Loving my children equally – this is is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s an issue I am really struggling with. The simple fact, as afraid as I am to admit it openly, is that I don’t love my children equally, I love them differently. I’ve tried to love them equally, I just don’t. I’ve been wracked with guilt over this issue, I have worried about this issue, I have worried about the impact of this issue on my children. I have asked for comment from friends and from Twitter mom’s on this issue to try and appease my growing concerns on this issue.
I’ve wondered if it’s a personality thing,an age thing, a baby thing, a 4 year old thing, my age thing. I’ve over analyzed the situation, I’ve had sleepless nights over it. I feel defeated by it.
Then I stumbled across this brilliant post and everything kind of fell into place for me: Forget Trying To Love Your Children Equally!
The concept being that you don’t have to love your children equally, you need to love them uniquely and I realized that that is exactly what I have been doing with Ava and Hannah, even in my quest and dismal failure to love them equally but my attempts at loving uniquely need some tweeking.
Loving uniquely is intentional, aware, demonstrative and action-oriented; loving equally is emotional, challenging, doesn’t take into account individual differences, and is at times defeating.
This statement was spot on for me, in my quest to love equally, I have felt challenged and inadequate and more often than not, very very defeated in my attempts to love equally.
I think the key to loving uniquely is to realize that my children are different, as every sibling is different, but even more so in our case as my girls are adopted and completely genetically unrelated. Ava is easy going, she’s relaxed, she’s intelligent and since a small baby, quite happy to entertain herself. She is more than content to play with her toys alone, play on the iPad or build puzzles and paint without interference from Walter and I. She has a very independent spirit. Hannah is emotionally exceptionally sensitive, she needs me, ALL THE TIME. She does not like to play alone and wants to go everywhere with me, I can’t even go t the toilet without her crying for me. It has been a real struggle and I have often felt overly frustrated by her neediness but in hindsight it’s because I realize I was expecting her to be the same as Ava and she can’t, she’s her own person who will forge her own way in the world.
So how do you love differently/uniquely?
Primarily, loving equally originates from you; the way you feel towards your children and how you convey those feelings. Loving equally is striving towards balance, keeping tract, tit for tat.
Loving uniquely originates with your children. It requires you know them so intimately ~ their differences, their motivations ~ that the way your love is manifested differs from child to child.
Loving equally expects children to be cookie cutter; that they respond to our parenting the same way in every instance. But how many of you with two or more children have found that what works for one never works for the others??
Children within a family are as different as apples and…elephants.
William P. Young said it this way:
“Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you.”
Because of my desire to love my children equally, the above image demonstrates perfectly how connected I feel towards my children. I feel like Ava is apart of me, I am so connected to her, I know her intimately. Hannah I love but at times feel like a failure in my attempts to parent her, I have felt disconnected to her and at times questioned my feelings towards her. Again, in hindsight, in my attempts to love equally, I have failed her. She needs to be celebrated and loved uniquely for who she is instead of me questioning what she is not, which is just like her sister.
Reading this article really helped me and if you’re struggling with a similar issue, perhaps it will help you too. It set me free of my guilt over my failure to love equally and instead, gave me a plan on how to love uniquely.