Ok – don’t all crucify me at once. But can we just be real for a minute? On any given day, in any given moment, I have a favorite child. And if no one else is brave enough to admit it, I sure as hell will.
As moms I think we go through phases, just like our kids go through phases. They are like episodes of the miniseries that make our week, our month, our year. The dramatic episodes of not sleeping, refusing to eat or deterring bedtimes with every excuse known to man. Heartwarming ones of showing us some extraordinary side of them we didn’t know existed that makes us well up with this immense amount of pride and love we had no idea we were capable of until motherhood slapped us in the face. Or… the horror episodes of complete dissonance and disgust for you, mom. It’s in these moments, that my favorite child tends to shine bright.
At one point I had three kids ages four and under and it was B.R.U.T.A.L. One of them was constantly going through some growth spurt, some sleep regression, or some milestone that subsequently caused them to have a hard time falling or staying asleep. Which, synchronously, meant that mom was getting a really shitty night’s sleep. During those days? My favorite child was whichever happened to be sleeping through the night with the least amount of interruptions to MY sleep.
Around the age of four, all of my kids seemed to have some chronic case of the “terrible two’s” (what can I say, we have a hard time letting go in our house). Except it was amplified significantly from the average child tantrum and more like a “terrible preschooler who doesn’t care what you say and DEFINITELY doesn’t care what strangers think about them, because they are going to completely meltdown in…. 3, 2,…1…. in the middle of target with NO shame and NO regrets” stage. And in the middle of that stage I think to myself (every.single.time.) “I don’t remember my older child(ren) doing this?” They did, of course. Just like labor pains for sure kicked my ass and made me think (in the moment) that there was no way in hell I was ever doing that again. NOPE. Yet… a few short months later, found myself once again staring down the beginning of the harsh pregnancy path, forgetting all about the inescapable and excruciating ending to the human gestational period.
In that moment, the moment when my child is the spawn of the devil himself and thinks I’ve come to expel him from his body, this child is my least favorite. The favorite spot is up for grabs. Usually, at this point, if you’re quiet? You’ve won the title.
Then there is the moment when I go downstairs to see the laundry has already been washed (albeit not sorted and not enough or too much detergent was used in the process, but this is a minor infraction I can overlook, because it’s DONE!). Because my oldest has taken an interest in housework in exchange for a weekly allowance, he is doing extra around the house to learn the value of money, and simultaneously experiencing buyer’s remorse and the hollow feeling of overspending your very last dollar on something you definitely didn’t think through. You know, major life lessons. In THOSE moments? He’s my favorite. Hands down.
When my child learns to tie their shoe, pick up after themselves, makes a team they tried out for (or doesn’t), in that moment, that child is my favorite. But tonight, when that same child is the one refusing to brush his teeth after I’ve only asked seven times? He slips himself down to the bottom rung and the lead is taken by the snoozing babe with clean teeth already in bed.
Regardless of whether you are willing to accept it or not. I’m guessing you have a favorite right now. It’s the one sitting quietly on your lap while you read this. Or maybe the one who took it upon himself to clean up his own plate after lunch and put it in the sink. Maybe it’s the one who’s napping. But it’s definitely not the one you just put in a timeout ten minutes ago because she took it upon herself to cut her hair while you showered. Or the one who didn’t pick up the legos you asked her to and now you’ve stepped on a tiny landmine of pain. It’s not that one. Not now. But maybe later….