Oh boy, one mom has really stepped in it after publishing her piece about favoring her son over her daughter. In hopes that the post will be taken down permanently, I'm not going to name names (after all, if her post lives, that poor girl might be able to find out what her mom really thinks about her), but you can get the gory details on Babble.
This particular mom wrote something that's not terribly shocking, in that some parents favor one child over another. She also appears to be working through some postpartum depression issues that negatively affected her bonding experience with her older daughter. Neither of these issues are new ones. As a former Babble editor, I can tell you we published many features that highlighted these issues, but none that really took it as far, and did so much damage, as this particular mom has done to her 3-year-old daughter.
In a disturbing line that appears to have been removed, the author riffs on Sophie's Choice (which, seriously, no parent should ever do), saying,
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.
Yep! It sure does. And given that your name, your daughter's name, and her picture are all over this piece, it's something that would have been better off left unsaid. Which is where most of the outrage comes from: Your daughter is screwed. You put her out there as the least favored child in a very dramatic fashion that will cause her damage if she ever gets her hands on this post. Hell, enough commenters chimed in with their own tales of how it felt to be the unfavored child and the long-term effect that's very easy to see for this daughter's future.
PPD, struggling to bond, having frustrating moments as a parent -- these are all important issues to be discussed in order to help other mothers going through painful moments. But if you're not going to post anonymously, you must work on crafting your message in a way that won't hurt your daughter and will help others. Instead, the author continued to defend her piece:
My recent post, “I Think I Love My Son a Little Bit More” got ... quite a lot of responses. Many of them negative. At first I was surprised and hurt by it, but then realized a couple of things:
1) None of you in “internetland” know me well enough to understand why I’d write and publish such a thing (I actually pulled it for awhile but my real-life friends encouraged me to repost it)
2) It probably struck a little too close to home for many of you ... you’ve had those same thoughts about one or more children in your darkest, most private times ... and found it obscene to see your own worst thoughts out in the light of day.
Umm, no. Here's how I explain family dynamics to my 5-year-old when she asks me who I love the most (perhaps you could take notes): I love you, your brother, and Daddy the same. Some days I like to have fun with you more than anyone, some days with your brother, other days with Daddy. But I always love you all the same.
See how simple that is? Yes, it's honest to say that there are days I prefer the company of my daughter over my son, and vice versa. But loving one child more than the other? No way. Most moms don't feel that way. And if they do, they need to keep it under wraps or the damage they cause to both children will be massive.
As someone who has written in the parenting genre for the past five years, I do believe it's important to discuss, honestly, all areas of the parenting experience. It's an incredibly helpful and, I believe, important movement -- especially for women. One that thrives here at The Stir, and around the world. But a mom's need to vent, or to get paid, should never trump her child's needs. Never. For that reason, I hope this post is removed and that little girl will never hear the incredibly damaging words from her own mother.
Do you think this mom should have written this piece?
Image via miguelphotobooth/Flickr
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