Is Honesty Always
The Best Policy?

Last week, Babble blogger Kate, a mom of two young children with a third on the way, wrote a post titled, “Mom Confession: I think I love my son a little bit more.” In it, she shares that she loves her son more than her daughter. Did she do the right thing by being honest and putting out there what some moms feel? Or should she have kept those thoughts to herself?

mom with two kids

"Okay. This post is serious. It's something I've been thinking about for a very long time, but I've been too afraid to say. I can't be the only one out there who feels this way, though. Because moms aren't perfect. Maybe we pretend that we are in front of other moms, lest we be judged for our failings. But we do all have them. And so…I've taken a deep breath, and I'm going to share.

I think I love my son just a little bit more than my daughter."

Above are the first two paragraphs in Kate's Babble blog post, Mom Confession: I think I love my son a little bit more. She certainly doesn't beat around the bush. Is that something any mom should ever admit -- that she loves one child more than the other?

Kate's explanation

In her post, Kate shares her history with her daughter: They were separated immediately after birth, Kate was sick during the first several months of her daughter's life and it took her a while to bond. Her son, however, was with her immediately after his birth, she was well during his early months and they bonded intensely.

Kate's daughter and son have very different personalities. In her words, Kate's daughter is independent, challenging and rude and defiant when she wants her way. By Kate's own measure, her daughter is just like her. Her son, however, is snuggly -- a mama's boy who deals with frustration by getting close to her.

Is honesty the best policy?

For many moms, being completely honest with themselves – never mind the Internet – isn't easy. Can you reflect this candidly? "The thing is, in the day-to-day life, I find it easier to gravitate towards my son. I'm more patient with him. I'm less likely to get angry with…I'm more likely to pick him up and snuggle him, or to get something he asks for quickly. I'm less patient with my daughter, more likely to fight with her or refuse to get her something for no good reason…These are really on my worst days though…on my better days, my normal days, I make more effort to try to be fair to both."

Always trying harder to be a better mom is an admirable quality, and how can one accomplish that without first acknowledging her shortfalls? Kate herself says, "I just keep hoping I can be a better parent." On one hand, Kate's honesty and ability to look at her parenting strengths and weaknesses can only help her improve as a mom. Additionally, by sharing so openly, she might help other moms who have similar feelings but are afraid to address them.

Conversely, the idea that her daughter may -- and probably will -- read her words one day is difficult to imagine. Even if Kate and her daughter build a strong relationship and wonderful mother-daughter bond over the years, how would her daughter feel if she read her mom's cutting words at the age of 12 or 13? While Kate specifically addresses that possibility in the comments -- "As for my daughter reading this, I would be happy if she did. I think it would help her to understand that I'm not perfect and I struggle but I love her and I am always trying to be better for her" -- many readers doubted that her daughter would take it so well.

Readers react

Over 400 readers shared their thoughts, some supportive, some disapproving and some sharply critical. One reader stated simply, "Excellent. I believe this post deserves an award. This is exactly how I feel with my 3 year old daughter and 10-month-old son. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Another was less appreciative of Kate's openness: "This isn't about perfection. Of course mothers aren't perfect. No one is perfect. And your feelings are what they are. Obviously, you are struggling with them and want to do better by your daughter with your actions, which is a good thing. Hopefully you will find a way. However, I question your judgment in publicly posting your feelings like this. There is no way that this could EVER be a good thing for your daughter to read. How could she ever benefit from knowing that, "There are moments – in my least sane and darkest thoughts – when I think it wouldn't be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son. He is special to me. He is close to me in a way that no one else is."? Or that, "I secretly hope that this new baby is a girl. I want to start over with a little girl now that I'm healthy and an experienced parent. I want to love her and cherish What you saidher as she should be."? Those are harsh, harsh statements."

>>What do you think? If you loved one of your children more than the other(s), would you share? Should Kate have kept her thoughts to herself? Or did she do some mothers a favor by being honest – perhaps helping them acknowledge and work through their own feelings?

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Comments on "Mom blogger acknowledges, "I love one child more than the other""

shannon April 02, 2011 | 12:06 PM

Personally I think that honesty is better. So many mom enter motherhood under false information. Its not fair when the reality hits you. I would rather have my kids know how i feel about them, instead of them not knowing and suddenly they know and that would hurt them worse. I have had this happen to me. It hurts, because after however many years i learned that my cherished mother figure that i loved so much was a giant lie. She had been lying to me my entire life. Its messed up because it forces trust issues and I know had i been told the truth, I wouldn't feel as bitter. Truth is always the best. To lie is only to spare yourself. Besides. How would you feel if someone (lots of someones) told you, you were a bad mom, or worse, told you how to parent your children.

Terry March 30, 2011 | 8:40 PM

Unfortunately, I think she may cripple her son's development as much as she will surely cripple her daughter's. That said, she should have kept it in the box. I personally cannot relate to the emotions/feelings she has laid out. I was blessed to raise a daughter and a son, each with endearing qualities unique unto themselves. I could probably write a novel here so I will spare everyone and hope her children will get what they will need from someone in her family, as it certainly will not be from her. Bringing children into the world, one needs be prepared for the unconditional love that the parenthood responsibility brings. What she lacks, she needs to find elsewhere, not looking at her son (and apparently not her daughter) to provide. As I said, I could go on.....

Amanda March 30, 2011 | 3:18 PM

I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I can understand that some parents do feel like this about their children, and it can be a release (possibly even a healthy one) to get that out there. However, I take issue with the fact that she makes it sound if she loves her son more then her daughter and that is just the way it will always be. Children are constantly changing, and it is quite possible later that she will feel differently. And what if she doesn't ever feel differently? What if, as adult children, she still favors her son more? I have seen this in families, and believe me, it is hurtful. And hearing from the parent that they feel that way doesn't make it any adults we all realize our parents are flawed, whether they will admit it or not. And sometimes hearing them admit it can feel good, other times it can just hurt. I really hope for the sake of her daughter that it doesn't hurt. And if anyone is wondering, I have two young boys and no I do not love one child more then the other, I love them differently because they are different children. If ever I do feel like I am favoring one more then the other I am very quick to correct the behavior.

Rebecca March 30, 2011 | 2:26 PM

I can see where she's coming from about being not perfect but publicly announcing it for all the world (including her child) to read is not something I see as a good thing. My mother was much closer to my sister than me and didn't try to hide that fact. As a child of a parent that had a favourite child and was open about it, it severely damaged my relationship with my mother. I always felt (and still on occasion do feel) that nothing I did was good enough for her. It has affected me to the point that I worry about having more than one child just in case I feel the same way. We currently have one little boy and I love him with everything I've got and am not sure what would happen if we had another. I would never want to subject someone to the pain of knowing that the person that brought me into this world didn't quite love me as much as someone else.

Meagan Frank March 28, 2011 | 1:04 PM

I have mixed emotions about this article. I, personally, am a rather open book. I don't hide my emotions well, and I come off as a little harsh sometimes. I can see how honestly posting could be cathartic for Kate and a place in which other readers can identify with her. It seems a bit sensationalized for me, but...the title got me to read it! What is dangerous about her assertions is the ultimatum in her word choice. If she had added..."Today" or "This week" then I think it could work...even as a talking point with her daughter in ten years. To say you love someone more, forever and always, is unfair and unrealistic. I do hope, for her kids, she is able to open up the boxes she has already put them in, and let the kids, and her relationships with them, develop into what they'll be...not what she has already decided they are.

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