Monday, April 30, 2012

Mommy, Who Do You Like Best? (Or Daddy)

"She" was given to me when my children were about 3, 5, and 7.
The purple things hanging from her hair, neck, wrist, and foot are babies.

With a coy look on her face and sound in her voice, my lifelong girlfriend said to me, “Sometimes I just don’t like them.” She was talking about her daughters who were about 13 and 8.  It was 1990 or so, and I was single with no kids… and dumbfounded.

“Mommy, who do you like best? Me, right!”
I’m happy to say that this is not a question I hear, although, they might “think” it sometimes.  Yes, I heard it a few times, playfully, when my three girls were in elementary school, but not now as a tween and two teens.

Sometimes I wonder why not. Anyone who has two or more children knows that they are individual and capable of displaying every emotion, causing Mom and Dad to do the same. And when a positive emotion is bestowed upon one kid and a not-so-positive emotion relegated upon another, how do you limit the sibling rivalry and keep all hell from breaking loose?

Okay, they’re not that bad.

My girls have similarities in some areas of their personalities; no problem responding there; i.e., similar advice and reactions for all. It’s the contrasts that require calmness and strategy. (Did I say calmness, that everlasting work in progress?)

Anyway, I’m dealing with full blown hormones, hormones upon the horizon, whining, giddiness, academic overachievement, academic underachievement, social butterflies, homebodies, queen bees (forced to work under duress), worker bees (when they want something), comedians, criers, sarcasm, wit, Chatty Cathys, mimes, singers, dancers, loud eaters, perfectionists, slow pokes, Speedy Gonzaleses, feistiness, huggers, non-huggers, lip kissers, “only on my forehead!” kissers, ETC!

I experience variations of these emotions and actions from ALL three kids… E-V-E-R-Y   D-A-Y.

It is NOT possible to treat them all the same and to LIKE them equally at all times.

What IS possible, is to LOVE them at all times and UNCONDITIONALLY.

Can you love all your children equally? What about liking them? I’d like to hear thoughts from parents of one child, and non-parents, too. Perhaps you’ll reflect on “your” childhoods.


Judy Thomas said...

Oh sure. But I only have one!

MissKris said...

Yes, you can. Mine - my son and daughter - are 33 and 35. They are my and my husbands best friends, as is our daughter-in-law. I think the secret is accepting them and respecting their individuality and not trying to remake them into who WE think they should be. And to pray for them every single day, no matter how old they are.

Hilary said...

I hear you. Loud and clear. There were times...

The love.. sure that's unconditional but they push us to the limits in the Like category sometimes. My boys are both men now, though one is still rather close too teenish in numbers and maturity. Both are very likable people, now.

That whole list of traits and quirks all scream one thing... NORMAL! But you knew that. :)

I once read a letter which appeared in a Dear Abby or Ann Landers post (being sisters, I wonder if they ever asked who was liked best?) about loving the oldest best because... the middle one because.. the youngest because.. and it was very touching.

Here it is,2346986

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

You are so cute. And so funny. And so-true-to-life.

In reply to your question to us, I say... How can any human being, love/like all their kids, equally?!? We are human. We react to many stimuli. And our children certainly give us plenty of stimuli. ,-)

Yes, even when they are fully grown.

Sorry, but the whole scene goes on and on and on.


Abby said...

Ooooooh, another interesting topic!

I remember, after having the first baby for a few months and thinking I had it all figured out. Then the second one came along and was a whole 'nother story. Served me right!

I definitely LOVE Them all. I like one more than others, and that changes at any given time. Mine are all boys, I can only imagine throwing girl hormones into the mix!

Just Two Chicks said...

Ah, so easy to answer right now! ;)

I don't deal with sibling rivalry. Perhaps it's because I have 1 boy and 1 girl, who have very different personalities, and expect different things from me. Usually the "unfair" aspect comes up when I'm buying them things. The girl is always asking for things, and is told no often, the boy never asks for things to be bought for him (clothes and shoes), so when he does, I do go buy it. What they get balances out, but because the girl is always asking, she hears no more, so she feels he's getting preferential treatment, until I explain (you got this, so he's now getting this).

I do love them equally, but they're human, and do things that totally get to me. That doesn't stifle the love, it just makes me need to not be around the one that's making me nuts at the time. The boy is more like me, so I feel I can relate to him better... this doesn't mean my love for him is stronger, or that he is no further from having me wring his neck than his sister.

How wonderful is it, that at this point in time, they have both equally driven me off the edge of sanity? ;)

It's more important to me that they love each other, and stick together. We won't be here forever, and all they'll have are the families they form and each other. Since I have no siblings, I want mine to have a strong bond. :)

Linda Hensley said...

I grew up in a family with too many kids, and sibling rivalry often got nuclear. To tell the truth, it still goes on even though we've all grown up. I didn't have any kids of my own, so I get to hold the coveted position of perfect aunt to all of my siblings' spawn -- and I get to hand the kids back when they get cranky. It's the best of all worlds!

Betty W said...

I have two girls and they are as different from one another than one can be. But I love them both equally! I don't LIKE them equally all the time, or some of the things they do, but it will not change the LOVE i feel for them. I just hope and pray I can portray that feeling to them.

Sr Crystal Mary said...

I have two girls and two boys all fully grown now. I have always loved them madly. They are all different yet that is the best part about them. They range in age now from 33 to 46..At times I wish they were young again. We did so much together. Now they all have their own lives. I see them at times and the love is still there.. They are all nice people and I am proud of them. At times they feel like strangers and I wonder how I am their mother. But, I wouldn't change them.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Oh baby, there were times I wanted to farm 'em out and other times I wouldn't let go for the world.

Motherhood is a roller-coaster ride to say the least.

I think is very normal not to like your kids all the time but love 'em no matter what!

God bless and have a fantastic day sweetie!!! :o)

Thánh Thiện Tâm said...

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Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

I feel your pain. I do not miss those hormonal days with my daughter. In those instances, it was easier to like my sons. Just as I'm sure my kids like their dad much better when I'm hormonal! lol Since my kids are all 7-8 years apart, I can say the rise and fall of emotions were the same whether I had one, two or three children. The older my daughter gets the more I like her. Love has never been a question, of course. No love like a mother's love.

Unknown said...

As the parent of an "only" I didn't have to deal with the sibling rivalry. Our daughter picked her own siblings in high school. She's almost 35 now and a few of those friendships have stuck better even than some sibling relationships.

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Rebecca S. said...

Oh, I do think kids take turns needing more attention paid to them. For us, with four kids, this seems to change daily, sometimes hourly. I used to find it laborious, especially when they were younger and fighting with each other a lot more than they do now. Now, I think I am better at just rolling with the fluctuations, and when it is clear I'm not, I try and take a nap or some time out for myself. My kids never verbalised 'who's your favourite' so I honestly can't say if they ever have wondered.
I have sometimes thought that the younger of my two brothers was my mother's favourite child...but she would flatly deny it at every turn :)

Buckeroomama said...

My friend said it best, I think.

'You love your children equally --just in different ways.'

I absolutely with that.

Loving my kids? Absolutely. Liking my kids? They're 5 and 7 --what's there not to like at that age (except for the whining)? =)