28 August 2012

Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy?

Today I am hosing a post written by one of my favorite online people, Momma Jorje. Read and enjoy!
The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This guest post was written by Momma Jorje for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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My parents divorced before I can remember. Knowing the two of them, I do not know how they ever managed to last as long as they did! All growing up, I had to listen to the two of them bad mouth each other constantly.

On the way to my dad's (in his truck), I'd stare out the window as he went on and on about how she was taking all his money. I've heard stories about her spending all his money when they were married, too. How she was book smart, but had no street smarts. He always referred to her with foul language, too, of course.

As soon as I'd get home, I'd hear it from my mother. I heard tales of how my father fired a gun aimed all around my mother's head when there was a window behind her and my brother was outside. Her stories all sounded really crazy, but my father owns up to all of them!

When they got divorced, my brother was asked where he wanted to live. The story goes like this: My father promised him it would just be the two of them and would be so much fun. Soon after, they were living together with my soon-to-be stepmother (and my mother's former best friend) and her 3 kids. Not the dream picture offered.

My mother had to fight for custody of him for several years. When he finally came to live with us, they fought a lot. He would only wear name brand jeans and shirts.

I lived with my mother until I was 14/15 years old. We got into a big fight and she basically kicked me out. And then she had me arrested as a runaway. She told the detective that I was suicidal, which prompted him to walk my papers through the system. I was arrested within 24 hours. However, in order to report it in the first place, she had to sign a form stating that she could not control me. My dad knew she had no way to win. He picked me up the next day and I went to live with him.

All this to say, neither of my parents were saints. I didn't get much approval from my dad, though. If I got an A, he'd ask why it wasn't an A+. Short version: his lack of time, affection, and approval resulted in my desire for approval from men... men that looked, basically, like him.

Once I became an adult, I gave it some thought and figured: I'd be sad when my mother passed. I would be crushed when my father passed. I spent some time obsessing about cherishing every moment with my dad. Thankfully I got past that because it is not a healthy state!

My mom passed away last year. I was sad. I miss her. Often. But I wonder if I called it. I don't know if I'll be as crushed as I predicted when my dad goes. I've known him longer now. He has done a lot for me, but... well, he is a personality. You would just have to meet him. People either love him or hate him - no middle ground.

Overall, I think my father has been my favorite parent. I think it would hurt my mother to know that. If the tables were turned, I doubt my father would be hurt, but he'd sure complain about what an idiot I was. Why was he the favorite? My mother and I were very close for short bursts of my life, namely while I was pregnant with Tyler and Sasha. She was incredibly supportive.

Are your parents still together? I wonder if that has any bearing on how strongly a favorite is... favored. Do you prefer one parent over the other?

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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 28 with all the carnival links.)

  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.
  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?
  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.
  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.
  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.
  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.
  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.
  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guests hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?
  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.
  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at Strocel.com tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.

20 comments:

  1. My parents divorced when I was 12, and my father died when I was 16, basically due to complications from a lifetime of hard living. I was not in communication with him at the time.

    So, yes, I obviously have a favourite. I have the parent who was there, and the parent who couldn't be because of his demons. The truth is that I am the person I am today because of it. I wouldn't change it, but you better believe I would never want to put my own kids through that. Kids need grownups to act like grownups, and that's something my father sadly wasn't capable of being.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he still doesn't act like an adult in a lot of ways. I think losing a parent early could also serve to place them on a pedestal. I left my ex-husband about 4 years ago. Then last year he died suddenly, leaving our 12yo daughter behind.

      I think she will always see him on a pedestal. That puts me in an awkward position. I would never bad-mouth him to her anyway, but some things are facts and I hesitate to even discuss those if they're negative.

      Delete
  2. Interesting. Hmmm...I think favoritism is stronger in a situation like yours, where there is divorce, step parents, step siblings, siblings living at different parents. it is tough for a young child to navigate the waters of having a preferred parent in this setting for sure.

    I never had a favorite parent. Certainly one parent might be my go-to for certain issues while the other parent was my go-to for others. But I liked and loved them the same. Of course, they both treated with with love and compassion equally.

    Thanks for sharing. Family dynamics in this sort of setting are always interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being treated with love and compassion equally from both parents... Wow! No wonder you're so awesome! ;-)

      Delete
  3. My parents are still together, but I do definitely have a favorite parent. My mom and I are super close. She was always the gentle, attached parent, while my dad was either away on deployment or being very strict and punitive. And they made a big mistake, in my opinion, by leaving punishments for my dad to do, when he got home. My main memory of my dad is being spanked by him. Nowadays, we talk but only for a minute or two before the phone gets instantly passed to my mom.

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