Does Your Mom Love Your Kids More Than She Loves You?

Being a grandmother seems like a sweet gig: You get to play with your children's kids and love them up, and then you get to give them back. You get the good part of having kids without having to take full responsibility for the bad. But as much as you love and enjoy your grandchildren, could you ever love your grandchildren more than your children?

 

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In a possibly mostly-fictionalized story in the Daily Mail, grandmother Liz Taylor writes that:

... it is an indisputable fact that I love [my grandaughter] more than I did my own girls at her age. 

I suspect many grannies feel this way, but are simply not honest enough to admit it to themselves.

Though the article itself doesn't ring completely true to me (it seems highly sensationalized), the idea is an interesting one. I'm sure that there are plenty of grandmothers out there who would say that they prefer their grandchildren to their children, and many of them for good reason. Just because someone is your child doesn't make them a good person. Your grandchildren, however -- especially those who are around Taylor's granddaughter's age (15 months) -- are innocents. If they are assholes, it's because they're kids and don't know any better. They are fun and full of love, and any faults they have you can blame on your terrible children's terrible parenting. There are families like that, and I can't blame those grandparents for feeling the way they feel.

For the average grandparent, however (those whose children are not serial killers or child molesters, for example), loving one's grandchildren more than one's children would be shortsighted and selfish.

Spoiler alert: Raising kids isn't always fun. In fact, most of the time it is drudgery tinged with rage and sadness. But that's what unconditional, real love means: that someone can tell you they hate you and literally poop in your hands, and you love them anyway. Being a parent isn't supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be hard work that you do willingly for this small person whom you chose to bring into the world and take care of, and whom you also love more than life itself. Of course, fun times with grandchildren is going to be more enjoyable than that!

But a few hours a week at the zoo is not parenting. It's not hard. It's also not deep enough or challenging enough to mean more than your experience raising your children. 

None of this means that a grandparent's love for their grandchild can't be overwhelming and powerful. My mother loves her grandchildren to pieces, but I also know that she loves me more. Real love is time plus difficulty divided by joy. Love isn't greater just because it's easier.

 

Image via Corbis

 

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