Just last night I was driving home alone from the grocery store feeling guilty because I feel differently about each of my children, not that I love each one any less but it is just different. I was thinking 'I need to ask The Mom about this'.
Well, Loretta, I'm so glad you asked. This question is one I have struggled with over the years. I agonized over whether or not I was playing favorites and if that were somehow damaging my children. Here's the conclusion I finally came to:
I love all of my children an equal amount. There is not one of them I would not throw myself in harm's way to protect. There is not one of them whose life is not my life's work. There is not one of them whose dreams are not my dreams for them. I love and adore every single child with the whole of my heart. I'm not sure how it is possible to love six different people each with all of my being, but it is.
While I love them all, some are easier to love than others. Which, in all honesty, means that they are more likable than their siblings. For instance, I have one child who bounds out of bed nearly every morning with a smile and a joy at merely being alive. This particular child is funny, smart, and I would hang out with even if he/she were not mine. One word: delightful. Another of my children is a whiner. This child is always sure that he/she is somehow being cheated out of whatever good thing is going on in our house. He/She has been known to get up early on Christmas morning to count the presents under the tree and then pout if someone else got more. This is my "not fair" child. One word: difficult. Now, don't get me wrong, the delightful child can be stubborn and willful, and the difficult child can be fun and playful, but in general they hang onto who they are.
It is my job as their mom to love them both, pray for them both, help them both to become better people (although one seems to have a bit further to go). I see the good and the bad in both of them. That's my job. I'm their mom.
It's hard to remember, as moms, that our children are unique individuals. They are not identical clones of each other. As individuals, it is natural that some should be easier to like than others. It's normal that we, as parents, have one whose company we prefer. Not because we love them more, but because they are just easier to get along with. I've also found that preferences change as the children grow. Today's easy baby may be tomorrow's nightmare teenager. Parents just have to keep calm and keep it all in perspective. Difficult personalities can be trained out of or grown out of, and difficult children can become delightful adults.
I'm not sure where we get the idea that moms aren't human beings who have normal preferences. We are and we do. There is nothing wrong with being an imperfect being, it's what you do with it that counts.
While one child may be more likable, the trick is to keep a poker face and never let on. Feeling a preference is fine, acting on it is not. I spend more time with my difficult child because he/she needs me more. This natural personality must be an awesome burden to have to carry around. This child needs all the help the Computer Guy and I can give. When our children were born, we accepted the responsibility of raising them. We didn't accept it on the condition that the children make it easy on us. We looked at those tiny babies and promised to love them, and care for them, and be the parents they needed us to be to the best of our abilities. If they don't all need the same parenting, how can we think that they all need the same love? We love them all the same amount, but each in their own special way.