Research shows Beyoncé may like one of her twins more
Unless you don't have a head, you've likely heard that Queen B is pregnant with not one beybey, but two. The Internet is going crazy over the very happy news. What you may not be aware of, head or no, is that while she'll undoubtedly love them both, she may very well like one of her kids a bit more. Spoiler alert: most moms do. Yes, including yours.
Most parents would deny it if asked point blank, but a lot of research supports what one controversial mom admitted to on Nappy Valley, an online motherhood forum. In what reads like a hand-wringing confession, the anonymous mother says "I like one of my children more than the other." She punctuates the statement with a sad face emoji then goes on to voice her concerns about providing equal care to both of her kids when she has a clear favourite. Something which actually makes her a pretty good mom (or mum, she's in the UK). But these conflicting emotions of motherhood are not hers alone. Many Nappy Valley mothers readily echoed her feelings and science has their backs.
The truth is, mom probably has a favourite. Dad, even more so. More often than not, parents favour a child. And it's usually the first-born. Maybe that puts both of Bey's twin bundles on equal footing after her eldest. Side note, faves aside, have we all wondered how awesome it would be to have Beyoncé as a mom? I'm lucky though, my mom was pretty epic. I never felt unloved. Then again, as the second born, the sparsity of my pics in the family photo album might be telling. Also, is it weird that I still think I'm the favourite?
Still, findings from the University of California showed a whopping 70 per cent of mothers and 74 per cent of fathers boldly admit to having a preferred progeny. That's a big majority. Of the 384 two-parent families studied, all had two kids and all were born within a four year window. While the parents never specified which child they favoured, study results point to the older child being the apple of mom (or dad's) eye. Younger children reported perceived preferential treatment of their older siblings, something that negatively affected their self-esteem. I'm no scientist but I do offer that older brothers or sisters being able to stay up later, stay out later, drive first and date first may all be perceived incorrectly by a younger child as "special treatment". The study doesn't cover that but it's hard to go to bed when the sun's still up and everybody else is still watching Full House. The stats, however, are clear: there's usually a preferred human in the brood.
Though evidence for parental favouritism is compelling, it may also be a moving target. Dr. Ellen Weber Libby says the object of parental affection can change, and frequently. Even "hourly or daily, monthly or yearly." It all has to do with personality and parental stages. "Adults, based on their own personalities, have preferences for parenting children with particular interests or at different developmental stages." As kids grow and have similar interests to mom or dad, new rapports are made. In the end, different kids might "have their turn at being the favourite" depending on how much they have in common with either parent. But the winds of favour also change when mom or dad prefer parenting a toddler over a teenager, or vice versa. Something which may alleviate any anxious parents who've been eyeing one of their kids less favourably lately. The Christmas I spent smashing my mother's antique ornaments likely garnered me no brownie points. I was three, but it probably left a stain on my record.
The difficult truth may be that we often love our families without always liking them. It's an important distinction and something of a topical mainstay in the psychologist's office. And it's a worthwhile thing for families to talk about. Alleviating the guilt of otherwise healthy parents (and kids) out there is a welcome thing. So while the unconditional love of mom and dad may stand in most cases, we can't bank on their unconditional like. And that goes both ways. Good parents though will take care of their loin fruit (sorry) regardless of interests and growing pains. Communicating the many difficult emotions of parenting (and being parented) on forums, or in the closed chambers of a trusted counselor, will only improve our understanding of healthy parenting psychology. And it'll make for better families too.
No doubt, Beyoncé, already an incredible mother (why would she parent any less incredibly than she does anything else?), will continue to be when her twins greet the world (which hopefully we're fortifying the Internet for well before her due date). Everything she touches turns to gold. Same goes for Hova. I'd be surprised if that doesn't extend to their kids. Although I'd imagine some conflict if the kids don't like music.
I called my mom as I was writing this piece and asked her if she had a favourite between my older sister and I. She paused then said, "no favourites, you're both so different, that's what I love about you — you each have talents, you each have faults." That we do. I let her off the hook.
Then she told me to get back to work. Yup. Ok, bye. Love you, mom.
Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen.