30 July 2010, by Daphne Ling
Here’s a thought. Are parents allowed to have favorites? The politically correct answer is probably no because every kid is special and favoritism is BAD. But really, do parents have a secret preference that nobody else knows about?
I used to look at parents with multiple kids and one of them is often way cuter, funnier and smarter than the rest. He knows exactly how to make your heart melt into a gooey mush and then twirls it around his little fingers. When he grows up, he’s the classic overachiever – valedictorian, captain of the swim team, and the most popular kid everywhere he goes.
Then there’s the other kid. All whiny and screamy as a kid, then angsty and sullen later on and you’re like “OMG can this get any worse?” I mean, it’s normal to have more positive feelings towards someone who doesn’t scream at you all the time or makes you so crazy you want to eat your own spleen.
So, politically correctness aside, can parents have favorites?
After all, kids have their favorites. “I love daddy more because he lets me play computer games all day.” Or “I like mommy, she makes the best snacks.” We don’t expect kids to be unbiased and objective because it’s human nature to have preferences. When it comes to parents though, we are expected to love them EXACTLY the same. Is that even possible?
With two kids of my own, I constantly remind myself to be fair, even though I’m not sure what that really means. I try to divide my time equally between both kids and give them enough quality time with momma. I measure out equal scoops of ice-cream and give them equal portions of my affection, just to make sure neither one feels left out.
I try to love them with the same amount of love but I’ve come to realize that they’re as different as carrots and peas. Along the way, I find myself loving them differently. Not in quantity but in method. Tru is like an all-action boy. His hugs are intense but short. He grabs my face and kisses me but JUST ONCE IS ENOUGH, MOMMA. Truth be told, I really enjoy doing crazy stuff with him. Truett-time is like hanging out with the badass kid in class who makes everyone laugh all the time. And you know how much I like the badass kid. I married one.
Baby girl is the complete opposite. She’s the sweet girly girl who has tea parties with dolls. She loves snuggling and gazing into my eyes and leaning her head on my chest. Her hugs are generous and they often turn into long kissy sessions. Being with her takes less effort. I don’t have to worry that she’ll stab her eye with a fork “to see if jelly comes out“. She’s low maintenance and the epitome of chill, which I also really love.
Maybe when they’re a little older, and I have 5 kids to choose from, I may find myself closer to one of the kids. If I ever end up with that pickle, we’ve agreed that the kids must never know about it. We’ll have to be more careful in treating them just the same, even the angsty, sullen one. That being said, I really hope I don’t get an angsty one that drives me crazy. I’d like to keep my spleen, thankyouverymuch.
Daphne blogs at www.motherinc.org