{The Nest Writes} Why it’s okay to have a favourite child

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Parental guilt is an absolute bitch. It doesn’t matter what you do, nobody gives a shit. You will be made to feel guilty from the moment you push that little sucker out your front bum or from the moment they cut you to pull them out. You will feel guilty if you adopt, you will feel guilty if you had a surrogate. Parental guilt is overwhelming and a real pain in the life.

So here’s a hot tip on one less thing to feel guilty about. I’m going to scream this loud and proud – It is COMPLETELY acceptable to have a favourite child.

I say this because I have three children and at various times they are all my favourite.

My oldest is my favourite. She is wonderful and kind. She is also the one I like taking shopping. She is patient and thoroughly enjoys  the shopping experience. She loves clothes and shoes. She is pleasant and friendly to shop assistants and loves to give her ‘expert’ opinion on whichever outfit I try on. She will happily sit in the car for three hours while we travel to Sydney just to get a bargain at the end of financial year sales. She is my favourite child for shopping with.

The middle born is my favourite. Whenever I go somewhere new I want her by my side. She is approachable and outgoing. She is the first to introduce herself and break the ice. Nothing is too hard and she will dive in head first. At a party she will remember to say thank you and move around the room sidling up to everyone from the baby to the grandpa just to say g’day.  During her first swimming lesson she didn’t hesitate and I didn’t have to negotiate with her to climb into the pool, she just jumped and I only just managed to peel her shoes off her feet before she bounded in. She is my favourite child in new situations.audrey2111162logo

The youngest is my favourite. She is the most charming of all my children and loves to help out. Whenever I cook she plonks herself on the bench (hello parental guilt alert because she will probably fall off) and enjoys passing ingredients and mixing our concoctions in the kitchen. She will spend hours helping me roll dough for school lunch scrolls, she will gently pour milk into the mixing bowl when we make custard or help peel carrots. She loves nothing more than helping me pack and unload the dishwasher and carrying laundry out to the line. She is my favourite helper.

My oldest is my favourite. She is caring. She will bound out of bed on a Sunday morning and look after the younger two by preparing their breakfast and turning on the television so mummy and daddy can have a sleep in.

My middle child is my favourite because she takes pleasure in feeding the dogs everyday and that means I don’t have to.

My youngest is my favourite because she doesn’t rip tissues anymore.

My oldest is my favourite because she loves going to cafes.anni2logo-copy

My middle child is my favourite because she eats just about everything and isn’t fussy.

My youngest is my favourite because she sings twinkle twinkle little star with more gusto than Pavarotti.

See, you don’t need to feel guilty about having a favourite child because they aren’t your favourite ALL of the time.

Think of it this way, you have a circle of friends and you enjoy doing certain things with specific friends. Like I have one friend who I love a coffee and a gossip with, another who I could call night or day for any reason, another for drunken nights  and another for parenting chats.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for realising that each one of your children are your favourite for different reasons. The moment you realise that, is the exact time that you will feel a little less parental guilt burden. Guaranteed.

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Guilt and the working mother

Going back to work is tough. Going back to work after having a baby is really tough.

I know the reasons why I should do it. I have this perfect little picture in my head whereby I have to work to show my baby-birds that you can do it all. Be a parent. Be a wife. Have a career. I want my girls to grow up seeing that balance can happen.

I promise to always come home baby

I promise to always come home baby

I know the reasons but I still do not want to go.

I am so conflicted with emotions.

I don’t want to leave her. I have been her everything, all the time, for the last nine months. I have soothed her cries, I have protected her, and most of all I have enjoyed her.

It is not that I doubt the safety of her care while I am gone. She is with my sister who happens to be one of the greatest mothers I have seen. Simply put though, she is not me.

I am in the situation where I am not required financially to go back to work. Whilst extra spending money is nice, my husband works hard for us we are financially secure. So does this make me a bad mum for going back to work? This is the guilt that sometimes plays on me.

It is easy to justify heading back after six months because you need the money. But what if it is just because you know you should?

I know I should go back to work. It will help my child develop new relationships away from me. It will show my baby-birds that mummy’s career is as important as daddy’s. It will teach them to grow up respecting hard work and independence.

I am conflicted between wanting to show the perfect balance to my children verses wanting to absorb and live in the new baby world for just a little bit longer. I feel like the moment I agree to go back to work she is finally no longer my newly born baby.

Guilt eats me up. What if I miss her first crawl? What if I miss a new word? Will she miss me as well?

For whatever reason I feel more filled with guilt this time that what I ever did with my first born. Is it because I am away from two of them?

Thankfully I have a brilliant employer who has not pressured me to come back but instead supported my return.

The first day back at work finally came. I dutifully packed our lunches. I prepared everything they would need for a day away from me.

I ached saying goodbye. My whole body yearned not to leave her. I felt like I was cheating on her. I told myself again and again that she is safe and this is the right thing to do.

I successfully re-entered the workforce and my baby-bird entered the life of having two working parents. We both survived and we will go again tomorrow.