Parenting

Are you showing favoritism to one over the other and is that okay?

I have two kids. They both have the keys to my entire heart. He’s like a tiny best friend to me. We essentially grew up together. I had him right after high school. It was he and I against the world. When he was four I became pregnant with his now younger brother. Now, I don’t want you to see his tiny best friend and think that I’m the ‘I want to be your friend’ type mom. I’m not. There are boundaries. I am mama, first and foremost. I want him to know that he can talk to me about anything though!

They are now eight and three. The oldest will always be my baby, my right hand, my love. The youngest is always going to be my baby-baby. I do not want any more children. Well, let me rephrase that. I would love a ton more children. However, after my youngest, my postpartum was awful. I didn’t think I would ever recover from that. It was a long, dark road. Thankfully now, I am better. I still have anxiety issues, but much better. So, because of that I do not want to birth any more children.

My dilemma is now I find myself getting on to my older son more than I do my younger son. He is three, so I know he is still in his toddler stage and will be a toddler. I feel as if my eight-year-old should understand this as well. I feel that he needs to be an example for his younger brother. Which are both true. But, how can I expect my eight-year-old to ‘understand’ how a toddler acts, he is just a child? He should be an example, no debate about that. But am I holding him at too high of a standard?

When they are fighting I often find myself jumping on my oldest first. Obviously not literally jumping on him. But ‘getting on to him’ about the argument, or whatever the situation was. Even when I know it was the little one's fault. It's like I’m on autopilot and I can't stop it, like word vomit. It’s just directed at him automatically.

What sparked me to write this is when he told his father the other day that he thought I loved his younger brother more. As parents we often say we don’t have favorites, we could never love one child more than another. But is that really true? I believe in my heart of hearts that I don’t love one child more than another child. However, do I have a bigger ‘soft spot’ for one child over the other? ABSOLUTELY!

What gets me is that it's for the older child, when his father told me that, I felt as if my heart cracked in half and shattered on the ground. Like I said previously, he is my right-hand man, my little boy. How could he possibly feel that I love him less than the younger little hellion I birthed? I sat him down, spoke with him about that. I explained why I am quicker to get onto him than the other. He said he understands, and I hope he does.

Since this incident I do think I have gotten better and not letting the youngest get away with things. I have started punishing him and not pushing it under the rug because he's the youngest or because he's too young to understand. As I am writing this it makes me think, “what is wrong with me?” Why didn’t I do this sooner? He is most definitely old enough to understand right from wrong. So that is a work in progress... no one is perfect, right?

I do believe that it's okay to have a favorite child, I mean, kids have their favorite parent, right? Haha. I believe as long it's not overly obvious then no harm, no foul.  

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