I Give Up On Trying To Love My Children Equally!

Posted in Parenting by

unique love

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.

Image & quotes courtesy of robindance.me

December 21, 2013
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23 Comments

  • Reply Gaelyn Cokayne

    I love this post! My mom had 5 kids. 2 adopted and 3 natural. 4 girls and 1 boy. 1 set of twins. She has always said she loves us all differently, loves us for us, to suit us, loves us however her heart tells her to love each of us! and we’ve all grown up to be adults very secure in her love for us xxx

    December 21, 2013 at 8:54 am
  • Reply darylfaure

    Another brilliant, honest and insightful post.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Andrea

    Great post – ringing so true for me as well – my two are the opposite, Addi is high maintenance and Baby Jules is so easy going I keep wondering if there is actually something wrong?! The personality differences and uniqueness of individual children definitely come into play with how you feel about each one – it’s such an interesting topic and Im glad you shared it, thank you xxx

    December 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Robin D

    Parenting is hard; we struggle with so many diverse issues, and then our children dare to not mirror one another??? Realizing this one little thing helped me so much. It blesses me to know it encouraged you as well, mama to mama :).

    December 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm
    • Reply Robin Dance

      Ooooh–and I meant to thank you for linking to my original post :).

      December 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Ramona

    I love this post. Definitely a better way to look at parenting.

    December 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply ailsaloudon

    I love your honesty! Ava sounds like my sister and Hannah is me! Blood sisters, but complete opposites, and we look very different too. My sister is a brunette, tall and slim, and me more big boned, short and ginger. How could our parents have loved us the same! They didn’t!! Thanks for sharing!

    December 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm
  • Reply Heather

    I think you are right. My mom always used to treat us different and when I complained it wasn’t fair she used to say “life is not fair”. I wonder how I will do things if I have another child. Maybe I will just have one, it will make things simpler. He seems to be pretty easy going so far.

    December 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm
  • Reply Julia

    I LOVE this post. It is something I struggled with too. And then one day I realised that I cannot possibly love them equally. Because they are two completely different individuals with their own personalities and oddities and nuances. They each have their own love language. They think differently and they love differently. Once I made that shift, it was a lot easier. In hindsight, it took me a lot longer to fall in love with Child2 but I think it was because he was sooooo different to his brother and needed to be loved and celebrated in his own way.
    Thank you for writing this.

    December 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm
  • Reply Laura-kim le Roux

    I battle with this daily with my middle child. I have also come to realise that you love them differently but just as fiercely!! Not easy – this parenting thing!

    December 22, 2013 at 9:16 am
  • Reply belindamountain

    Oh I’m so glad someone else wrote about this! I too love my two children differently and have been feeling guilty about it. I see myself reflected so closely in my son but my daughter is my opposite. Thanks for sharing – will focus now on loving them uniquely, not equally.

    December 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm
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