Do you have more than one child? If so, do you have a favorite? If your answer is no, then writer Jeffrey Kluger thinks you're a liar. In a controversial new book, the writer claims that 95 percent of parents have a favorite kid, and those who say they don't? Are lying.
I would have said in a second that I don't have a favorite child. I adore both of my children, my daughter who is 4.5 and my son who is 3 years old. But then I reconsidered. My daughter is a complicated, stormy little girl with very high highs and very low lows. She is a lot like her mom that way. And in those moods, I see things I don't like about myself every day -- the way she turns everything into a drama, her inability to think of anyone but herself, her impatience.
I know it's my job as her mom to guide her to make good decisions and learn more patience, but when I barely have any of my own, that is an awfully tall order. This complicates our relationship.
My son, on the other hand, is simple. He loves me. I love him. There is no complication or confusion in that. It's pure, the kind of love you read about between a mother and a child. It doesn't mean I have a favorite or that I love one more than the other -- after all, there is something exciting about complicated love, too. But it does mean I love them differently. Equal, yes. But different, too.
And as I asked around, I found a common theme. Many moms of one girl and one boy say they feel the same way. The love for the boy is easier. Meanwhile dads seem to feel the love for the girl is easier. There is something about that opposite sex child. It's like we expect them to be different and are less surprised by it.
My daughter and my husband are closer and I am closer with my son. For now. That will (I hope) change over time and I will welcome that when it does. But never for a moment have I ever stopped to quantify my love for either child. There is just no need to do so. Why can't we love both kids the same but differently?
Do we say we love one parent more? How about grandparents? Or friends? Or do we have a "favorite" parent? No. We simply love people in different ways. In fact, at a certain age, it becomes a little immature to refer to someone as a "best friend."
The problem with Kluger's theory is this: There are many different kinds of love. There is no one right way to love each child and there is no need to put a number on either kind. My children are different and my love for them is different, but I don't have a "favorite." They are both my favorites.
Do you have a "favorite" child?