It’s pretty common for a child, particularly a toddler, to have a favorite parent. The parent they want to comfort them if they wake up from a bad dream. Or, maybe on a day-to-day basis, the only parent they will allow to tie their shoes.
While it can certainly give you warm fuzzy feelings if you’re the favorite parent, being the favorite isn’t without its pitfalls. You may need to bear the brunt of late-night wakeups. It may be tough to get a minute alone if your kid is awake because they want to be in your lap or by your side.
Of course, not being the favorite isn’t always such a great deal either. It can feel hurtful if your kid won’t accept comfort from you when she scrapes her knee or feels sick. You may start to wonder if you’ve done something wrong, or if you’ve driven your child away for some reason or another.
Keep Some Things In Mind
Regardless of what side of favoritism you’re on, it’s important to keep few things in mind. First, make sure you separate out the idea of “love” from “favoritism.” They often don’t have a lot to do with each other; your child can love both of you equally but still have a “favorite” parent.
Second, don’t drive yourself nuts looking for “reasons” why one parent is the favorite over the other. Sometimes you can make a pretty good guess as to why one parent is the favorite at some point in time. Particularly if your child is young, there’s a good chance one of the parents fed the kid with her boobs for a year or more. That can create a pretty special bond. But then again, we are friends with a gay couple, and they’ve mentioned that one Mom was the favorite for the first 2.5 years of their son’s life. Then, one day, the other Mom became the favorite, for no apparent reason.
As another example, our daughter may looooove grilled cheese sandwiches one day and hate them the next. It doesn’t mean that grilled cheese sandwiches wronged her on Day 2, or changed somehow. But children, and particularly toddlers, will change their preferences without apparent rhyme or reason from one day to the next. It’s best to roll with the punches, support your child and your partner as best you can, and foster a loving relationship with both your child and your partner regardless of who is the “favorite” today.