It is a hard thing for a lot of moms to admit out loud, but let’s be honest, shall we?
We all have a favourite child.
This may be hard for some of you non-parents to hear, since I’m certain many of you harbour the old “my mom liked him better” scar, but it is true.
As for you parents of one? Easy peasy. For those of us who have two, three, or, God forbid, six, it is not that simple. What those of you who haven’t been in this position may not know—and it’s a good one—is that it isn’t always the same kid.
It’s true. I have almost always had a favourite child, but it changes. Anyone who is being totally honest with you will probably tell you the same thing. Of course there are moms out there who liked one boy or one girl better than the others and stuck with it, or at least that’s what you hear after three or four beers at the family reunion, but that isn’t how it goes for most of us.
So how does it work? It’s a meritocracy. You have a child that wants to be the favourite, then they need to earn it. For most moms, the favourite child is the one who is currently doing what we want them to. It is the one being fun, friendly, or at least finishing their friggin’ home work without being nagged.
Good manners move them right to the top when they are spontaneous and I haven’t had to enforce them. Clean the kitchen, take out the trash, or hell just pick up their own shit they leave lying around everywhere. It’s pretty simple really. If you have two kids and one can’t be bothered to be polite while their sibling is making the honour roll, then the favourite should be crystal clear.
The favourite can occupy the throne for years, months, weeks, or only days.
I have teenagers now and let me tell you, the favourite child can change from minute to minute around here. When my son got his driver’s permit and wanted to drive everywhere while simultaneously lecturing me on proper road rules? Back of the line, buddy.
Every single time my 14-year-old daughter rolls her eyes at me she moves to the bottom. If she is rolling her eyes at me while I’m in the passenger seat of the car being lectured by Mr. Student Driver? The throne stands empty.
Look, you may be horrified to hear this and some moms out there may be horrified to say it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I have heard that there are people who say things like “you should treat all your children the same.” Why? They aren’t the same people and this isn’t some city sports league where everyone gets the same trophy.
At different times, different kids are somewhere in their lives that you can relate to better or just plain like better, and they become your “favourite.” I remember a friend actually saying to me “I love all the junior high drama.” Clearly she was demented, but it was still obvious that as each kid went through middle school, she was going to be enjoying him or her the most.
I suspect that once they leave home, some of this may change. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that crap. The absence of smelly socks on my couch and dirty dishes in their bedrooms will do wonders for me. And, just so you know, the first one to give me grandchildren that I don’t have to raise is the WINNER!
Melissa Coble is a mom living in Phoenix, Arizona just trying to survive the teenage years with a lot of laughs, an occasional rant, and copious amounts of wine. You can find her counting the days until her nest is empty at An Unfit Parent and endlessly Facebooking here.