Most kids go through phases where they prefer one parent over the other. Some stay in those phases for years, and might always have more affection for one parent than the other. In my case, my husband has always been my son’s favorite parent.
And honestly, sometimes that hurts.
Yes, he is 3 years old and doesn’t mean to be hurtful. Toddlers aren’t afraid to be brutally honest, and the honest truth is that he just likes Daddy better than me. Most of the time, I brush it off and ignore it because I know he loves me. My daughter went through a similar phase, and now, at 6, she doesn’t show a preference for either parent. But when I’m tired or I’ve had a bad day, my toddler’s words hurt.
For example, my husband and I take turns reading books to each kid. On the nights that it’s my turn to read to my toddler, there is almost always crying and yelling. “I don’t want Mama! I want Daddy to read books!” Most times, I stay calm and try to distract him and he gets over it and lets me read to him, but after a stressful day at work, I sometimes give in and opt out of my turn to read him books. A couple of times, I’ve opted to take the dog for a walk instead and left my husband to deal with both kids.
While I know this won’t last forever, it makes me sad to think that my son feels this way about me.
As soon as I found out I was having a boy, I heard all about how boys tend to prefer their moms, but that hasn’t happened for me. Is it me? I know it’s probably not, but there are times when I ask myself what I’m doing wrong to make him feel this way.
We’ve tried explaining to my toddler that it’s hurtful when he yells “I don’t like Mama!” but I just don’t know that he is mature enough to really understand that. And so I will continue to try and remain unaffected by his words while accepting that it’s okay to walk away sometimes.
If you’ve gone through your kids having a favorite parent, what advice do you have?