Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the concept of loving versus liking our children and their behaviors. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
To say we have a dysfunctional relationship with my in-laws would be an understatement. They tend to be unintentionally disrespectful and blatantly disrespectful when it comes to us. Our choices, whether about birth, breastfeeding, gentle discipline, using sign language with our children, buying a house, having a pet, politics, religion, clothing, furniture, paint vs. wallpaper, and the list goes on, have all been met with criticism and ridicule at some point or another, most of which is on-going. The idea of treating others with respect, something which is ate the core of our beliefs, just doesn’t register with them.
We haven’t ever cut them out of our lives, though we have been close multiple times after over the top behavior. We want our children to have the opportunity to make up their own minds when it comes to their relatives. If we were completely honest, part of the reason (perhaps a large part) is the fact that my husband and I are family people. Family is very important to us, despite the fact that our extended relatives (at least those living) are lacking. We would love to have large family get-togethers with cousins running and playing, aunts and uncles for the kids to look toward for support, and grandparents who care more about the kids than what the neighbors think about how the yard looks.
So we suffer through visits, grit our teeth at a lot of things which are said and done, step in for the major transgressions, andprevent opportunities for damage. When we reach our breaking point and discussing cutting off contact, we are reminded of one thing: something we tell our children after every visit with them.
With as much as they have done, my husband loves his parents, my children love their grandparents, and while I wouldn’t say love, I do care about them. So many times our society combines like and love, as though they are different degrees of the same thing, when the concepts are completely separate. Loving someone does not depend on liking the things they do. That’s where unconditional love comes in. We love. Sometimes the toxicity of a relationship necessitates firm boundaries in order to protect one’s self, but unconditional love doesn’t stop. “You can love someone and not like what they do.”
- How Do You Like Yourself? — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about teaching her children likability.
- Learning to Like and Love — Jen in Canad at Fat and Not Afraid divulges the long journey it’s been to learn to love, then like, her son.
- I hated my three year old — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how much trouble she had dealing with her 3 year old.
- Love vs Like: How to Deal With Not Liking Your Kid — Amy at Presence Parenting explores an approach to loving what we dislike the most about our kids.
- You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children reminds herself, just as she reminds her children, that unconditional love is not dependent on liking what a person does.
- Maternal ambivalence … and why it’s ok — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses how we can’t live up to the “maternal ideal” as much as we — and our babies — might want us to.
- Miracles into Monsters and Back Again — Amy W at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work processes the pain and hidden beauty of a gentle mother’s greatest weakness – when little miracles act like little monsters!
- When Mothers Love But Don’t Like Their Children — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on the deeper meaning behind loving but not liking one’s child. She argues that a mother never stops loving or liking her child. In fact, the dislike is rooted in the behavior and not the person.
- I love her, but… GRR — Jorje of Momma Jorje vents a bit about annoying behavior, but loves her children… even when they drive her nuts!