January 24, 2012 by Gina
I don’t always like my kids. There…I said it. When Finn, my 2.5 year old, is in the middle of a 40 minute meltdown because…well, who knows why he’s in the middle of a 40 minute meltdown. He’s 2 – they meltdown for no apparent reason. I don’t like him at all in those moments. When I’m exhausted and feel no desire to have yet another human being grabbing onto me – at that moment I don’t like my 7 month old who can’t seem to be put down for five seconds. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to hold it together, not meltdown myself or raise my voice. And I have done all of those things…it’s only natural to come a bit unglued at times. Most of the time, I can remain calm and controlled and talk Finn off the ledge or rock Getty to sleep while singing him a quiet lullaby.
Parenting is tough and sometimes I just don’t like my kids. I don’t always like them, but I always love them. I think there is a difference. Love is a constant for me – it’s unwavering, giving and unconditional. I will always love the person, but I don’t have to like what they are doing or the behavior they are exhibiting. Years ago when my brother and sister-in-law had young children (they are now 12 and 10) I remember Sheila telling me, “People who say they like their kids all the time are lying”. That has stuck with me and has been a valuable lesson in honesty. She’s right – we don’t always like our kids and that’s okay. I don’t always like my spouse or my parents or my friends or even, myself sometimes. But…I always love those same people – they can’t be replaced and they are a part of me.
My sons don’t know that at times I don’t like them. It’s usually a fleeting emotion (one that’s over as soon as the meltdown subsides or I pull myself together). I remember as a kid that I would be so angry sometimes with my mom over something, but she’d just go on with the day as if nothing happened. I never understood that until recently. She probably didn’t like me much in those moments but she loved me and kept marching on. That’s what is important – that my sons know that I’m their mom and will be a constant in their lives forever. I want them to know and feel that they are loved more than anything in my life. That’s what my parents gave me, even when I’m sure they didn’t always like me.