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Reality Check: Odd Parent Out

Q. My 16-month- old clings to my stay-at-home hubby and pushes me away when I get home from work. I hate feeling jealous. What should I do?

Try not to take it personally. Just because your daughter's not greeting you with a "Welcome home, Mommy!" when you walk in the door doesn't mean she doesn't love you. It just means that right now, your child prefers the person who spends the day feeding her and wiping her behind. It's both normal and temporary. A toddler will tend to favor one caretaker over the other -- usually the one who can find her pink princess shoes on command.

Whatever the reason, recognize that this, too, like projectile vomiting and Pull-Ups, shall pass. If you walk in the door anticipating "No, I want Daddy!" she'll sense your anxiety and turn up the volume on the rejection (dogs and bees aren't the only ones who can smell fear). And if you show your resentment with her dad in front of her, she might act up even more. For your child's sake, be the bigger person: Hug her even if she pushes you away and bathe her even if she cries for your husband. (Maybe he can go for a walk so you can have one-on-one time.) You might also try to schedule more fun time for just the two of you, to make sure she knows the other side of Mommy, not just the one who comes home tired every evening. And keep reminding yourself that this is a phase. Soon enough, she'll be showing you the love.

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