If you have more than one kid it’s likely that, at some point, you’ve felt conflicted about your differing feelings for them.
You’re not supposed to have a favorite child. It’s just something that you’re not meant to confess when you’re a mom. As far as anyone knows, you love them all equally. If pressed, you might concede that you love them equally and differently but that’s it. No further questions and move along, please. Just like money, religion and politics, we don’t speak of such things in polite society.
Society’s rules don’t govern my internal thoughts and feelings, however, and I do have a favorite.
We have six kids who range in age from 2-13 and whichever of them is being the least whiny, demanding, bitchy, clingy or assholish at any given moment, that one is my favorite.
Sometimes it’s the daughter who wiped her baby sister’s snot bubble without me having to ask. It may be the boy who was just so damn charming with his mile long eyelashes batting at me asking if I’d come snuggle with him. Other times it’s the teenager who has been so distant lately but comes home from school and shares a story with me that she found ridiculous or hysterical- she didn’t march straight to her room! Somewhere in there she still likes me!
All of that can change at a breakneck speed, though. That same daughter who wiped the snot might soon after fart in her brother’s face which leads to a massive row just before bedtime when I’ve already had it up to here with this damn day.
Eyelash boy might tell me that my breath smells like hot garbage while we’re all snuggled up together (thanks, kid.) Here’s another whiff of my shitty breath before I lock the bathroom door behind me to paint my toenails since snuggle time came to a screeching halt.
Within minutes of our infrequent after school sharing moment, I might ask the teenager to pick up her backpack that she dropped in the middle of the hallway. She’ll roll her eyes at me, scoff, and suggest that I “calm down”. It will become clear that she wants to stab me. Kids who want to stab me aren’t my favorite.
I love them all so, so much but you know what else I love? Peace. I love not refereeing. I love impulsive thoughtfulness. I love it when they say “Mom” once but not so much when they say “Mom” every single time they start a new sentence.. For Chrissake, kid, I’m the only other fucking person in this room…I know you’re talking to me. Stop fucking saying “Mom!”
It’s the path of least resistance, I guess. Whichever of our precious, darling, valuable children is making my life easy and smooth and sweet at an given moment wins the prize that only I know about; “The Five Minute Golden Child Award.” That’s about how long they reign in the favorite kid position, after all.
It’s good though, they’re sharing and they don’t even know it. At some point during the day, everyday, they’ve rotated being my favorite. They alternately hold the title while being utterly clueless and thus avoiding bitter competition and that nasty sibling rivalry bullshit.
When one of them asks all demure-like “Am I your favorite, Mom?” I answer honestly, “Not right this second… but you still have time.”
Related post: To My Favorite Child