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The Perks and Pitfalls of Being the Favored Parent

It's no secret, I am my 2-year-old daughter's favorite parent. Of course she loves her daddy. She adores him and shows him lots of affection. Sometimes. But other times, she's so locked in on me that she won't give Daddy the time of day other than to shoot him a look that says, "And you are??" Oh yeah, she's all about her mommy. I want Mommy. Where's my mommy? Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. It's Mommy all day, erry day.

Now, as much as I want to think that it's my charm and stellar parenting skills that make me the favorite, I know better. Most kids have a favorite, and it usually shifts back and forth from one parent to the other as time goes on. But for now, I hold the "favored parent" scepter and am feeling as special as a queen, most days. At the same time, however, with great arbitrary choosing of one parent over another comes great responsibility.

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On one hand, being the parent of choice makes you feel special, duh.

Every time she giddily runs to me with her arms outstretched, shouting "Mommy" and jukes her dad when he tries to intercept, aside from feeling like, "Hell yeah, I'm the sh**!" I feel like, "Wow, she really loves me!" No one can take my place. She's choosing me. It's like we have a secret club to which no one else knows the handshake.

On the other hand, while I'm getting all that baby sugar, all that love, my husband is getting dissed—hard.

Any effort to sneak into our inner circle and steal a kiss is quickly met with a turned cheek and a palm to his face. And it's not my palm. He gets so sad. As much as I like to soak up being the object of my daughter's affection, I do know it really bums my husband out.

I love that I can make things better for her, that someone believes in me so much.

On one hand, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

The fact that she wants me and chooses me over everyone else makes me feel like I'm an OK mom. Like I'm not completely failing. Like there is a reason she wants me, she needs me, she has to have me. It's totally self-validating.

On the other hand, I wonder if I'm just a total sucker giving in to her every whim because I'm so afraid to lose Most Favored Parent status.

On one hand, she listens to me.

Yeah, my toddler is into me—for now. So she happens to want to listen to me, and she wants to please me. When I ask her to bring me something, she's off in a flash to get it. When I tell her not to do something, she at least thinks about it for five seconds before she goes ahead and does it anyway.

On the other hand, she doesn't listen (as well) to anyone else.

It's my word over everyone else's, which gives me a lot of power, but then it also makes it very difficult to pass the responsibility and/or any "bad cop" duty to other people.

On one hand, we have a special bond.

She opens up to me. She tells me stories, asks me questions and bonds with me simply because she prefers to spend more time with me, one-on-one.

On the other hand, I want her daddy to enjoy all those special, quiet one-on-one moments, too.

And he wants nothing more than to have a daddy's little girl.

On one hand, I'm the only one who can make it better.

It's amazing. My 2-year-old treats me like I'm a magical unicorn wizard who gallops around shooting glitter out of my horn to make everything and anything better. The "owie" isn't OK until Mommy kisses it. She won't stop screaming, "LOOK AT ME!" until Mommy looks. She won't stop crying unless Mommy steps in. Her confidence and her trust in me fills my heart.

But on the other hand, no one else can make it better.

See above.

On one hand, she wants me to do everything,

She only wants me to hold her hand, to share her snacks, to join in her puppet show, to be in the tent with her.

On the other hand, she wants me to do everything.

She only wants Mommy to bathe her, get her dressed, and change her foul, foul, what-on-earth-did-you-eat diapers. It's my ass that has to get up in the middle of the night to get her water. What. The. Hell?

On one hand, she always wants to be with me.

I love that she actually likes me, that she wants to be by my side. I love that my presence makes her happy and feel safe. Because I love every minute I spend with her. I love to watch her and see her smile and pretend-play and dance and stick Play-Doh to every picture frame in our home.

On the other hand, it KILLS me every time I have to leave her.

She chases me to the door and pleads with me not to go, as if she will never, ever, ever see me again.

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On one hand, there's the affection.

When you are the favorite parent, you get more hugs, cuddles, kisses, snuggles, nuzzling than ANYONE else. You are like the snuggle don. The ambassador of cuddle. You're the mama bear in a YouTube video getting playfully mauled by her chubby, furry cub.

There's no downside to this one.

As much as it can get a bit stressful being the parent of the hour, the perks definitely outweigh the pitfalls. And, as much as I'd like this to go on forever, I know this is a phase. I know the scepter will be passed back and forth as time goes on. And, as a former single mom, I just feel lucky I have someone else to share in both the joy and the responsibility of raising a child. I love being the recipient of all those hugs and kisses. I love to hear the "no, Mommy does it!" from the other room. I love that I can make things better for her, that someone believes in me so much. Because honestly, most of the time these things are happening, I'm thinking to myself, If she only really knew what a putz I am. But for now, this putz is the favorite, and I'm going to soak it all in.

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