Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Favourite Children.

Hah, I'm not even slightly surprised to read/hear that during a survey on Netmums it was discovered that 20% of mothers admit to having a favourite child.
My mother favours my brother over every girl that ever had the misfortune to be expelled screaming from that harpy.
And she's not the only one, my oldest friend is a favourite of her father, perhaps because she was the baby of the family and CG will often say his baby sister-and youngest- is the true recipient of his parents' affections.
I suppose parents in general love all their children, but it strikes me as quite normal that they might favour one over the other. People have VERY different personalities, and siblings are not exempt. My brother is mild mannered and avoids conflict, ergo he is the Biological Incubator's plum pudding. I am her least favourite child as I get on her wick and refuse to talk to her for great swathes of time. Oddly though I am the one she is MOST interested in- the nosy old cow.
'What did she say?' being her opening line whenever my name is mentioned. 'Did she say anything about me?' Being the second.
No Lilac Couch, I didn't. I wouldn't give you the satisfaction.
It's a remarkably taboo notion that parents aren't perfect. That they might have quirks and likes and foibles even AFTER they spawn another generation, but they do.

Quoth Larkin.

'They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself."


Quite.

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39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is my absolute worst fear, having children and loving one more than the other, I think that is utterly horrendous. In fairness I have loved every kid I have ever spent mope than 15 mins with so doubt this would be true of me.

On the radio a short time ago I listed to a lady reveal how she favored her youngest son over his elder brother, she even admitted to buying the younger one more toys at Christmas. She is a horrible person and I would like to be in point and laugh distance when what goes around comes back to punch her in the face or put her in a home.

You talk about you mother the way my older brother talks about my mother, he is by far her favourite but unlike you an absolute bollox. I am my parents least favourite but I do the most for them. Strange even with children people favour the bastard.

Alas, I suppose people are can be cunts so parents can be too I guess.


Nonny

9:56 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

People are idiots.

10:03 a.m.  
Anonymous The Bad Ambassador said...

Mammy Ambassador, in her efforts to be fair, would meticulously ensure she spent the exact same on her children at Christmas - literally to the last penny. She has painted herself into something of a corner as a result....

I learned the big secret of Christmas at about 12 years of age. "You understand" said Mammy Ambassador, "that you won't get as many presents now?".

However, the swag levels the following year were unchanged as my sister still wasn't in on the secret and Mammy's conscience wouldn't let her spend differing amounts on her offspring.

When sister finally found out that should have been the end of things - but as I had been getting substantial amounts of Christmas booty for an extra 3 years M.A. decided that she would have to keep S.A. in pressies for 3 more years. But of course, she couldn't spend differing amounts on us so.... (I'm sure you can see where this is going)

We have tried to tell her on countless occasion that a card, a hug and a family dinner is what counts. We have tried to suggest just getting a gift voucher for €20 each. All to no avail.

We reckon it will take the first grandchild to break the cycle - but that may not be the best motivation to bring a child into the world.

10:06 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me!? - Sorry.

To be fair though if were a nice person and favoured one of your brood more it must be quite difficult to live with. Very stressful I’d imagine.

Nonny

10:09 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

hah BA! Most amusing, she really has stymied herself, and I bet she'll carry the whole process on when Grand children arrive.

No no you, people like that woman who admits to buying more for one child than the others.

10:12 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Its extremely tempting to favour one of my nephews over the other. One is vivacious, always full of energy and mischief, while the other is more tempermental, stand-offish and has a great propensity to tell lies for no particular reason.
I love them both as equally as possible, but its easier to relate to and appreciate the 1st one compared to the 2nd. I can appreciate the difficulties parents face in their raising children with an even hand.

10:20 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Yes, and then you have the "My son the doctor" types who never speak of their son the clerk, or admit to the fact that the doctor is a complete chancer while the other lad is a decent skin.

10:23 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aye, Etheline and me refer to that type of converation as 'tupperware talk'. Remember years and years ago there used to be tupperware parties? A chance for the mothers in our area to get together and discuss the 'good' children the produced.

Sheepie, I know, I could quite cheerfully throttle some children I could mention. But I do love them all.

