‘Mum, who do you love the most me or MJ?’
‘Mum, do you have a favourite son?’ Asked the eldest.
Child favouritism, motherhood’s dirtiest secret, to favour one child over another, to love one child more than the other.
At some point, parents succumb to child favouritism, favouring one child over another, it could be that one sibling is causing fewer problems or a child is naturally more talented, it might be that during exam times that one child requires more attention and support than you find time to give to the other.
I’m sure I can speak for most of us when I say at some time or another we’ve all experienced the feelings of child favouritism.
When I delivered my eldest son, now sixteen years old no one was more in love with that little bundle than me.
He gave me his first smile on day two and in spite of the pain I endured after the most horrendous cesarean section due to preeclampsia, the overwhelming love I felt for that little one was more than I could ever put into words.
When I fell pregnant with my second son I was filled with fear, worry and apprehension about how I would feel if my second child was also a boy.
I recall a conversation with my mum who reassured me at length that having two sons would make no difference, I would love and favour them equally but uniquely.
I pointedly looked at her and said ‘but you had a boy and girl what makes you qualified to know how I will feel?’
Her response was immediate, ‘because even though I had one of each I love you equally, unreservedly and completely differently’.
When I quizzed her about child favouritism she simply answered just wait and see.
Even now I look at both of them and there is this unimaginable, indescribable feeling of love and I recognise that what I feel for them is unique and different but I am at odds to describe what those differences are.
Child favouritism, not me!
They test me to the limits especially when I discipline the eldest often his retort is ‘you love MJ more than me’ and the same when I discipline the youngest, ‘obviously mum you love OC more than me’ .
But I admit there are days when I could cheerfully ask for a refund for the both of them if only Tesco did teen refunds.
My eldest has an addiction to public toilets, he always needs to go to the toilet even though he went just before we left the house.
He slows down when I need him to speed up and no sooner are we in the car he remembers he has forgotten something and needs to go back into the house.
Then there is my youngest’s apparent disregard for the word ‘silence’ as he goes about his everyday tasks singing either beat box or banging some object.
Then there are his mega strops when he gets told off or reminded to do the chores he should have done in the first place.
My punishment – the silent treatment!
Both have perfected the ‘answer back technique’ something I thought I had mastered very well at my age. It is the truculent attitude and the I know more than you that drives me insane.
Kids turn from being smiley and compliant to the angels from hell.
The summer holidays only served to highlight the many differences between my boys and child favouritism.
My eldest went off to Germany on a rugby tour and I admit I was relieved not to have him around the house for five days.
There was an air of calm and tranquility without the fighting, it was so quiet.
Two of the same sex is hard work and I have always tried to be fair in the raising of my kids but I admit there are times when I prefer one over the other.
My eldest is challenging at the best of times with OCD that makes Jack Nicholson in “Something’s Gotta Give” look tame and it can be difficult trying to accommodate the way he is and I selfishly think why do I have a son like this.
The youngest is equally frustrating he is bright, intelligent and everyone likes him but he has a temper that makes the incredible hulk look lame.
He is the John Mcenroe of our household.
He can go from being a lovely smiling helpful chap to a stroppy little shit.
He threw his bat some 30 metres in a rage and was seen thumping the pitch as he cried his eyes out in anger and frustration, at one point I thought he was going to go back onto the pitch and club the umpire with his bat.
I scurried off and hid dying of embarrassment as his temper had not gone unnoticed.
In less than five minutes he can make a calm and centered mother turn into a seething eruption of fury and frustration.
The answering back from the both of them and the ‘you have no idea, MUM’ with the emphasis on the word MUM, drives me crazy.
My boys are at at the age where I expect them to do chores around the house.
I give them tasks to do and they can barely recall the next job. Do I really need to write it on the wall in blood?
Finally with one job completed they forget to come and ask what needs to be done next conveniently.
I admit I have to stop myself from saying I hate you both, leave NOW!
All of the above are the same feelings and emotions you know doubt feel at some point.
A love hate relationship, but with a deep rooted love that endures the test of our patience and time.
Do I love one more than the other?
The answer is very definitely NO.
Do I have a favourite child.
Yes I absolutely do but it changes by the week, day, hour, minute!
But, as long as they know they are very much loved and go to bed knowing they are both my favourites that’s all they need to know!