I have four sons and they are the loves of my life. When each of them was born, I had this fear that I now know most moms suffer; how will I possibly be able to love this one as much as the last? How will I ever love them the same? And the truth is... you don't. Not really. As this mom's post about not loving both her kids the same points out, our relationship with each child is more complicated, and perhaps more beautiful, than just measuring out equal cups of love.
Casey Huff of the popular Facebook page Etched In Home recently shared a post where she appeared to admit that thing moms are never supposed to admit; she doesn't love her kids the same. This is the thing we do not say as moms of more than one child. I think it's also the thing we don't let ourselves consider, because our love for each of our kids doesn't really feel like something you can quantify. It's not a rating system like, Oh this one's been getting on my nerves today; he gets 7 out of 10. There is no Yelp review for kids, of course, but what Huff is saying about not loving her kids "the same" ends up being about something else entirely.
As the mom of two wrote in her Facebook post:
I don’t love my kids the same. This worry-turned-fact is something that kept me awake when I was pregnant with my second son; stealing the peace of the night as I wondered how in the world I could make enough room in my already bursting heart for another. It was the unsettled feeling that I cried over on the way to the hospital after dropping our oldest boy off. The next time we saw him he would be a big brother, and I wondered how I could ever love the new baby with the same overwhelming love I felt for him.
Of course, Huff had her second son and found that her heart expanded with love for her new baby as well. And while she admits that she does not love them "the same," she loves them with an equal ferocity that so many moms will recognize. Because she doesn't simply love them for being "hers," she loves them for the people they are:
I love my big as my sidekick; always up for exploration and adventure. I love my little for his cuddles; for the way that he nestles into my neck and lays the whole weight of his body against me, sinking into my own.
Huff writes that she "loves her big for his spunk, and my little for his sweet. Each one just as much, but never the same."
Here is the thing about a mother's love; it can actually change your child's brain. When a child feels nurtured and protected from a young age, according to a 2012 study in Live Science, it helps them develop a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain that is important for learning, memory, and stress release.
Plenty of other moms who love their children "just as much, but never the same" posted on Huff's Facebook page with their own thoughts on the subject:
Oh yes. My kids are so different and so uniquely wonderful.
Well said-love that you wrote about this !!!
I love this one, it is so true. I don't know how I could ever love my 6 the same because they are all such beautiful, unique people.
If you're a parent, take a moment to reflect on all of the reasons you love your kids today. The internal list we carry for each of our kids is never the same... but I bet it's equal.