Do You Have a Favorite Kid? Is That Okay To Admit?

Babble.com blogger Kate Tietje ruffled every feather in the henhouse when she admitted in a recent post that she thinks she loves her son more than her daughter. While plenty of readers applauded Tietje’s (extremely) brutal honesty, scores more were downright outraged. Several suggested she see a therapist; one summarized her thoughts thusly: “I appreciate your honesty, but wow, some things are just not meant to be spoken aloud/written. I think this is one of those things.”

I freely admit that there are days I prefer one of my kid’s company to the other. Mercifully, the chosen-child changes almost daily and is often based on which one got a better night sleep or offers me an unsolicited back rub. But if you held a gun to my head I couldn’t -- wouldn’t -- say that I love one more than the other. Maybe I love them -- and treat them -- differently, but for me it’s not a more/less thing. (Based on the comments, though, for plenty of moms it is. I’m just glad I’m not one of them.)

Peppered among the hundreds of responses are several from the author herself, emotional attempts at self-defense. My take: It’s pretty hard to backpedal after you admit, “There are moments... when I wonder which child it would really be worse to lose.” (In a follow up comment, Tietje said that she was thinking about a situation like divorce when she wrote that statement, not something ickier.) She insists that she does love her daughter -- but maybe just a tiny bit less than she loves her son.

I’m all about freedom of expression and have been known to push a few buttons myself, but this post made me sad. I worry about the less-loved daughter reading it one day (although Tietje boasts that she hopes the girl does read it, “because it will help her to understand I’m not perfect.” Yeah, well, that ought to do it.). I worry that by writing it -- and finding validation among the comments -- the author has given herself permission to favor her son.

Call me Pollyanna here, but I’d like to think that what the author is saying is that she likes her son more -- because he’s easier to be with, to relate to, or their personalities mesh better -- and not that she’s already decided which one of them she’d rescue first if the house was on fire.

 

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