Least Favourite

It was Sunday morning and we were on our way to church. I was in the driver’s seat and my two babies were sitting peacefully in their carseats behind me, watching the word zip by outside the windows. As I pulled up to a red light, I took a peek at each of my boys through the rear-view mirror.

Cameron was sitting up, facing forward, looking every bit the big boy that he is growing into. Firmly gripped in each hand were toy cars. Gavin was reclining in his rear-facing seat, his eyes wide open, trying to take in as much of this new world as he could.

They were both sitting there, so perfect. So beautiful. With me. So close. My boys.

Cameron and Gavin in Carseats

“You are both Mama’s boys” I said, turning my head around and smiling at these little bits of me and my husband in whole, new form. Sometimes I am hit so strongly with such an incredible feeling of joy and privilege that I get to share my life with these two little beings. “Mama loves her boys.”

My heart was bursting for them; for my boys. Both of them, equally.

And then Cameron spoke.

“No Mama. Tameron not Mama-boy. Tameron Daddy-boy! Gabin Mama-boy.”

Not my boy. According to Cameron I only have one boy, and he isn’t it.

I get it. I do. For the past five months, I have been at this new baby’s beck and call. He and I share a rhythm, one entirely out of step from a toddler’s typical beat. Our family has made this work, but usually because of some off-balance equation in which Daddy spends a lot of extra time with the big boy while I spend my time caring for the newest one.

It works for us. We have two very happy kids. We are meeting their needs in the best possible way we know how.

Gavin, the baby, favours me. He tolerates his Dad, which is better than how he used to act, but the expressions on his face and the way he shimmies his body to get closer to me really solidifies his preference in parent.  Gavin is at a stage where he needs his Mama and I need to be there for him. So I am. I am always there when he calls. I nurse him when he is hungry and snuggle him when he is lonely, and lay my sleepy body beside his when he needs a little extra comfort.

What Cameron doesn’t remember is that I did all of this for him.

I understood each of his unique cries and reacted accordingly. I put my energy into making him laugh and smile. I spent each night wrapped around his little body, heart to heart, breath on breast. I let him depend on me and he loved me for it.

Everything I do now for Gavin, I did for Cameron.

Cameron won’t remember that. He still holds on to that sense of security and the understanding that I will protect and provide for him. But he couldn’t possibly remember each individual time I put his needs above all others.

Now it is Gavin who needs that. Now it is Gavin’s turn to learn how secure and safe and loved he is in this family. I am the one who needs to start that process.

What Cameron doesn’t realize is that I am doing all of this for him still. It has just evolved into a love that manifests itself differently, with more independence.

As I hold onto the memory of baby Cameron and his little hands grasping for me, I can confidently hand over the favourite parent role to my husband knowing that he does just as good of a job loving Cameron and making him the happiest he can be. And maybe, hopefully, I’ll be his favourite again in another season. Maybe I’ll get my Mama’s boy back for a little while.

Because I love my boys. And no matter what they say, they are both Mama’s boys.

Do your kids have a favourite parent? How do you cope when you’re not it? Did you have a favourite parent while growing up?

Don’t forget to comment over on this blog post to help me win the Brunch Showdown. If my post has the most votes, I will be giving away 20 Sobeys gift cards on my blog.

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About Laura O'Rourke

Laura is a Mom of three who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Currently on maternity leave, she blogs about life at home with her husband Dan and three sons Cameron (age 5), Gavin (age 3), and Logan (not yet 1). When she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running. Laura has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 10 Mom Bloggers by multiple publications, including Reader's Digest. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment!


  1. I’m just going to cut and paste this whole post and call it mine :)

    I get it. I do.
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  2. I get it too. Caleb used to tell my Dan to give Braeden to me; he was mine and not his to hold. Now, almost 14 months later, the preferences still stand strong. I think I’ve gotten used to it now. It just makes the times where he does need me all the sweeter!

  3. Love this Laura.

    All of it.

    But especially this line – because you just need to interchange the name…

    ‘What Cameron doesn’t remember is that I did all of this for him.’

  4. My oldest is SUCH a daddy’s girl, like to the point she hurts my feelings sometimes because she wants nothing to do with me when he’s around :( So I totally get this!! My youngest though is a total mommy’s girl so thats fun! I am so thankful my girls love and adore their daddy and know he is their protector, but I know what you mean! You want them to both be YOURS ;)
    kk @ the mom diggity recently posted..bump day – 18 weeksMy Profile

    • It is sweet to see such a strong bond grow between our children and the man we chose to be their father. But yes. It can hurt too. I am sure your new baby will be super attached to you too, though it will be interesting to see what happens with your second with a new baby around.
      Laura recently posted..RoarMy Profile

  5. This is something I think about a lot, esp as we think about adding on to our family. Will D realize all that I did and still do for her? Will she think it’s unfair and will she think she’s loved less? It’s so hard to tell them at this age. It’s so hard to get until you’re older and even a parent yourself.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Not That GirlMy Profile

    • I think what you say is true about everything we do. We have brought kids into this world where all they know is love and safety and the arms of their parents (what a blessing). All we do for them isn’t extravagant in their minds. It is just the way life is. And so yeah, when things change, there is an adjustment for everyone. But with that change comes new experiences too. Whenever I think about how much Cameron’s life has changed, I think about how his face lights up when he sees his little brother. He has no idea what I do for him, but he does love having a bigger family.
      Laura recently posted..RoarMy Profile

  6. This is the kind of post that I dread having to write in the future. Because Noah it a definite mama’s boy and the thought that he will think he isn’t anymore. If only they could remember that at one point they too were the center of our worlds and we were at their beck and call. Hang in there mama. :)

    • It is okay for me. And it will be okay for you too. Because even if I’m not his favourite parent any more, his favourite parent is a man I love and I love watching their relationship develop. As long as his favourite is one of the two of us, I am happy.
      Laura recently posted..RoarMy Profile

  7. Oh my goodness, yes. I’ll say this, too: Avery (my oldest) had a preference for her father pretty much from the start. She warmed up to me when I stayed home with her (when she was around 2), but her father hangs the moon and always has. Now? She has actually articulated that Teagan’s mine and she’s Matt’s… to which I reply:

    “Honey, both of you are my girls. Both of you are Daddy’s girls. Daddy and me? We SHARE.” :)

  8. My daughter is constantly switching who her favorite parent is. The majority of the time it is me(yay me!) but she does have times where she prefers her father. The times she prefers her father is both hard on me but also a relief in a way. I find it hard because of that little green eyed monster called jealousy. The times that she prefers me are the times when she constantly clinging to me and I find it hard to get anything done, that’s the reason I enjoy the times when she wants no one but her father!

    • I so know what you mean. We are fickle people, aren’t we? When they are all over us, we wish that they would go spend time with their father, and when they are having a blast with their father, we feel left out. Silly us!
      Laura recently posted..RoarMy Profile

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