I’m gonna break a Cardinal Rule of parenting so buckle up and hang on! I’m going to admit that I probably liked my son better when he was a kid than I did my daughter. OK, I said it! (Really sorry Kimberly, but after age two you and I butted heads all the time.) I’ve never said it aloud before because we always assure our children that we have no favorites, but that’s not true…I loved them equally and fiercely but I didn’t always like my daughter as much as my son.
I don’t know if boys are easier, or if only mine was, but my son and I were completely simpatico throughout most of my tenure raising him. We had the typical bumps in the road but otherwise we were on the same page and very close.
My son was almost three when we brought his little sister home from the hospital and he handled the transition well as the Baby Princess moved to center stage. She was a little doll and that’s how I treated her for the first two years. I could hardly take my eyes off her or keep the smile from my face. Then the little inner girl-monster began to emerge and from that time on until she was into her mid-teens we locked horns.
Still, when she was sad, vulnerable or hurt…she’d make a beeline for me and my heart would melt as I folded her into my arms. Her pain was my pain, her joy my joy. Still, she challenged me every step of the way. I often prayed, “Lord, let me like her more…help us be friends, not enemies.” I wondered why she was so strong-willed and always seemed to seek out a position opposite mine. She tested me on everything from lying about brushing her teeth (when she was four) to being a little insolent to teachers as she got older.
I really don’t know when it happened but it seemed like overnight she began to gravitate to my side of the line in the sand and soon we were at odds less and less. In her late teens we crossed the final bridge and began to really enjoy spending time together.
I don’t know if this pattern of extreme adoration, clashing of wills and then re-uniting is typical of all moms and daughters but I’m guessing it’s not uncommon. We aren’t meant to be their friends when we’re raising them. We don’t even have to like them all the time as long as we love them with everything we’ve got.
I know my mom experienced some of this with her mom as I did with my mother. But as adults, when the dust settled and the war of adolescence was over, my mom and grandma were best friends and constant companions…just as my mom and I became very close. And I’m so thankful that my daughter (now 26) is today truly my dearest friend. It’s so nice to see her smile (instead of roll her eyes) when people tell us we look so much alike. “Thanks for that, God!”
If you’re raising a child who challenges you to your core, be strong and consistent. With God’s grace, you’ll end up with a finished product that will be the light of your life.
Any stories of raising strong-willed, obstinate children? Share below.
*Happy Birthday Kimi! I’m so blessed to have had you in my life for 26 years.