Do you have a favourite child? There must be one from the brood that warms your heart a little more than the others. Did a name pop into your mind? Are you feeling guilty now?
What I’m asking seems scandalous doesn’t it? Making you pick between your unique and wonderful offspring. Of course, it’s easy when you just have the one child but as soon as you add another to the mix the waters get a bit murky. Throw in a third, fourth or fifth child and then you’re really spoilt for choice! Children are tiny little people with their own personalities and if you like some adults more than others, surely you like one child more than the others? Are you thinking about it? Weighing the pros and cons of each one?
Having a favourite child is one of those taboo topics where you may have the thought in the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind but you will never, ever voice it. But it’s there.
The night before I was admitted into hospital to have our second child, I was guilt ridden. When Jarrod went to drop our daughter off with my folks for the night, I sat at the dining room table and I cried. You know the cry that comes straight from the pit of your stomach? The one that is packaged with a blotchy nose and body shaking hiccups? When it’s impossible to sob silently? That was me.
I cried because I knew in my heart of hearts that I would never love our second child as much as I did our funny, caring, curious three year old. How could I? She was my everything. We had spent almost every single day together for over three years (not even counting the time she spent rolling and stretching inside me). This amazing little person had made me a mother and changed both my perspective on life and my personality forever. How could our poor little second child ever compete with that bond? Would I be able to pretend that my love for them was equal as they grew? I am often told that I wear my heart on my sleeve so I’m pretty sure I would’t be fooling anyone. Would our second child end up resenting me for favouring her older sister?
As with most of my parenting
paranoia insecurities, everything fell into place eventually. The feelings of guilt from the night before were washed away as soon as I held our brand new little girl. My fierce sense of protectiveness was in full force and I would never in a million years have voiced my fears of the night before.
I did not love them equally at first. It took time for me to get to know this new person in my life, to build bonds and inside jokes. Her personality grew and we got to know each other better, as with any long term relationship, until one day I woke up and realized that we were there. That while her older sister had made me a mum, she had taught me to enjoy motherhood. It had taken a second round at parenting for me to relax into it and savour the moment. A lot of the worry and anxiety from being a first time mum was dulled by experience. Schedules and routines didn’t rule my life (as much) and I googled a lot less than I did the first time. I needed our second daughter to make me a better mum to our first.
Who is it then?
Since I’m the one who proposed the question, I think it’s only fair that I answer it as well.
Do I have a favourite child? Yes, yes I do. But who that is, changes on a daily basis. One day it’s the child who mastered a new word and used it in the right context to the maximum level of cuteness. Another day it’s the child who made the extra effort to be kind to her sister while playing outside. It is a top position that is constantly changing and always will because really, how can you pick a favourite? 😉