“mommy’s my favourite” and anyone else is chopped liver

Sometimes I wish I could be straight JUST because it would be easy to fall back on gender roles to explain away inequities in my relationship. The big issue right now is my wife being second favourite to our daughter. Actually, third favourite – she says “mommy’s my favourite, Albus [the cat] is my favourite buddy.” My wife has been met with avoidant behaviour from our daughter the last month or so. She gets home from work and Avery cringes and hits her if she goes in for a hug, and becomes INSANELY clingy to me. It’s really hard, and really sad. Can’t imagine how hard and sad it is for my wife.

But in hetero relationships, we’ve heard that it’s common for the kids to want nothing to do with the dads for a good long time. It’s easy when it’s a matter of moms versus dads. Women are so often primary caregivers, and men are socialized to not care if their kids go to their mother for every booboo and request. It’s what’s normal.

I think what’s happening with my wife and daughter IS normal, to an extent, but it’s hard to see it that way when our daughter wants one mom so much more than the other mom. We’re both moms – but our roles are as different as any opposite-sex couple out there.

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17 thoughts on ““mommy’s my favourite” and anyone else is chopped liver

  1. I think the hetero relationship/family you describe is more of a traditional relationship/family. And, it sure isn’t my family. M. MPB does at least 50% of the basic baby and toddler care and nearly all the cooking. Truthfully he probably does at least 60% of toddler care. He also is hurt when Little MPB chooses me over him, just like I’m hurt when Mommy isn’t allowed. But Little MPB goes through phases and we both understand that is part of his development. Right now daddy has to do bedtimes but ‘only mommy does’ tasks, like getting milk, carrying him when he wants up, etc.
    I also grew up in a hetero family like this, where parents shared roles and both were equal parents. And I like to think this type of family is more common today then it was when I was growing up.

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    • You’re absolutely right. It’s what I see in families who follow those traditional gender roles where the father works long hours outside of the home and the mother stays home with the kids. I’m realizing more and more than it’s normal for kids to have favourites, and change favourites as the mood strikes them!

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  2. This choosing of one parent over the other is normal and who is the Chosen One will change and vary back and forth. It will also change based on what the specific circumstance is. My statement is based not only from hetero relationships but also same gender ones where children are part of a family. Take a deep breath and ensure the ‘temporarily out of favor’ parent gets to take the child on some special outings … like the park or store or whatever and then be patient and remember to not have your feelings hurt when the adoration changes. This process is part of learning about manipulation and also the “my best friend” and who can “join the game” stuff that happens at school. Yes it is painful at the time it occurs but it passes in normal circumstances. I PROMISE.
    This is a time for a long haul view of life.
    It is also important in terms of learning that we can love more than one person and that one person can love us as well as others without diminishing the love for us. Every candle lit increases the light in the world story. Having a new sibling does not mean there is less love for us, but another person exists to love us. etc etc etc. Hang in and thank you for sharing and posting.
    May your holidays be filled with laughter, love, joy, family and peace!

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    • Thank you! I’ve been stepping out to “run errands” in the evenings when my wife gets home lately. Avery stands at the door screaming “mommy’s my favourite!!” When I leave, but then she gets to have a pleasant evening of bonding with her other mother.

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  3. I agree it’s very normal and it hurts. Since my embryo transfer I haven’t been allowed to pick up Dalton so he’s been acting out, on the other hand my hubby has been doing more picking him up so right now hubby is the favorite… It changes though sometimes it changed daily, hourly, and by the moment or activity. He’ll bring me a book first but he’ll bring daddy his blocks first. Hugs for you both

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  4. Yup it’s super normal, but as you say that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Extra one on one with kid and the less preferred parent has been our go to and that helps mitigate done of the behavior. When my wife is gone, Linnea is perfectly happy and loving with me. When Leah is around, Linnea is kind of a shit. 😀

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  5. I feel this so much. We had crazy struggles with the preferred parent issues over the last few months. Things are just barely starting to equalize the tiniest bit. Val is actually asleep with Charlotte now, which hasn’t happened when I’m home in longer than I can even remember. We’ve been making a major effort to make sure the two of them have alone time every week. I’ve been going to the library on Tuesday and Thursday nights and staying until closing while Val does books, bath, and bedtime. It seems to be helping.

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    • I wish I could screenshot a convo I had with a mom friend via text this morning. She and her wife have two sons and I was checking in to see how normal this is. It’s SO sad for my wife. Our daughter can be so cruel to her. We’re trying to figure out how to manage bedtime with two of us and two kids, but the toddler will NOT let Mama put her to bed. Sometimes she won’t even tell her goodnight or give a hug/kiss. I constantly wonder if it is the same for hetero couples, if I’m at fault for creating a super close bond with our daughter, if my wife is at fault for being away from home so much more, if it’s just our kid’s personality, and when it will end. I also selfishly fear the pendulum swinging the other direction, because my heart will break if she ever treats me the way she treats her Mama. This sh*+ is hard.

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    • Sorry you’re experiencing this too! We’re trying having me leave the house too. It’s a good tactic for now, but I hope we’ll be able to be equal in the same room one day…

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  6. This would be so hard for both you and your wife. I am sure you are handling it the best way possible. We haven’t hit this dynamic yet but I can’t imagine how hard it would be to deal with!! I hope for both of you sakes it passes quickly!!

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  7. I feel this so much! Ansel will tell Laurie he doesn’t love her or only loves me or whatever super hurtful thing, and even though he’ll sometimes also say lovely things and he also clearly does love her, it stings. Angus clearly has a preference for her over me, although it shows up differently because of age. I think it’s very common for kids to have a preference for the parent that gave birth and /or nursed them, or other factors. Doesn’t make it suck any less, but I do think it changes over time and is likely to all but disappear.

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    • It’s so hard. I feel so bad for my wife. And it kind of feels like this push and pull – like I’m being asked to try to distance myself or make my bond with her less strong so there’s room for their bond to strengthen. Can’t wait for it to change over time! Hope it does for you too!

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