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Do You Love One Child More? You Aren't Alone, But Would You Openly Admit It?

Do you feel guilty for favoring one child over the other?

A fairly recent survey shows one in six mothers has a favorite child – but would never admit to it.  That’s according to Netmums, one of the most popular parenting websites in the UK.

More than 1,000 mothers responded to the survey, with 16 per cent admitting that they love one child more than the others. One third said that they love their children in exactly the same way, while just over half said they love their children differently – but equally.

The survey interests be because a post over on Being Pregnant, Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son A Little Bit More is getting a lot of attention.

In the article, Kate writes with unblinking honesty about how a difficult birth and recovery left her little time to bond with her daughter who has grown into the more challenging of her children.  An ideal birth allowed her to bond immediately with her son who is the cuddlier of the two.  Although I’ve only had two children for three weeks now, feeling drawn toward the sweeter child is understandable.  Natural, even.  I think it’s when Kate discusses the possibility of losing a child that has readers/commenters up in arms:

There are moments in my least sane and darkest thoughts when I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son (assuming crazy, dire, insane circumstances that would never actually occur in real life). I know that sounds completely awful and truly crazy.

Then I feel terrible and ashamed for ever having thought such a thing, because I really love my daughter and I would never want to lose her at all.

While the survey tells us Kate most certainly isn’t alone in her predilection toward one child over another, one look at the more than one hundred comments shows that a lot of people are outraged she’s being so public about her feelings. In other words, it’s not necessarily that Kate has a favorite child, it’s that she admitted it so publicly. The thought of that little girl stumbling across that bit of writing some day is pretty painful.

My mom has often told me she could never love one kid over the other, just “differently”. I personally think my mom secretly does have favorites (and it ain’t me!) but she would deny it to her dying day. Even though I’m certain my mom loves my youngest brother best it would devastate me if she were to admit this.

As for my own mothering approach, I would rather claw my eyes out than admit to loving one child over the other. Which is why I’m not sure how I feel about Kate’s honesty. On the one hand, I feel nothing but compassion toward Kate and completely understand that perhaps she’s unburdening herself as an attempt to move past these feelings.  But I wonder if, in the long run, such a public forum is more damaging than healing to the mother-daughter relationship she’s trying so hard to forge.

Photo:  flickr.com/photosavvy

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