Q&A: fear of baby preferring dad over mom

Gah! Technology problems!

Anonymous writes:

"I am the mom of an 8-month old boy. I work full-time, and my husband ismostly a stay-at-home dad. Our situation is pretty great, although I
wish I worked 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5, but that's life, right?
The thing that has come up since I returned to work though is that I've
become surprisingly insecure about whether my son is more attached to
his dad than to me. I hate feeling this insecure and emotionally needy
with my own child and it isn't good for any of us, but I can't help
feeling really afraid that he will be way more into daddy than me. I
know toddlers often go through phases of strongly preferring one parent
over the other, and I'm worried that it's going to be his dad and I
will have a really hard time not taking that personally. I would love
to hear from working moms with stay-at-home husbands who either (a)
feel that their child is very strongly attached to them and can
reassure me a little, or (b) have been through their kid being more
attached to dad but got through it okay. If I'm really honest with
myself, I want more of the reassurance that our situation can still
lead to a very close mother-son bond, but I would like to hear both
perspectives."

I know you know you can have a close relationship with your son. You know he loves you, that he knows you're his mom, and that he's always going to know that.

I know you know plenty of families that have SAH moms and WOH dads in which the kids are very close to their dads.

So it's not about whether you can form a close relationship. It's about your fear of how you're going to handle the different emotional stages your baby goes through if you're not there all day long with him. This is an issue not about your son and his bond with you or your partner, but about your conflict with not being at home with him more.

So that's what you have to work on. Because the readers and I can give you hundreds of data points proving that it's possible (even easy!) to have a great relationship with your kids while working fulltime (and think about all those adults who talk about how close they are to mothers who worked three jobs to feed them and were hardly ever home, so it's clearly not just about facetime), but until you come to terms with how much you're home and how much you're not, you're not going to be able to accept it in your heart.

It makes me hurt for you that this is turning into such an anxiety point for you. I feel like I was lucky when I went back fulltime–it was the only way I could get a divorce, so I knew I had no choice (since divorce was the only way for me to get my kids out of the middle of our toxicity). It doens't sound like you have come to terms with it, though. Is it possible that you feel like there's something different that you could be doing? If there is, you might want to explore whether that's a possibility so you know you've maximized your options.

I don't think it hurts most kids to be apart from their parents all day while their parents are at work. I do think it hurts some parents, though. So you owe it to yourself to figure out a way to be OK (or as OK as you can be) with your home/not home ratio or else there's always going to be some worry point for you.

Any advice or sympathy for Anon? Any reassurance that her son will have a good relationship with her? And ideas for helping make WOH easier on her emotionally?

0 thoughts on “Q&A: fear of baby preferring dad over mom”

  1. Hmm. This may be assvice because I don’t even have kids yet, but from a now-adult daughter’s perspective…I was the oldest of three kids, and my mom went back to work only when I was old enough to keep an eye on the other two after school or whatever if necessary (granted, that was 20 years ago). I still had a good amount of distance between my mom and myself until my early twenties. I honestly think that kids and parents are bound to go through smooth and rough periods with both parents, regardless of who works when. If you can make it to their adulthood and still love to just hang out with them, you’re good. Like Moxie says, it’s definitely not just about facetime.

  2. Hmm. This may be assvice because I don’t even have kids yet, but from a now-adult daughter’s perspective…I was the oldest of three kids, and my mom went back to work only when I was old enough to keep an eye on the other two after school or whatever if necessary (granted, that was 20 years ago). I still had a good amount of distance between my mom and myself until my early twenties. I honestly think that kids and parents are bound to go through smooth and rough periods with both parents, regardless of who works when. If you can make it to their adulthood and still love to just hang out with them, you’re good. Like Moxie says, it’s definitely not just about facetime.

  3. Oh boy can I ever sympathize! I was in exactly the same situation…at about 8 months I went back to school full time, and my husband stayed home with our daughter. I was mostly worried that she’d be mad at me for leaving and ‘punish’ me by avoiding me when I got home (sort of like the cat tends to do), but instead I got to be the cool & fun parent and she got excited about me coming home. It did make it very hard to ever go out anywhere in the evening because that was my only chance to spend time with her and I didn’t want to miss it. Things worked out so that I’d get home, then take over all things baby-related while my husband cooked dinner…he needed a break and I needed some baby-time.She finally got a spot in daycare at 18 months, so my husband went back to work, and now we’re smack dab in the middle of a “mommy-do-it” phase where anything daddy does is wrong and only mommy will do. I know my husband is having a bit of a rough time with that. I think it is just a phase though, and an effort to exert some sort of control over her environment.
    I’d suggest working towards some really solid routines with your son. I remember that routines were really rough for me around 8 months, but now that we’re at 2.5 years we’ve got a really nice bedtime routine that I enjoy (well…most of the time…when she’s not being totally nuts and refusing to sleep…but when it is good it is really really good) and it is our special time together. I’ve got these really awesome memories of my dad (who was really never around) putting me to bed as a kid and making up crazy stories for me about going on adventures to other planets…and that’s a much stronger memory for me than the bits where he just wasn’t around much. So I think it is quality rather than quantity you’re aiming for here…and you’ll be just fine.

