Hold the hate mail but I'm about to make a confession that some of you might find deeply unpalatable.
One of my kids is better looking than the other.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And as their mother, I consider both my children to be some of God's finest work. Of course I do.
But there is such a thing as a conventional beauty, certain hallmarks of a face that are considered universally attractive (large, wide-set eyes, for example).
Some people don't dig conventional beauty at all. Me, I can spot and appreciate a conventional beauty easily but am also wildly attracted to people who don't necessarily fit the mould, who are more 'quirky'.
And one of my kids fits the conventional mould more than the other.
But why even mention it?
Good question. It shouldn't matter. But the world my children will encounter is a place where it does matter and can affect their lives in subtle and not so subtle ways.
Interestingly, parents are never so reticent to admit that one of their children might be academic where another is not.
For the record, I would never tell my children that they were less attractive or less smart. But I think as their mother, I should be aware of their strengths and also the things that could possibly hurt them.
I have never understood those parents who really don't see their kids. Or as the case may be, hear them. How many parents have we seen interviewed on Idol who listen to their kid butchering some Celine Dion number and then bay for blood when the judges fail to acknowledge "their amazing talent and obvious star quality"?
This may sound harsh but if my kid wanted to audition for a singing competition and I knew they could better hold a slippery fish than hold a note, I would encourage them in another direction. I just would. Dreams should be encouraged but not at the expense of the truth. Fostering delusion is not good parenting, is it?
I love my kids ferociously and with no small amount of bias, I'm sure, but it hasn't rendered my brain impaired.
In fact, I am acutely aware of who my kids are. I store away this information not for the purpose of judgement or critique but so that I can best guide them through the obstacles ahead.
If this all seems shallow and ridiculous, I agree, it is. And I am aware that even by discussing it, I am probably perpetuating the beauty myth. But denying the reality of the society our children will navigate makes very little sense either. There is no such thing as a level playing field.
And then there are just my feelings about the whole thing. One of my children receives more comments about his looks than the other. As their mum, that makes me feel defensive! And even more determined to maximise their individual beauty (inside and out) so that the face they present to the world (bloody gorgeous faces, convention be damned!) is one that radiates confidence and joy in who they are.
And whenever I start fretting about whether they'll both do alright with 'the ladies' (yes, I know, it's crazy but have you never done it?), I comfort myself with the fact that while Wills may be more conventionally handsome, it's Prince Harry who makes the girls want to tear off their knickers…