10:30 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Oh yes, tupperware parties! I presume it's the same at Anne Summers dos - the low hum of vibrators underscoring a competetive litany of professionally qualified offspring.

10:48 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The contented cooing of lives vicariously lived...

10:51 a.m.  
Anonymous Cate said...

It breaks my heart to see one child favoured so blatently over another.

10:58 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey I was only at a tupperware party a few months ago, I moaned relentlessly about having to go but spent a fortune.....I must sound like a granny basher to you folk. See was the least favorite has to endure, not only are we not loved we are punished as well. Boo farking hoo.

Nonny

10:59 a.m.  
Anonymous Sniffle&Cry said...

You gota hope there are no more Sophie’s choice moments, fmc.

10:59 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I've never rad that wretched book. I'v attempted it more than once too.

Cate, it's a bit shit all right, but it goes on everywhere.

Tupperware, useful stuff, tupperware parties, devil's smegma to the power of eight kittens.

11:06 a.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

I think fathers tend to have soft spots for daughters and mothers have soft spots for sons.

and generally the younger children.

I'm the youngest son and tend to get referred to as SB, or "spoilt boy" by my brother and sister.

11:29 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see this,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7616715.stm

Jesus Christ are the Gards not bad enough without giving them more power. We had better stop talking about favouritism or we’ll be fined for that two.

Nonny

11:53 a.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

I'm the youngest of 7, and therefore my older siblings think I'm spoiled. I suppose I may have gotten away with more than they did (and thanks to them for tiring the parents out so much) but it came at a cost too. Hand-me-downs that were years out of date, no money for college by the time I wanted to go, being talked over until my 30's... but was I a favorite? Let me think...maybe just because they knew I was definitely the last one, and would always be considered 'the baby.' Plus, I was damn cute...

12:41 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

and generally the younger children.

The older they get, the cuter they ain't.

Personally I find both my children equally annonying.

1:27 p.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

being talked over until my 30's

oh i still get that.

and no respect for tastes in music.

1:57 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I think younger children get away more if there's a big enough age gap between the oldest child and the youngest. By the time the youngest one develops a personality it seems to me parents have mellowed a bit or at the very least have stopped being overly hysterical about ever little thing/breakage. Having a house full of moody hulking teenagers also means the horribleness of youngest behaviours oft gets overlooked, even found funny and quaint in comparison.
Oh yes it was SOOOOOO funny when my brother wrote on the walls, har-di fucking -har. I seem to remember getting slapped almost deaf for the same transgression. Of course he never tried to poison her...There is THAT I suppose.

2:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm Mrs Cat, did you try to kill your mammy?

Nonny

2:44 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Why no, why would ANYONE want to do something like that repeatedly??

2:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Sniffle&Cry said...

Would you have wanted to be her favourite?

You’re correct about there being favourites. I did a poll at lunch. Imelda said she was the favourite cause she was the nicest. And you mentioned that too.
Have you a favourite cat?

3:15 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tut, tut, knew it, you are an assassin. Well if she’s still going around either you are not very good at it or your mother is invincible. Either was you’ll have to become a tad more inventive.

Also, I will not have favorites but I long to have a brood of teenagers. How my future husband and I will spend hours hatching plans to embarrass and antagonise them before laughing our asses of at their sullen discomfort.

Nonny

3:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the fuck is a "netmum"

Your Mother is obviously to the foremost of your thought's, is that why you talk about her so much?

3:19 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Puddy, I suppose, but that's because she's ancient and sleeps a lot and is ALWAYS happy to see a human. Imelda probably ratted you out on a regular basis.

Nonny, I'm looking into fibre-glass hollow point arrows.

Anon...ah forget it.

3:26 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

heh heh


Nonny

3:31 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I can't think of any parents who don't have a favorite. The closest I'll come to that issue would be with the pups. I can't say that I favour one over the other since they're so different.

3:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Sniffle&Cry said...

Hey fmc, you’re on my explorer favourites

3:39 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I don't know what that means but huzzah.
Medbh, indeed, they must have hugely different personalities, plus animals are so affectionate and without guile.

3:57 p.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

I think it's as you say. When we talk of favourites we're talking of liking as opposed to loving. I simply could not answer the question which of your children do you love more? Which would you give up before the other? That is just not how human love works.

