Apologies in advance for the overthinking enclosed within…
This weekend, on our family trip to DC, a painful truth emerged. Margo is a Daddy’s girl.
Not like “oh, whatever, I love my daddy”, but more like “NO! I don’t WANT Mommy, I want Daddy to do (my hair, get me out of the carseat, wipe my butt, etc).” I mean, I’m cool handing off the butt wiping and little things… it’s just awkward for me to feel pushed out. I wouldn’t say she even showed a preference… maybe one day she was more keen on one of us but never a lingering pro-Mommy or Daddy preference. I always was really thankful for that, and hopeful it would stick.
Part of me blames the marathon, which put me in the position of having to be off running while Daddy & Margo bonded. I also know that Scott is this fount of patience, and I’m just not. I know I need to work on that; he’s the fun one.
And then I start getting all mad at myself that I always end up playing with her “and”… meaning if we’re in the playroom doing an activity, I’ll duck into the laundry room to start a load or fold last night’s load. Or if we’re coloring together downstairs I’ll duck into the kitchen and start making dinner or throw some dishes in the dishwasher. She rarely has my undivided attention. She almost always has Scott’s when they’re hanging out. I think that’s a normal mom-problem, but I hate it. (And honestly, I’m not sure when those little things would get done if I didn’t do them sporadically throughout the night, or that it wouldn’t contribute to an overall high-stress Jamie if I waited till she was in bed.)
Part of this is our difference in approach, which might be something we need to address. I don’t want a child that I need to entertain constantly, and I’m welcoming her budding ability to entertain herself while I take care of something else. I encourage her to do stuff herself. Scott’s not *opposite* of those things, but I think I’m a little more “hard core” about it and she’s starting to sense that, perhaps.
In any event, I’m starting to feel like mean, lame mom to Scott’s cool, funny dad. It sucks. I’m trying to be more present, we’re trying to navigate things we can do together to give me the chance to re-bond with my kid. Me and Margo had some good times this week, but it’s mostly when I pick her up from school and Scott’s not there; if there’s ever a “choice,” Scott’s the pick. I’m hoping (oh, God am I hoping) this is a phase and it’ll pass soon. This morning it sort of all came to a head; I was trying to get her ready while Scott got ready & made her breakfast. She wouldn’t. listen. to. me at all. And the more serious I became, the more it was “Daaaaddy, Daddddy.” And the more she did that, the more I got sort of upset, which didn’t do me any favors in the likeability category. Not a great start to a day.
How do I mend our relationship? Wait it out? Give her space or push for more “bonding opportunities?” Or just buck up and realize this is a parenting lesson and we’ll have these times…I’d love to hear about others’ experiences & advice!
& thanks for listening (reading)