Ask parents who their favorite child is, and they’ll all tell you that they love their children all the same. I used to challenge this response, before I had children, as did my mother. She’s a firm believer that parents do in fact have favorites. The fact that she only had one child doesn’t make her the most reliable source for this discussion, but I’m confident that if she did have other children, I’d still be number one.
When Olivia was a baby I could never imagine loving another child as much as I loved her. I remember rocking her to sleep many nights in her perfect little nursery, feeling so thankful to experience the kind of love I had for her. I secretly told myself that I’d be fine having this one little girl as my daughter.
Then I became pregnant with Julia and experienced that feeling that many parents feel when they’re expecting baby number two: guilt. How could I love another child as much as my firstborn? Would Olivia be jealous? Would she feel like I loved her any less? These are normal thoughts and feelings, I soon learned, as I talked to other parents. But as soon as Julia was born, I realized how absurd it was to think that I wouldn’t have enough love for both of my children.
With the birth of my second daughter I felt even more love and appreciation for Olivia. She was now a big sister and I knew that she had so much to offer and teach her little sister. I was overjoyed to experience being a “new mom” all over again. I was so elated with my two babies. I’m sure all moms have this same feeling — whether they’ve just given birth to their first or fourth child; it’s an intense feeling no matter where you are in your parenting journey.
At this stage, Julia needs a little more physical care, but Olivia definitely needs more attention. Don’t think that you can spend your time cuddling with a baby while your toddler sits on the sidelines. It’s not happening!
Julia is easier (now) in a lot of ways, because she finds everything hysterical. Everything. Especially her big sister. Olivia is 3 and, in case you don’t know what that entails, essentially it means that no matter what I say, she’ll want to do the exact opposite. Their personalities are taking shape now, and I have to respect that they will change. Things will change. As their mother I understand the ebb and flow relationship that I’ll have with each child. My challenge as a mom is to never make them feel like one is superior to the other. They each have a special place in my heart, and while I don’t necessarily disagree with my mother, nurturing our relationships with each other is my favorite part of being a mom.
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