Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What makes a favorite?

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Everybody in our family knew that my grandmother's youngest child (of 2 boys and 2 girls) was her favorite. Her older son died after Vietnam, so that might have had something to do with it. Or maybe it was just because he was her baby. Her girls both had special needs, so that may have made her extra fond of him, too.

I moved in with my dad and his wife when I was about 15 years old. It was Dad, me (his youngest), my step mom (she has been for most of my life), and my little brother (her youngest). I think it was pretty clear that we were each of our parents' favorites. Boy did that cause for some stress!

sliding down stairs on a blanketAs the youngest, my brother & I were close in our own ways.

My mother had to fight for custody of my brother (only by-blood sibling) so I often felt that he was her favorite. That doesn't feel very nice. She did basically tell me once that I was her favorite because I was compassionate. My brother went to college and is fiscally responsible. He has traveled the world. I... have not. Her relationship with each of us was very different.

I think it is natural and "normal" for any human being to not only have a favorite person in their life, but for that favoritism to vary from day to day, even moment to moment. When I hear people say "I love all my children the same." It just sounds like politically or socially correct crap to me, as an adult. As a child this might be more important to hear.

So sometimes my husband is my favorite person, when he is extra attentive or sweet. At times my mother was my favorite person, when she brought me a bowl of food or listened to me rattle on about my life.

And now... my children. I felt bonded to my first born child the moment she entered the world! I do not recall hearing them announce her sex, but I clearly recall saying, in awe, "she's so precious!" That child was adopted within my family before she was a year old.

I did not experience the same instant bond with my second child. Thankfully, I had read that this happens sometimes. The bond came with time. She and I were practically inseparable. She was definitely my favorite person for a while. Eventually, she grew into a more independent being and we got into the rut of day-to-day life.

I thought I was done having kids, but then along came my third. I loved her from the start and had a close bond. It was really hard to work outside the home 40 hours per week. I came home for lunch so I could nurse her. She eventually refused bottles and would wait for me to get home, even when my car broke down and I was gone for 7 hours!

Finally, I conceived a child on purpose for the first time! We successfully conceived a boy! Then came Spencer's diagnosis. Actually, first we were told that he likely had a genetic disorder of some kind. In the weeks ahead, while waiting for our amniocentesis, I felt that my son would need all the love he could get. I started focusing on him, talking to him, and we chose a name.

I do love my children, each of them. But my favorite varies. When I am in the moment, playing something giggly with my toddler - the rest of the world disappears. There is only Sasha and I. When I'm holding Spencer above my head and he is grinning down at me, he is my favorite. That is moment-to-moment. What about day-to-day?

There are so many things that might cause one child to be your favorite. Some people seem to be naturals at parenting teenagers while others may prefer infancy. I seem to be better with infancy. Spencer could be my favorite right now because he is my baby.

This is the only time I've ever set out to have a baby (on purpose). Perhaps that pushes Spencer into the spotlight. He is my only boy, that could make a difference. Or maybe because Spencer has some special needs. He requires more of my time and attention than my other children did. It is nice to be needed, but that sort of thing could certainly have the opposite reaction. Being needed can be overwhelming. So many factors can play a part in favoritism.

Do you have a favorite parent or a favorite child?
What sets them on that pedestal?


Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.

  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?

  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guest hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?

  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.

  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.
  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.

  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.

  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.

  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.

  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at Strocel.com tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.

  • The Ugly Side of Favoritism — Shannon of Pineapples and Artichokes shares a guest post warning: Don't favor one child over the other.
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