What I Said When My Kid Asked, "Mommy, Who Do You Love More?"


family cuddling on couch
What to say when your children want to know whom you love the most.

My husband, on the other hand, could do many things that would make me turn my back on him. He won't, but as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, I can imagine entire novels based on things he could do that would make me walk away without once looking back over my shoulder.

Do I love my kids more than my husband? No. My love for each takes its own shape. It's not measured in height or width or depth. It's not measured at all; it just is. Unfortunately, this argument against measuring love didn't work as poetically when my 7-year-old daughter wanted answers.


"But who do you love most, Mommy?" she asked when I was tucking her into bed. I knew that if I didn't give her a straight answer, the question would linger in her head, keeping her from falling asleep in the same way unmet deadlines kept me awake at night. Poll: Do You Love Your Baby-Daddy More Than Your Baby?

"I don't love anybody in this house more or less than another," I began. "I love you and your brother and dad together. It's not like counting out Gummi Bears when you get more because you're older than him and Daddy gets as many as he wants because he's an adult. You don't count out or measure love."

She wasn't following.

I explained how I love when she lays in bed beside me with her Junie B. Jones books while I work on my laptop. I told her how I love the way her hair looks in the morning and how much I adore that she likes going to the bookstore as much as I do. I went on to explain that there were a gazillion things she hadn't even done yet that I would love just as much. I talked about her brother, who is only 2 years old, and how I love the way he says her name, or how he pretends to give himself an upper cut (kissing his knuckles first and then striking his own chin with his fist).

"See all these things I love? I love them in different ways and solely because they are you and you are part of me. And your Dad? I love him because together we created all these things. You can't measure it in more or less. It's like air. It just is. " Having Children Made Me Love My Husband More

She kissed me on the forehead and snuggled into her pillow. Either all my talking made her too exhausted to keep pushing it, or something clicked. The smile that stayed on her face even after she closed her eyes made me think the latter.

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