I’ve seen a few articles recently, mostly tongue in cheek ones, writing about whether parents have a favourite child. I’ve always maintained that you have different feelings, concerns and love for each child, it’s a particular shape of love that’s different for each one. However, I need to flip this on its head and ask: “do your children have a favourite parent?”
I only ask, because if my children preferred me I’d probably not be writing this post. It seems perfectly natural for children to lean towards their mother, the nurturer and I wouldn’t want to write a smug post about the trials and tribulations of being the “chosen one”. I’m writing this post, because I’m not the favourite parent and it’s really hard to take.
Clearly I made some of the bigger sacrifices (I think I did). I went through IVF, I went through pregnancy, birth (or 2 emergency C-sections after 16 hour labours). I gave up work for 10 months, I bought the nursery/children’s furniture, ALL the baby paraphernalia, I worked out the routines, enforced the rules, learnt the techniques, bought the clothes, researched the activities and classes and booked them all, did all the baby weaning blah blah blah blah. This, apparently, counts for nothing when you are a young child. Daddy is the man!
It’s not even that we have a traditional family life and they see me more. Quite the opposite. I know some children look forward to seeing their working daddy because they often don’t all week and mummies are often (I’m doing a sweeping generalisation here) stay at home mums or working part time. I work 30 hours a week. I have 1 weekday with the kids but their dad is self-employed and is often around and he looks after them 2 days a week himself. He’s also pretty strict too, almost as strict as me.
I’ll be honest, it doesn’t bother me as much 2nd time around as it did first time with my daughter. With my daughter it felt like someone was stabbing my heart every time she asked Daddy to do bedtime or give her a cuddle or read a book. I was gutted. However, she goes through phases and in the last year she has requested me in certain circumstances which has been lovely. I really have learnt to live with the favouritism, she’s not doing it to be mean, she’s just exercising her agency and making decisions on how she feels at that moment. At any rate, there is little I can do about it apart from be there when she needs me.
I was quite pleased to find out I was having a boy second time around. Boys are proper mummy boys (so everyone told me). Sadly that hasn’t proved correct either. He is 18 months and completely obsessed with his father. He will see me and turn around to chase Daddy. I’ve reconciled much quicker this time around. I am hoping that much like my daughter he will eventually work out that I’m useful for some things. However, although he has greatly improved since I wrote the post here about not enjoying his age, it isn’t all bad, because there is little I can do about him hanging on to his daddy’s leg and it’s nice that I can walk away sometimes.
This wasn’t intended to be a moaning post at all, I’m a big grown up lady and shouldn’t be acting like a child in the playground, but none the less, it’s there and it’s sometimes hard to take, but I’m probably learning one of the biggest parenting lessons – they may be my children but I have no control over their needs and wants.