  4. Oh boy can I ever sympathize! I was in exactly the same situation…at about 8 months I went back to school full time, and my husband stayed home with our daughter. I was mostly worried that she’d be mad at me for leaving and ‘punish’ me by avoiding me when I got home (sort of like the cat tends to do), but instead I got to be the cool & fun parent and she got excited about me coming home. It did make it very hard to ever go out anywhere in the evening because that was my only chance to spend time with her and I didn’t want to miss it. Things worked out so that I’d get home, then take over all things baby-related while my husband cooked dinner…he needed a break and I needed some baby-time.She finally got a spot in daycare at 18 months, so my husband went back to work, and now we’re smack dab in the middle of a “mommy-do-it” phase where anything daddy does is wrong and only mommy will do. I know my husband is having a bit of a rough time with that. I think it is just a phase though, and an effort to exert some sort of control over her environment.
    I’d suggest working towards some really solid routines with your son. I remember that routines were really rough for me around 8 months, but now that we’re at 2.5 years we’ve got a really nice bedtime routine that I enjoy (well…most of the time…when she’s not being totally nuts and refusing to sleep…but when it is good it is really really good) and it is our special time together. I’ve got these really awesome memories of my dad (who was really never around) putting me to bed as a kid and making up crazy stories for me about going on adventures to other planets…and that’s a much stronger memory for me than the bits where he just wasn’t around much. So I think it is quality rather than quantity you’re aiming for here…and you’ll be just fine.

  5. Ah, yes. I went through this, too. I worked full-time and my husband was a full-time SAHD from the time my daughter was 12 weeks old until I was laid off last fall (when she was 21 months old). And I did worry about whether she would become more attached to my husband than to me, especially since I wasn’t breastfeeding and so there really wasn’t anything I could provide that my husband couldn’t. (I know, it sounds crazy now! But that was what I thought!) But I grew to realize that my daughter really knew the difference between mommy and daddy, and that we each had a special, separate relationship with her. It may feel like there’s no way you can “compete” with your husband (and yes, we all know it’s not a competition, but it can feel that way!), especially if you’re coming home every night with barely enough time to feed your son and put him to bed, but there are things he gets from you that he doesn’t–or can’t–get from dad. I think that became clearer to me when my daughter became more verbal and caring for and relating to her became about more than just the keep-baby-alive mechanics of feed/dress/cuddle/bathe that you have in the first months. As she became more of a person, and parenting became less physical and more emotional, I could see that my husband and I each provided different types of nurturing, and that she really needed both.In terms of the phases of being attached to one parent or the other, it will flip back and forth. Believe it or not, there will be a time when you will secretly wish your son would go to your husband for five minutes so you could get a freakin’ break! We went through a major mommy phase recently and my husband was actually hurt that she was SO attached to me, considering how much time he had spent with her. (And then it flipped again…)

  6. Ah, yes. I went through this, too. I worked full-time and my husband was a full-time SAHD from the time my daughter was 12 weeks old until I was laid off last fall (when she was 21 months old). And I did worry about whether she would become more attached to my husband than to me, especially since I wasn’t breastfeeding and so there really wasn’t anything I could provide that my husband couldn’t. (I know, it sounds crazy now! But that was what I thought!) But I grew to realize that my daughter really knew the difference between mommy and daddy, and that we each had a special, separate relationship with her. It may feel like there’s no way you can “compete” with your husband (and yes, we all know it’s not a competition, but it can feel that way!), especially if you’re coming home every night with barely enough time to feed your son and put him to bed, but there are things he gets from you that he doesn’t–or can’t–get from dad. I think that became clearer to me when my daughter became more verbal and caring for and relating to her became about more than just the keep-baby-alive mechanics of feed/dress/cuddle/bathe that you have in the first months. As she became more of a person, and parenting became less physical and more emotional, I could see that my husband and I each provided different types of nurturing, and that she really needed both.In terms of the phases of being attached to one parent or the other, it will flip back and forth. Believe it or not, there will be a time when you will secretly wish your son would go to your husband for five minutes so you could get a freakin’ break! We went through a major mommy phase recently and my husband was actually hurt that she was SO attached to me, considering how much time he had spent with her. (And then it flipped again…)

