August 4, 2008

A Mothers Conundrum

When parenting dilemmas arise - when to potty train, who gets to give the 3 a.m. bottle, how to explain "gentle" to a six-month-old - Rob and I are usually able to hash things out pretty easily. But when a dilemma arises that doesn't seem to have an immediate answer or quick fix, we're left at a dead-end road. What do you do when you have two children under the age of three who refuse their dads comfort at nearly every turn and go running to mommy at the drop of a hat?

When he tries to tickle Beth or joke around with her, which he's done since she was born and she used to love, she starts whining and fake crying, yelling out for and running to me. It's only been in the last few months that she's turned this corner and it's really weird! I know she's three and at this age they're prone to parental preference still but it doesn't stop it from really sucking for Rob. He loves that little girl to pieces, would lasso the moon and stars for her if she asked, and brags to everyone he knows about what a great kid she is...and she's a giant turd in the punchbowl. I don't know how to turn this around. My heart really aches for him; I couldn't imagine having my own child reject my affection!

And the baby? Just as bad but in a non-verbal way. If I leave for fifteen minutes - hell, if I leave for FIVE minutes - he's a screaming snotty mess. I mean he's in an all-out meltdown. Rob tries everything: rocking him, bouncing him, doing the things we know makes him laugh, bottle, snack, toys, singing. NOTHING WORKS. I walk in the door and he stops crying, stops sobbing, stops all the waterworks and starts smiling again. How crushing that must be! And we both know it's because he's a baby and babies almost always prefer their moms, especially when the mom is a SAHM and the dad is gone from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m.

He gets really bummed out about it and I don't blame him a bit. It's frustrating for me, too, because when one kid needs me the other will inevitably find some reason to start screaming. I get angry at Rob for not helping even though I know there's nothing he can do to calm either child and then he gets mad at me (understandably) and it's just a really crappy cycle.

Someone please tell me that the kids will snap out of it. That my husband won't be walking around like Eeyore because "nobody cares about an old grey donkey."


Anonymous said...

In my experience this will only change if you let/force your husband to take a more active role in parenting the kids. When he is home he should be putting them to bed or feeding them. Sure sure, he worked all day, but him being responsible for certain needs will cause the children to look towards him for those comforts. Happy parenting!

Darcie said...

The thing is, he regularly gives the baby his last bottle of the night and sits with him until he falls asleep. Many times, countless really, he's put Beth to bed too. The only things he really doesn't do is change diapers.


Denise said...

I think it will change as the kids get older. Sometimes DD is like that with DH. It breaks my heart and it breaks his too. Last night we were at my mom's house and she didn't want him to hold her, only me. I kept letting him try but she kept reaching for me. He took it personally. I tried to tell him it isn't him, but it hurt his feelers. :( That wasn't a one time thing either - it happens a lot. :(

I wish I had advice but I don't. All I can think of is that we are home with the kids more so there is more of a bond to us?? I read recently that it will change and to give it time and not take it personally. I guess it's hard to not take it personally when you are the parent that is "rejected" so-to-speak.

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