Anonymous

Dad is his favorite... and it’s clear why

I’m a SAHM to a 2 year old. For the past month he’s been acting like this: When dad is home, he acts like he’s deathly afraid of me. Prefers dad to change his diaper, hold him or cuddle with him. Dad has to persuade him to let me do stuff for him (change his diaper, bath, etc). When dad isn’t home, it’s normal. Since I’m home with him all day and even when dad is home - I do all the childcare (includes medicine giving, sucking snot out, saline drops, cutting nails, cleaning ears, teeth brushing... all the things kids hate) and disciplining (mini time outs, saying no, taking him away from all the “fun” but dangerous stuff). I do raise my voice with him some times when I shout “stop” and “no” or “that’s bad”. So I get why he doesn’t like me. I feel like when we are by ourselves he just tolerates me until dad gets home. I take him out to fun places and the parks. Dad never likes to take him out because he’s so drained from work. I enjoyed the break for a little bit but now it’s becoming heartbreaking. I talked to my husband about taking part more in the disciplining but he never follows through on what he says. Also on his days off.. we never seem to leave the house. I try to get him to go out with us together as a family but it’s always complaint after complaint (from my husband) so I gave up on that. Since our home is babyproofed for our son, he is never in an environment where he needs to listen to us. So where does my husband get his chance to be anything but the fun and kind parent? Just ranting and also hoping to hear that this is just a very short phase. I don’t think I can take several years of this before he starts to appreciate what I do for him.

  • Rebecca
    Jan 04

    I would say it’s a phase. I saw the opposite happen with my 2 year old. I am home with her all day. And when dad comes home she would hate anything to do with him. Only wanted me. I would say just give him time don’t pressure him and he will come around. Things are better now at least now for us dad is able to help out. So take it for what it is ... a break for you to do something of your own perhaps.

  • Ligia
    Jan 04

    I was having the same issue here with my 2 yo son. Then I realized I was trapped in the SAHM routine and wasn’t giving him the right attention. You know, I was taking real good care of him but wasn’t bonding with him. I used to take him to the park but wasn’t really there, it was like I was just observing and not participating. I don’t know if this is also your case but it was very hard for me to accept this. If you think this might be the reason, try to bond with your child, I mean, to really create a connection with him through things he enjoys the most. Listen to him, talk to him and try to be his friend as if you were his age. This helped me and things are now better than before.

  • Pad
    Jan 05

    Marriage Counseling

  • Anonymous
    Jan 05

    It’s totally a phase and he will likely go through this a couple of times, switching preference back and forth. I know it’s very hurtful but really try not to take it personally. I don’t know how to help with the issue with your husband. I get that he’s beat after working but it sounds like he’s being unreasonable. Keep trying to talk to him about it and when he’s home you should start going out by yourself so he has to be the responsible one for a while. Also my husband wouldn’t ever take our son to the park until he got old enough to start asking to be taken. Then he didn’t have a choice and now he likes going and does it often.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 05

    Thank you for your responses. The whole issue with my husband is a separate one that I’ve honestly just come to terms with. It’s upsetting and frustrating some times but yeah.. whatever. My post was meant to focus on my toddler who favors dad who doesn’t even do much with him in general. I am very involved in his play. I know I can improve on it though. I do check out a bit when he’s doing his own thing at the park and especially when there are other kids at the park. Part of me wonders if my son is acting this way to get his dad more involved with him.. If it’s a cry for attention from dad.

  • T
    Jan 05

    I would enroll in you and your son in a couple of parent participation classes like gymnastics, etc and you leave the house when your husband is home. Get up early, get ready, and leave to have some alone time, friend time, and self care. Then, your husband has to participate in the not fun stuff or neglect your son. Don’t just go for an hour. Plan an all day or weekend trip. Make sure you’re gone for naps and bed time routine.

  • T
    Jan 05

    I wouldn’t be aggressive or passive aggressive about it. Explain to both of them that you have plans and they get to spend the day together. It’s a statement. Not a fight or you begging or asking for permission. You are a grown woman...you do not need to ask for permission.

  • Megan
    Jan 05

    My daughter does this in phases. Some times she only wants me (I’m a stay at home mom too) and it’s bitter sweet cause I need a break when dad gets home. But when she is in her dad phase I get sad. If she gets hurt or scared and wants dad to hold her not me. I just try to enjoy the phases as much as possible. Especially her loving on her dad. He is deploying soon for the first time since she’s been born so I know they both desperately need this time while he is here. But I do notice she clings more to who doesn’t discipline her at the moment or make her do something she doesn’t want to. My husband and I still have to fight to be on the same page. But we never question a punishment or give in when the other parent says no when she is around. Cause even though she’s little, she knows how to get away with asking the other parent if one says no. It’s way more of me and my husband having to stay on the same page. Also if I discipline her, I’m the some who gets her out of her punishment and talks to her and loves on her before my husband gets to, and vice versa. That way neither one of us is solely the bad guy.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 05

    @T - yeah I guess I need to force the time alone with dad. I’ve done it before but it’s hard for me to stay away for more than a couple of hours. I’ll work on it! Thank you. @Megan - I think that might be contributing to the issue. I’m the one disciplining and if dad is around he goes in to save the day because he thinks I’m being too harsh. I’ve talked to my husband about this before and he’s been a little better about it. Right now he lets me end the punishment but he’s always standing close by so my son runs to him before I get to give hugs. I’ll tell him to just go away from now on!

  • Anonymous
    Jan 05

    My 19 month old does this. I am also a SAHM, my husband kind of makes guest appearances in her life; because in the mornings we go to mommy and me classes, and many times my husband gets home past her bed time. When she sees him it’s like a celebrity walked in the room and she totally forgets about me, won’t even let me carry her; (but I will admit this is kind of my fault, when she was younger I used to celebrate my husband’s arrival, because at first she didn’t want him to hold her at all, and I know it used to make him sad. So eventually she started celebrating too) When they play I try to join in, but she really isn’t very interested in me joining in. I think they don’t have a chance to miss us, we are always there; and yes we are stuck doing all the grunge work. I’d love to only be able to offer fun time, but someone has to keep them safe. I know it’s not that I’ve fallen into a routine with my daughter because Im always playing with her, dancing with her, and overall looking for ways to stimulate her. I think (more like hope) it’s a phase and it will pass; at least that’s what I’ve been told.

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Jan 06

    I really think it’s a phase. Honestly kids need and respond to routine and limits, and it probably has nothing to do with your differences in parenting. Hang in there. Try to just keep being the parent you want to be for him and let dad figure out his own path. It’s going to be slower because he spends less time with him. You are awesome, Mom!