“I’m Mommy’s Favorite Child”: Is Favoritism Myth or Reality?
Hope everyone is well, and I mean everyone, including those who grew up feeling like they were not exactly Mommy’s or Daddy’s favorite kid, and as a result, had to overcompensate by pinching and shoving and stealing the family favorite’s goodies, along with bad-mouthing them to their friends…I mean, gotta do what you gotta do, especially when you’re 10 years old and although it’s never been said, you can tell how Mommy loves to gossip with your annoying sister, or how she gets excited ’cause your kid brother finally got the first (and probably only) passing grade of his entire life (when you consistently bring in A’s, even in terribly boring arts and crafts class…)
Well, as much as many of us like to deny it, this favoritism in families does exist..Case in point: growing up in Senegal, West Africa, where there still are significant remains of sexist stereotypes among genders, and especially considering how dear mommy had 3 girls before finally getting her beloved boy, it was obvious that as soon as my kid brother was born, this little guy was just gonna shamelessly bask in all the glorious privilege of being the last-born male of the family. And so it has been for the past 23 years by the way…And as much as I just adore him (and he’s a pretty amamzing guy), I do have to admit to purposely losing his pacifier as a baby, or even hiding his Playstation for just a couple of
hours days, just to teach him about the realities of common mortals like myself…
Then, fast-forward some 100 light-years (seriously) and I had kids of my own…First, my baby girl, then my baby boy, and oh, all hell broke loose! I remember having close to a nervous break-down right before dear son’s birth, wondering how in the world I could divide a mother’s love in two! And then it happened, the love was there, overflowing, while Dear Daughter said daddy first, and Dear Son only stared at me with adoring eyes…So you know what ends up happening half of the time, dear daughter ends up in daddy’s lap staring at his unshaved beard like it’s the world’s eigth wonder, and baby boy ends up in mine, checking out my Bare Minerals foundation and curly do (courtesy of Shea Moisture) like I stepped right out of Vogue magazine…And you wonder why they say “daddy’s girl” and “mommy’s boy”! Well, because it’s very much real…Because the question is not whether we love ALL our kids or not, but the question is, what kind of relationship do we have with each one of them? After all, parents are human, and so are kids; and as human beings, we forge relationships based on who we are, what we like, and what we don’t like, and this independently of which womb we all came out of…It’s called relating to each other, and that happens between friends, as much as it happens between parents and children.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “favorite” child, but there is the “favorite” kid to talk to, and the “favorite” one to shoe-shop with (that’d be me), and the other “favorite” one to crack jokes on (otherwise known as the “sucker”, but we need everyone in this)…I used to wonder why dear mommy loved talking to my kid sis so much, and yesterday after she proudly sent the whole family a picture of her brand-new Masters degree in Clinical Psychology (congrats, baby), I finally got it! She’s the listener of the family, while if you want my ear for more than 5 minutes at a time, you’ve got to fill out some kind of security clearance first ’cause my mouth is sure to take over in no time…Different people have different strengths, and so do our children, and parents…I can shoe-shop with you, fellowship with you, cry with you, count your money and mine, write you blogs about my life, yours and the neighbor next door, but if you’ve got anything to do that requires loads of patience or diplomacy…well, that’s why they got Hillary Clinton! And if you like a whole lot of silence and quiet meditative thinking, I’m not your girl either!
So, no, I don’t believe there are or should be “favorite” kids in well-balanced families…Yet, the reality is, there are some children that will always be our “favorite” at gossiping, and others at “shoe-shopping”, or “football playing”, or whatever male bonding is in at the moment…And it’s only natural, ’cause you could not make me stay quiet long enough to psycho-analyze anyone’s life, but if you want a word, any word, many spoken, written, uttered, shouted, words out of this African mouth of mine, you got it…any day! And there are just some things that you will always share with one child, that you may not with the other. Because only dear daughter will understand what it means to be a woman and a mother some day…Only she will get how important it is to exfoliate your skin bi-weekly and use retinol-based products in yours ’30s, while calling my Bare Minerals-induced, ”natural, dewy skin” bluff…And only dear son will ever get how strikingly beautiful, spirit-filled and plain amazing his mommy is, and how no other woman can compare, ever (sorry, just got carried away a lil’ bit)…
And only dear hubby and I will know how much we love them both, unconditionally, each one just as they are…
Do you think favoritism is a myth or reality?