So as of yet, we have no second child. Unbeknownst to me, I have had hypothyroidism probably since the birth of Mr. Personality, which made it fairly impossible to conceive. That makes me mad, because I could have been having twice as much fun without having to worry about anything. But I'm off the subject here. When and if I have a second child, I pray that I will not fall victim to a strange phenomenon of motherhood that I have seen time and time again in families that I know. I am talking about the tendency to give the most attention, praise, and effort to the least "deserving" of the children.
Before you get all huffy, let me illuminate from my personal experiences.
My own grandmother is victim to this peculiar blindness that seems to strike mothers. My uncle, my father's brother, is an ass. That is putting it kindly. He thinks of no one but himself, what is most convenient for him is how he runs his life. His father's birthday party? He's got a bike ride scheduled, sorry, can't make it. This is not an uncommon occurence, by the way. Bike rides apparently are more important than most of our family's events. A couple years ago, he told the other end of the table that the present that Hubba-hubba was currently opening was something he had found that morning in the bottom of his closet. He thinks it is perfectly fine to bring his floozy of the month uninvited to family parties when he does bother to show up. My grandparents loaned him money to buy out his ex-wife's share of their house, and has never paid them back, despite owning a rather sucessful business. His son, who we suspect is a bit of a pothead, is "forced" to appear only at certain events, which did not even include my grandparents 60th anniversary party. I think I have seen him 4 times in the past ten years. And this past Christmas, he got my three year old son a shoe cleaner. Yes, a shoe cleaner, the kind that has little bristles and you put it outside your door.
As I said, the man is an ass.
Yet, who does she go to vist at his workplace once a week for lunch, which is farther away than anybody else's residence or place of business? Yup.
Who has she helped paint his house, re-do his kitchen, and used to come and clean his house for him? Yup.
Who does she call daily? Yup.
Who did she defend when I told her I did not feel comfortable with him bringing his strange women around my then-newborn? Yup.
Who does she worry about, fret over, and generally smother? Yup.
But it is my father who goes to her house to re-wire her kitchen for speakers and dig out old planters, who sets up her cable and DVD players and such, who gave a toast at their 60th as my uncle sat without a word with his unknown date, and goes to her house at least once a month just to visit?
My father has mentioned how this has hurt and bewildered him a bit.
The same thing can be said for my mother-in-law. Without going into gory details, my husband is the only one of four sons who does not have an arrest record and jail time, who has never had a debilitating chemical addiction, who has never stolen from his mother, and who has never been helped financially by his mother for one thing.
Yet who does his mother treat with the most indifference? Yup.
Obviously, Hubba-hubba is a bit miffed.
Don't get me wrong, the fathers are also to blame. But if a mother wants to coddle a grown child, there is not too much the husband can do about it. So in my two personal examples, they just pretty much go along for the ride.
When our children are young, we reward them for good behavior and punish them for bad. Why, for some women, does this reverse when their children grow up?
I am just praying that this is not a genetic trait.