Human liking is a different story and over and underlaid with all sorts of psychological factors. Some people don't like to see their own perceived flaws written large in their children and so they will almost punish a child for it, very often using favouritism. These people are wicked douchebags with the self-knowledge and self-examination of a barnacle. Morally slack fuckers no matter how they may opine on sex before marriage or any other "moral" matter.

For myself, I have in turns been drawn more towards one child than another as they grow and turn into themselves. As much as anything it's a function of who needs me most emotionally at any one time. Temperamentally I see different aspects of myself in each of them but that in itself isn't it either. I think when natural interests and predilections coincide, you might be said to favour the company of one or other child but that is also a malleable thing, especially on the growing child's end as she figures out her likes and dislikes for herself.

When children are grown natural sympathies and "alliances" begin to set but children are such a constant surprise you really have to just go with the flow. If you find yourself "liking" one child more than another I reckon it's important to recognize how normal and natural that is and not be tempted into foolish thinking and fruitless fretting about whether or not that means you must love one childhood more than another. You don't. If asked the questions above you could not answer them supposing you had til the end of eternity.

Favouritism has nothing to do with love, it's simply about personalities. The trouble is when you start to actively favour. Such parents are wicked if they have any consciousness about what they're doing. Their unfairness stems from their own fucked-upness though like Larkin said, and their own starter-for-ten personality ugliness. Children with parents like that often don't have a hope and for them the love/like difference must seem very academic indeed in their real life with their real favoured siblings.

If only we could tell each child who feels egregiously disfavoured among their siblings that their parents probably don't love them any less when all the personalitie are subtracted, it's just that their parents happen also to be bad assholes trying to inflict some ancient pre-child hurt of their own or erroneously "correct" in their children something they don't like in themselves.

I reckon on the parent's part, your relationship with your child has to be almost like a dance, and that it's a different dance for each child and at each instance. You have to judge whether or not it's best to stay at a parental remove sometimes or move closer to comfort and encourage, to be a parent or a friend, an ally or "the enemy". As long as you're consistent towards all your children, and give them all equal time and love, they should be OK.

That in itself is hard enough work to even have time to consider "favourites".

5:07 p.m.  
Blogger Glinda the good witch said...

Sam - wow. Well said missus.
I have 3 and I love them all equally and try not to favour whoever is being the most agreeable this week. I have nearly come to blows with my mother-in-law over blatant favouritism of my oldest, however! The old bag has completely projected herself onto my oldest girl, with attendant sibling rivalry implicit in her disapproval of the middle sib. One would hope that grandparents would be immune from favouritism, but caveat mater! They are not.

5:50 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You really WOULD hope grandparents would be, although I'm not terribly surprised to find they are not.

A dance is a fine description Sam, and right on the button. Unfortunately not everyone is sound enough to have your insight.

7:02 p.m.  
Blogger PI said...

My brother was the favourite but that's OK because he was younger, had had pneumonia as a child and we girls were trouble.
I truly haven't a favourite but love them in quite different ways - because they are so different.

7:30 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You're true blue Pat, and don't let nobody tell you otherwise. Right, to the gym.

7:47 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find sex is much moe enjoyable than the gym, but my knuckles do get cramps

10:36 p.m.  
Blogger laughykate said...

My grandmother was atrocious at favourites, much to the detriment of her children, I believe.

My mother was her favourite (eldest of four) however my mother being my mother was completely oblivious to it and merrily floated through her own life,just doing her own thing. Never even occurred to her.

My aunt told me that growing up, she always had to strive to do one better than my mother had ever achieved - obviously thought if she did better she would be loved more. Poor woman, how fucking soul destroying would have that been? As a woman in her sixties she still has an 'I am not worthy' attitude.

My grandmother did the same thing with the next generation, my sister (eldest grandchild) was a clear favourite and I seemed to always exist in a permanent state of being in the shit with her (along with my father).

4:11 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yikes, your poor aunt. To feel second best is not nice, to have your own mother make you feel that way is even more hurtful.
Luckily I had my father, he never played favourits, I don't believe he HAD favourites, or if he did he kept that one pretty well wrapped.

8:15 a.m.  
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