The first and most important part of being a mom is to love your kids, right? We’re their number one cheerleaders, no matter how awful or unloveable they may seem. The phrase “only a mother could love…” exists for a reason.
But what if you can’t – or don’t – like your kid? We don’t all get the babies of our dreams. Every kid comes with challenges, and sometimes the match between mother and child just isn’t what you wanted.
At least that was the experience of one mom, who writes about her disappointment in her daughter for Redbook. Her firstborn was small, shy, weak and anti-social. Basically the opposite of what she wanted and expected in her kid. While she loved and nurtured this strange baby, she never really liked her.
Eventually, this mother found out her daughter had a hormone deficiency that was causing her developmental delays and immaturity. The diagnosis transformed their lives: not only was there a treatment available that turned a lot of her problem areas around, but suddenly mom felt like an ally to her daughter. She writes:
As the diagnosis sank in, I found myself feeling more tender, more motherly toward Sophie. Instead of me pitted against her, it’s now us, together, pitted against this diagnosis. My husband is cautiously optimistic about the treatment (nightly hormone shots) but concerned about possible side effects. After all, he has accepted her as is all along. The happy dance I’m doing over this diagnosis is mine alone.
Not everyone gets a magic bullet to solve their problems relating to their kids, though.
I remember the first time I held my firstborn daughter. I felt such an amazing rush of perfect love for her. I was sure I could never feel angry or frustrated with this wonderful person.
That lasted about three months, and then her constant colicky wailing broke through my maternal patience. One day I let her cry it out. Another time I broke down crying myself. By the time she was 8 months old and had never slept for more than 45 minutes at a stretch, I’d lost my temper and yelled at her to let me sleep.
In other words, our time together has not been the perfect love story I imagined at the moment of her birth. Instead, it’s been a real relationship. We’ve had ups and downs, good moments and bad. We’ve driven each other crazy and made each other smile. Overall, I think we do pretty well. We have fun, and a solid, loving trust.
I can’t imagine ever saying I didn’t like my kid. But I can put myself in the Redbook essayist’s shoes for a minute and imagine that a good mother might well not like her kid all that much.
Can you relate? Do you sometimes wish you’d gotten a child with a different temperament or personality?
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