We all know that sometimes life just isn’t fair. Family relations aren’t either. As a sibling, you can be the perfect child and still be the least favorite, and vice versa. As an in-law, you may be loved but you’ll always be an outsider where tides can change quickly with every comment uttered. It’s just how it is. Even though I know these things, I am completely bewildered at the fact that my son is a Daddy’s boy.
I have to confess that I am genuinely sad about this.
I mean, if life is fair, then whoever puts forth the most effort should be the favored parent, right? So moms, at least with toddlers, have a pretty good head start with the whole pregnancy thing. For me, I spent 9 months vomiting and largely bedridden carrying him after enduring months of painful shots and fertility treatment. Then I went through a horrible birth and fought like hellen to nurse him until he weaned. I gave up any notion of a career to focus on loving and rearing this child. Yet the child is a cotton-picking Daddy’s boy. My ONLY child prefers him over me. I feel immature for even being disappointed about this.
I’ve been trying to think of why this may be. I know that of the two of us, I am the main disciplinarian. I mean what I say and follow through with it every single time. I have eyes in the back of my head. The Hubs, because of his laid-back personality and because he is tired when he gets home, he doesn’t discipline either because he is not being diligent or because he doesn’t feel like it and ignores it. He does follow through if I prompt him, which is a system we started after we realized that I do not always need to be the “bad guy” in Nathan’s eyes.
We talked about the fact that I am home with Nathan all the time, and C is not, so Nathan just misses him. Yet when I do leave for whatever reason, he hardly notices my departure except for when he wants something and I’m not there. When he comes home, he greets me but resumes whatever he was doing. When C comes home, Nathan runs up to him and demands his attention. When C leaves, he cries and has a tantrum. When Nathan wakes up, he asks for his Daddy. I hate to admit this but that kind-of hurts me a little bit. I just never expected to be the least favorite parent before.
I know part of my feelings is because of my own history and desire to for once feel completely, unconditionally loved and part of a family. It hurts me and I feel like he is rejecting me for his Dad. That is just something that I need to get over and move past. The rest is just because I don’t feel appreciated. I need to work on changing my view to realizing that my sense of appreciation should come from seeing my healthy, smart, confident son be who he is.
I am taking time each day to teach Nathan skills that he’ll use the rest of his life. I spend my days focused on keeping my house as well-run as possible and acting as the glue that holds our little family together, making tons of wonderful memories in the process. My hubby knows that he has a phenomenal wife, even if I have bad health days, and that I am an even better mommy to our little boy. He loves that I have the ‘old-fashion’ skills like cooking, sewing, gardening, canning, couponing, and can make our own bath, cleaning, and laundry soap. I am definitely appreciated, even if no one says a word about it.The fact that Nathan is a daddy’s boy doesn’t have a thing to do with my being a good mommy or not.
The only source of comforting information that I can find about it is that many babies whose mothers did attachment parenting end up with confident children. Over the last two years, Nathan has been constantly reassured that I am always just a step away from him if he needs me, even if he can’t see me at the moment. When I am with him, I am actively engaged in a positive way with him. He picks up on this and thrives. I read that parents leaving their child in the care of another person creates anxiety in the child because babies and toddlers are meant to be with their parents or mom in those early years. It also happens even with at-home moms if the mom just goes through the motions of motherhood because of depression or otherwise doesn’t fully engage with their child in a positive, reassuring manner. (It can happen for lots of reasons, those are just a few of them). So when the parent is reunited with the child, he wants their full attention and will get very upset whenever they leave because he is not confident that they’ll return whenever he feels like he needs them.
That certainly fits our case, so I guess it is one possibility. I may never know why I have a Daddy’s boy, and that is ok. I just wanted to write out how I am feeling, baring my faults and all, to see if it makes me feel any better. I think I feel a little bit better about it now. 🙂