I have a favorite kid.
So do you, whether you admit it or not.
Before everyone starts losing their minds over what a terrible parent I am (again!), let me be clear: My love for my two children is unconditional and unwavering.
But my like for my children? That’s a different story.
Just because, sometimes, I’d rather hang out with my blissfully ignorant happy-go-lucky baby who can’t talk back than with my hyper, defiant, so-much-like-me-it-makes-me-hate-myself six-year-old doesn’t mean I don’t love them both equally. (And just because, sometimes, I’d rather hang out with a pack of rabid dogs than with either of my kids doesn’t mean I hate being a parent. I just hate being a parent once in a while.)
I love both my kids equally but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to sometimes preferring one over the other. And so would you.
Kids can be annoying! Some ages are worse than others, some days are worse than others, but there are going to be times when your kids drive you up the wall. And if you have more than one kid, there will be times when one kid in particular is responsible for the lion’s share of your headaches. So it stands to reason that the kid who isn’t currently annoying you is your favorite.
Right now, The Hammer is my favorite. Despite the fact that he often wakes me at 5am and has a sack of poop strapped to his waist, it should be easy to see why. The little dude is cute as a button! And happy as a clam! As we all know, I’m no stranger to hating babies; they’re inconvenient and stressful and boring and stupid and reckless and inexplicably wet all the time. They’ve got cuteness going for them and little else.
In a vacuum, my baby would be an unlikely favorite.
But I don’t live in a vacuum. I live with a six-year-old. (He’s much louder than a vacuum.)
Detective Munch is a great kid. He’s smart and funny and silly and sensitive and loud and hyper and whiny and talkative and a smart-ass and exactly like me and I am too much for myself some days. Two of me is a lot for anyone to handle. (Just ask Mom and Buried!) (Don’t be a pervert.) So yeah, he occasionally grates on my nerves! That’s normal.
I don’t dislike my six-year-old. Not all the time. In fact, sometimes, like just this morning, when Detective Munch slept soundly and The Hammer woke me up at 4:30 and then tried to eat a LEGO storm trooper instead of cooperating and falling asleep on my chest, my six-year-old was definitely my favorite. But last night, when The Hammer was bubbling over with joy just to see me when I got home from work, and Detective Munch was refusing to eat his broccoli and refusing to put on his pjs and refusing to go to bed, it went the other way. And it will flip again, multiple times this week, dozens of times this month, countless times in the ensuing years (i.e., one day my favorite will be the one who isn’t going through the terrible twos, and then it will be the one who isn’t a teenager, and then later it will be the one who moves out first, etc., etc.). It’s just the way it goes. A lifetime is a long time.
Admitting you have a favorite kid sometimes isn’t the end of the world. It’s just the end of you kidding yourself. Let it go. Embrace reality; it won’t make you a bad parent. There’s no Parent Police monitoring your brain to make sure you always enjoy all of your children equally (there are definitely some Church Ladies who will gasp and clutch their pearls, but haters gonna hate and hypocrites gonna hypocrite), there’s no invisible force waiting to strike you down for admitting an occasional preference for one kid.
You’re not always gonna like your kids, and the sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be. Parenting is stressful enough without getting uptight about your normal human emotions. Stop wringing your hands and admit that sometimes one of your kids is being slightly less aggravating than the other(s). I’m not advocating you tell your kids you prefer one to the other, the Facebook commenter in the image above is right about that, at least.
He’s totally wrong about showing your kids respect, though. Like I’m gonna respect someone who can’t even read!