It’s OK to Not Like Your Kid

For those of you who were waiting for someone else to say it first, you’re welcome. For those who think I’m evil, let’s be clear. You’ll always love them, they’re your child. For myself, at the moment I love spending my days with E. She’s hilarious. She tells “jokes”, she counts to three and yells “Go!” for everything she does, she plays independently and she’s generally a kind and playful child. That hasn’t always been the case.

If you had asked me three months ago how I felt about E, or, Dear God, when she was a newborn, how I felt about her, and I would have told you I love her dearly, but I can’t wait for the next chapter. I’m done with this one, I don’t like spending time with her. I imagine there will be many, many more times that I love her deeply, but can’t wait for the next phase to begin.

When people tell me they want time to slow down, that their children are growing up too fast, I know that they must be in a “like” stage. They like spending time with their child. Their child isn’t sucking their soul, or causing them to question what horrible thing they did in a past life. I also know that when I see this person again, maybe next week, maybe in a month or two, they’ll be feeling terribly guilty as they don’t really enjoy spending time with their kid. They’ll phrase it well: “He’s going through a stage”. “She’s in the middle of a leap.” (Thanks Wonder Weeks for this wonderful re-wording of reality). “He has allergies.”

Maybe saying “I really don’t like my kid at the moment” makes me sound heartless, or cruel. As far as I’m concerned, it makes me sound honest, and human. Do you like your husband or partner every day? Nope. But you still love them. And so it is with our children. We always love them. But some days, we don’t like them. For myself, admitting this has made me even more grateful and appreciative for the days when I love spending time with E. Because I know, at some point, I won’t like spending time with her. And on those days, as I’ve done before, I’ll look forward to the next chapter.

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