Monday, November 24, 2008

Equal but not the same

Parents with more than one child will often say how their love for each kid is the same. That is one of the biggest fallacies of parenthood. Anyone who tells you differently is lying not only to you, but themselves. The love a parent has for their children is not equal at all. Children have different personalities. They are different people. Thus, I love my children differently.

First, let me preface this by saying that "differently", "not the same" and "not equal" do not mean more or less. I do not have a favorite and I do not love one son more or less than the other. But, my love for Logan is completely different than my love for Carter. I'm positive that it's this way in every home with every parent, but it's an unspoken topic for fear that it may be interpreted in the wrong way. I think it's something that needs to be brought to the surface as many mothers expecting their second baby are uneasy about this transition and often worry about the possibility of having a different love. It's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, that different love is special and shared only with each child it's intended for.

I started to notice the difference in my love for my boys when Carter was only a few weeks old. I would often reflect on my newborn experience with Logan and felt like the second go around was completely different. It was different not just because I had more experience or more confidence, but there was a different feeling of love. It continued as the weeks went on until I realized that it wasn't going to change, that this is the difference in love.

My love for Logan can be described in many ways; Intense, fresh, new, fascinating, consuming, exciting, among many other descriptions. I liken the love of a first born child to that of a first boyfriend or girlfriend. You are almost obsessed with it. That love changes your life. I'm sure that the type of love that I share with Logan is reflective of his personality and the stage of motherhood I was in at his birth. If I had to choose a holiday that best describes my love for Logan, it would be Independence Day with it's fireworks, summer heat, picnics and it's intensity or New Years Day with it's parties, anticipation and hope for the future.

My love for Carter can be described differently; Mature, comforting, familiar, relaxed, snug and the like. My love for Carter feels like we've known each other before and we've been reunited. Or almost like he's an old soul. There is definitely a feeling of Deja vu, but on a deeper level. Again, it may be reflective of both his personality and the place I'm at in motherhood. For Carter, the holidays that best describe my love are Thanksgiving with it's warm fireplaces, delicious foods like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and it's familiar feeling or Valentine's Day with it's sweetness, adoration and celebration.

Is one holiday better than the other? No way. I don't want to think about how the joys of my life would be without fireworks or pumpkin pie. Each holiday brings with it something special that makes the year complete. Just like how both Logan and Carter add something special to our family that makes us feel full. I'm also at peace knowing that my love is in fact different. It makes each individual relationship special in it's own way. I love knowing that Logan and I share a bond different than the one I have with Carter and vise-versa. I'm happy that I love my boys differently.


Jezer said...

While I am 99.9% sure that we will not have another child, this post helped me to understand what the love for two different children would be like. I think your holiday metaphor is brilliant. Excellent entry.

Joanna said...

I understand exactly what you mean. It's a different love. I was worried when I was pregnant with Kelsie, unsure of what we had done. I thought I could never love another child as much as our first, but you do, but it's different! Thank you for sharing this post.

Dawn B said...

This post is awesome and just exactly what I needed to read. Would you mind if I linked this entry to my blog?? This is something that I've been going through with James and Natalie. What do you think?

Kristin said...

Link away Dawn :) I think it's important for parents to recognize that it's OK and healthy to have this difference rather than perpetuate the "I love my kids the same" crap that we all hear. It's not the truth and I wish I would have read about this difference when I was pregnant with Carter (or before).

momto1 said...

I too want to link this post! I am super hormonal and have been worrying about this exact same thing! More and Stink is getting older and more independant, and I am beginning to show more, I worry about how to love two. I know I will...but what will it be like?? I think this is the best approximation of what it is like I have ever read. Thank you!

angie said...

I had just been reading Parents magazine and in there an article said to "Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely. They're individuals."

How true that is. My sister and I are 10 years apart, and sometimes night and day when it comes to fashion/taste/music/etc. But there's no doubt our Mother loves us each, just differently, because that's what we are - different!