August 23, 2011, 9:30 am
Filed under: blessings, humor, love, Parenting, social justice, Teenagers | Tags: , ,

Two summers ago my daughter was working at a camp and called to have me pick her up as she was having really bad menstrual cramps. I went and got her, gave her some Midol, and sent her to bed. Later that day she was asked to spend the night at a friends house. I said yes, she could. The boys, especially Isaac were indignant. I would never let them come home sick and then be able to spend the night at someone else’s house. It is so unfair. Why does Jessie always get special treatment? I, in my ultimate wisdom, replied “When you start bleeding out your penis once a month come talk to me, until then deal with it!

It is so not fair, you always take her side. Just because she is the girl. Its not fair, he always gets special treatment. It’s not fair, just because he is the oldest. Its not my fault he can’t see. It’s not fair…. How many times do we hear this a day? If you only have one child than she compares herself to the next door neighbor. It seems to me that in every child there is an innate sense of fairness and an innate sense of selfishness. These two qualities make life as a parent, a bit unfair.

I know that I was the same way as a child. My mom went to extreme measures to make sure all three of her daughters were treated equally. The exact same number of presents, the exact same amount spent on each of us for back to school, the exact same portion of vegetables. To this day it is very important to her that things are equally divided, yet, she was the first person to tell me life is not fair. It is a confusing and difficult part of raising your children. You, as a mom or dad, want to treat your kids the same, show no favoritism, but guess what? Life is not fair and equality is over rated.

One of my favorite children’s books is called “I love you the Purplest” by Barbara M. Joosse. The mom has two sons who are always competing for being the best at whatever they are doing. The mom is very wise and answers the ‘who is the best at…’ questions with words that infuse both boys with love and confidence while defusing the competition. I certainly try to do this, but am not always in the mood to find the right words to soothe and comfort when I would like to shout and pull out my hair.

For me, the reality is, life is truly UNFAIR and teaching our children this is perfectly okay. Sometimes, one child needs more attention, a new pair of shoes or more time on the computer. Girls really do talk more than boys so it is okay that Jessie has the phone more often, as long as when a brother does need it, he can have it. Christian is rougher on shoes and clothes and eats more food than his siblings, so we spend more on him at times than we do the other three.

Do I love one child more than another, well, definitely not in the big scheme of true love, and ultimate sacrifice, but do I like one more than the others at times, yes. Am I a perfect parent, NO. Will my children ever question that they are loved and wanted and important, not if I can help it. Will they think life is unfair and that I sometimes show favoritism? Probably.


6 Comments so far
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Oh my word! totally agree with all of this 🙂

Comment by Anonymous

Please let me know who you are because I love hearing from people, especially when they agree with me 🙂
The oh my wordnmake me think it might be Jen Steigman?

Comment by Kari

So true! And, well said.

My mom (mother of 9) gave me a copy of I Love You the Purplest when my second came. She said it was her way of preparing me for the inevitable “You love her more!” It lead me to write about the same drama, I mean dilemma. 🙂

Seems to be ubiquitous for mothers with more than 1.

Fun blog! And, happy parenting!

Comment by Transitioning Mom

Thanks for checking out my blog, it is always good to meet new people, very cool that we both quoted the same book! Keep the comments coming, it sounds likemyou are one stage ahead of me.

Comment by Kari

This is beautifully written Kari! I’m brainstorming ways to get your words in more places. We should chat. For now, I’m motivated to find our own copy of “I love you the Purplest”

Comment by Alissa

Thanks Alissa,

I would love to get together with you and any ideas are welcome, I am so new to this pretty clueless, maybe we can meet at the bookstore and you can get I love you the purpleist and I can get how to make money on a blog

Comment by Kari

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