally and I just took it all as truth. I then had kids myself and I quickly figured out that this was not the case at all. I do not love my children equally, not even in the slightest. Now, you might think this is horribly mean and how dare I even say this out loud. There is a very good reason why I do not love my children equally, let me tell you why.
No child is ever exactly the same, not even twins. It is hard to even think that we can love different things exactly the same. Here is a big truth though, I love all my kids, with an insane amount of mushy love. But the hard truth is each love is different to each child. And this is not because I am a horrible person, it is because my love has to make sense to them.
My eldest daughter is very affectionate and gentle, whilst my second is rough and tumble with a touch of cuddles. Both are so different. If I smothered my second with kisses she would try and wriggle out of my arms to go and play but if I did it with my first, she could stay there and take it all in forever. Do you see what I mean? I cannot love them equally, I love them differently.
As my eldest becomes more independent and my youngest enters the terrible twos, things shift. As one requires more attention and the other is able to go about her day a little more unaided the love is shifted. This is something I have found. That even though the love is there and always will be, it shifts and that is ok!
What about having favourites? Psychologically and unintentionally having a favourite child happens sometimes. It is not something we set out to do, but at some stages in our lives with factors most of the time out of our control, we will favour one over the other. Again, does this make us a bad parent? Of course not. Do you feel a little squirmish hearing it out loud? Probably.
By nature, it’s really difficult to love our kids equally. The love will flow from one to the other in ebbs and flows as they need it. Is love always there? Of course, without a doubt. Is it equal all the time, definitely not. The love will show itself differently all the time depending on needs and circumstances.
Of course, this is something we would never tell our kids, let alone admit to ourselves, but one thing that’s clear is that as parents we will have good and bad days with our kids, we do the best job we can and some days the love will flow and other days our love is tested. This is part of the crazy ride of parenting and we don’t have to feel bad about trying to work through all the thoughts and emotions that come with it. If you think it, there is a big chance that some other parent has had the same thought as you.
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