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Loving Children Equally Might Also be a “Dad Thing”

By Whit Honea |

BrothersHello, my name is Whit, and I used to have a favorite child. It was mostly due to timing, stages, throwing a spiral, and other things on which you judge children. He was my favorite and I didn’t hide it. In fact, I yelled it from the blogtops.

Why am I admitting this? Well, apparently (I say “apparently” because I didn’t hear about it until today) there was a lot of hootin’, hollerin’, and tweetin’ this past week about a post written on Babble in which the blogger proclaims that he has a favorite child, and then dares us (where “us” equals the reader) to say that we don’t. Then, about a dozen subsequent posts later, he drops this nugget: “Maybe it’s a dad thing.”

That got to me. The fact is, he, as a blogger, is free to say whatever he wants about his own life and his personal feelings toward kids, movies, politics, or ice cream, but to insinuate that it might be something that dads tend to do? Well, that steps away from the personal and into my space. I do not care for guilt by association. It angered me enough to write a tersely worded reply, but our posts have to be longer than that so I decided to give it a great deal of thought — and, here is the shocker, it turns out he is right. I am a dad and there was a time that I openly admitted that I had a favorite kid. Hence, the first line of this post. Give a hoot and feel free to holler. Also, follow me on Twitter.

Loving one child so much was something that haunted me for years, and as such I addressed it in a recent video that I made with a group of other dads. We discussed our thoughts and fears about fatherhood, and my story dealt with the concern that there isn’t enough love to go around — that it might be impossible for parents to love their children equally. After all, how much love can one guy have? Love is not some endless resource like water, bacon, or oil. Love is finite, isn’t it?

And still I loved the one son more than anything else you could possibly name. Yes, even more than whatever you just said.

Thankfully, I was able to move past it, and I am now pleased to say that I love both of my children exactly the same. Sure, I might do something with one more than the other, but that is playing to their individual requests and interests rather than any sort of ranking on my behalf. The fact is, I don’t love one more than the other because I love them both all the way to eleven, and that is one level higher than love normally goes.

By now you are probably wondering how it is that I was able to start loving my second child just as much as my first, and the answer is easy: He was born.

And I have never looked back.

baby boys

 

Photos

Honea ExpressRead more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).


 

Also from Whit:

The Stars Upon Thars

The Book Burners

Picking on Picky People

Tales of a Playground Loner

 

More on Babble

About Whit Honea

whithonea

Whit Honea

Whit Honea is an award-winning writer living in the greater Los Angeles area with his wife, two boys, and too many pets. His personal blog, Honea Express, is updated quarterly (give or take.) Read bio and latest posts → Read Whit Honea's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Loving Children Equally Might Also be a “Dad Thing”

  1. Zach Rosenberg says:

    I think in this issue, we need to consider a couple of things: first, the difference between loving and liking. Love is a deep and complicated thing. Liking is a simple thing – you can go day to day liking something more or less. I really liked the glass of water I had when I got home. So much so that I had another. It was too much – so unfortunately, I don’t like water much right now. Tomorrow, it’ll be different. But I love my kid. Some days, I don’t like how he’s acting. You could argue that some days, I just don’t like him. But I still love him. I still want the world for him – and even on the days when I don’t like him much because he’s being three – I’d still jump in front of a car to save his life. Liking someone is a fleeting thing, but loving someone is for real. You didn’t love your high school sweetheart (I mean, unless you married her). You just liked her a lot, and didn’t know what love was.

    Second – I think we spend a lot of time simplifying the emotions of men…and even when us bloggers spend a lot of time fighting for people to see how complicated we are emotionally – we still simplify it. Case in point – Buzz Bishop writes that he has a favorite kid and how complicated that distinction is, and many commenters (and even some other dad bloggers) argued that he’s simply wrong and there’s no way you could boil down emotions like that. So…let’s decide: is it truly a simple feat for him to make a distinction between liking and loving and having reasons behind it?

    He even simplifies it himself by saying that maybe it’s a “dad thing.”

    If it were a mom, we might wonder if she had a smoother pregnancy with one kid over another, different hormones, different experiences…something, anything. With dads, we say that they’re a monster and need help and that’s it.

    Third – love isn’t finite. You don’t tell your wife, kids, parents or other loved ones that you have 3 units of love for them. You don’t say “I loved you 10 when you were born but 14 now.” Love is a concept to talk about some incredibly selfless emotional…thing. It’s basically a word to explain the unexplainable. Why do we cry tears of joy just looking at our spouse? Why do we want to make the world a better place just because we have a baby? Because it’s love – love is a crazy synergy between chemicals, emotions and the miracle of life. It’s not a liquid inside of one of your glands, and it’s not something you keep on your shelf. It’s a miracle.

    In any event, as always, it’s good to have these conversations. Why do humans act the way they do? Why do we love the way we do? Will we ever know? No. We just feel it. And inevitably, we’ll try to explain this stuff and fail. But it’s important that we keep at it.

  2. dadcamp says:

    The “maybe it’s a dad thing” was related to the clip I embedded from modern family, and representative of other feedback I’ve received from dads. your mileage may vary.

    other clip i wanted to embed? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI

    or one from much ado about nothing. whatever. my parenting is a work in progress, i’m not perfect, i’m trying.
    what else can I say?

  3. I Choose Change says:

    Investing our love in our children and helping them form solid attachments with their parents, with others, with their siblings is essential in the formation of healthy relationships as they mature into adulthood.

  4. beta dad says:

    I had that same struggle for the 30 seconds Twin A was out and Twin B was still in.

  5. twobusy says:

    Outstanding.

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