Motherhood—it’s certainly not for everyone, but with each passing day and each new child I bring into the world, I’m a little more certain that it is mostly for me. Tobey, Lacey and little Zach fill up roughly 3/4 of my heart in ways I could never imagine. I can always smile when I think about my wonderful my sons and daughter who I all love equally—which is about 73%. These kids are my pride and joy (most of the time, when they’re not being little shits, which is roughly a quarter of the time, proportional to each child).
Now, some of you may be saying, “Really, 73%? That’s all?” but let me ask you this—if I told you there was a 73% chance of rain tomorrow, you’d bring an umbrella to work, wouldn’t you? That number doesn’t seem so small anymore, does it? Besides, I’ve come to accept that “unlimited love” is just a myth they teach you in fairy tales and parenting books.
My almost-perfect angels have taught me patience, acceptance, and how to pretend you’re listening when you’ve already given them your all for the first 17 or so hours of the day and are trying to watch Law & Order: SVU. They truly do have a fair majority of my adoration. And each of these children is almost entirely a blessing.
While my love grows more each day, when you have to divide your love among three children, the math works out so that you can only love them a certain amount while still loving some other things. For me that number is 73 out of 100, 100 being full and unconditional love.
So how does a mother avoid playing favorites? It’s simple—just list the best qualities your kids possess, subtract by annoying habits, divide by number of children, and you’ll be able to carefully calculate how much love you can spare. For example, Tobey and Lacy make me the most adorable finger paintings at school, but they eat pasta like a couple of savages. Zach makes my heart melt with his constant smiling and laughing, but his drool situation is out of control. That’s just parenting for you; you love some parts, you hate some parts, and you meticulously analyze the ratio.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to expand my motherly love capacity to an even 80%, but the numbers just don’t add up quite yet. Parenting isn’t perfect, and for now, I’m okay with the fact that I just don’t love any of them about 27 percent of the time.
Let me let you in on little secret, parents—once you manage to scrounge up a decent amount of affection for your kids, all that matters is distributing it evenly among them. No matter how often my eyes glaze over while Lacy shows me her soccer tricks, or how many times I’ve accidentally left Zach near an open flame, my little ones will always know that their mommy gives each of them approximately 73% of her love. Isn’t that what family is all about?