Motherly vs. Fatherly Love

Food for Thought @ Les Enfants de Bohème

On Easter, my wife was feeling sad because our 14 years old daughter no longer wants to dye eggs. We didn’t do much other than to go to this French restaurant in our neighborhood for brunch. This is the beginning of the end of motherly love. Kids need less of that as they become more independent. From here to the end of schooling, they need more of fatherly love, the love that prepares them for the real world.

In case you feel I’m being sexist, I’m not saying who needs to provide which type of love. A mother could provide fatherly love and a father could provide motherly love too. And, one parent could provide both, but I would imagine it would be somewhat confusing for the kids. For instance, in a situation where they need emotional support, it might not be obvious to them which parent to go to.

Both of my parents valued independence highly. Because of that, I feel my mother didn’t provide enough motherly love. But, I could intuit that she wanted to; I think she consciously suppressed her desire to provide motherly love for an ideological reason. I believe that, if both parents push their children to be tough, they end up becoming weaker, or more insecure. Conversely, if both parents provide only motherly love, the kids will forever remain being kids, unable to properly function as members of our society.

These deficiencies can have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives. We remain overly insecure if deficient in motherly love. We have trouble managing our lives if deficient in fatherly love.

Many parenting experts say parents should have a united front, but I don’t personally believe it. I think it’s fine, or even better, for parents to contradict one another. It may seem rational to have a united front, and consistency sounds like a good strategy, but I think kids need contradictions or ambivalence.