  7. Wow, Moxie. The link you made to OP’s real issue is amazing. Didn’t see that coming at all. Totally agree that the best bet is to work through the inner conflict of not being at home with him more. Tough work, but worth every effort I think.I have total sympathy for the OP. We’re about to start daycare (with me back at work full time in a job with travel – yay, but also not-yay), and if you insert ‘day care provider’ for Dad, I must admit I am a little unsure about how I’m going to handle it emotionally.
    So needless to say, I’ll be reading the comments with interest.
    When a friend of mine went back to work, she wore a bracelet with her little guy’s name on it. She found it comforting to have a connection and little reminder of her son, who was back home with Dad, that she could glance at whenever she needed it during the day. I was fortunate to get the same bracelet from this friend with my son’s name on it, and plan on putting it to the test.
    The only other idea that strikes me (if OP can’t change the at home/away from home ratio is to have a weekly activity/outing/whatever with her son on the weekend. Just the two of them. The whole quality over quantity thing.

  8. Wow, Moxie. The link you made to OP’s real issue is amazing. Didn’t see that coming at all. Totally agree that the best bet is to work through the inner conflict of not being at home with him more. Tough work, but worth every effort I think.I have total sympathy for the OP. We’re about to start daycare (with me back at work full time in a job with travel – yay, but also not-yay), and if you insert ‘day care provider’ for Dad, I must admit I am a little unsure about how I’m going to handle it emotionally.
    So needless to say, I’ll be reading the comments with interest.
    When a friend of mine went back to work, she wore a bracelet with her little guy’s name on it. She found it comforting to have a connection and little reminder of her son, who was back home with Dad, that she could glance at whenever she needed it during the day. I was fortunate to get the same bracelet from this friend with my son’s name on it, and plan on putting it to the test.
    The only other idea that strikes me (if OP can’t change the at home/away from home ratio is to have a weekly activity/outing/whatever with her son on the weekend. Just the two of them. The whole quality over quantity thing.

  9. Both my husband and I work full time, and I’ve been the only parent that has stayed home full time with our daughter (now 9 months) at any point. And our daughter has MAJOR “papitis” as we say in Spanish – a strong preference for dad. This began around 7 or 8 months I’d say. My daughter and I have a wonderful bond, but there are times when her dad is around and she’ll cry if she’s with me. Sometimes she can only be comforted by him. I love to see the bond that they have, and I don’t feel like it diminishes our relationship.So all of that to say that I do absolutely believe that it’s possible to have a great relationship with your child even when they may show a preference for one parent over the other, and also that (at least in our case) the preference doesn’t always have to do with working in or outside the home.

  10. Both my husband and I work full time, and I’ve been the only parent that has stayed home full time with our daughter (now 9 months) at any point. And our daughter has MAJOR “papitis” as we say in Spanish – a strong preference for dad. This began around 7 or 8 months I’d say. My daughter and I have a wonderful bond, but there are times when her dad is around and she’ll cry if she’s with me. Sometimes she can only be comforted by him. I love to see the bond that they have, and I don’t feel like it diminishes our relationship.So all of that to say that I do absolutely believe that it’s possible to have a great relationship with your child even when they may show a preference for one parent over the other, and also that (at least in our case) the preference doesn’t always have to do with working in or outside the home.

  11. Since Hubby and I both work, we don’t have quite the same situation as Anon. We have noticed that she has preferences for one or the other of us at various times, and also that there are certain activities that she wants one of us to do and not the other. I suspect this sort of thing will happen no matter what the child care arrangements are.I think Moxie nailed it, though- the worry is more about the time away than anything else. I’m such a happy WOHM now. I am trying to think back to the early days, when I was a bit more conflicted, and I can’t really remember what helped me get past that. At some point, I just realized that I was a better mother during the time I did spend with my daughter BECAUSE I was away part of the time. I can be more patient, and I can play games better, and just be more involved if I am not doing that sort of thing all day every day. This was particularly true when my daughter was a baby. I think women who are able to be SAHMs and really thrive in that role are amazing. It was a bit hard to admit that I could not do that, but it is true, and knowing that about myself has been a big help in reducing my guilt levels.
    It might help to set some firm limits for yourself at work, particularly at first, when you’re still settling into your new identity as a working mother. For instance, you are going to leave by X-o’clock every day, or you won’t read any work emails at home until after the baby is asleep, or whatever. I have some friends who are more conflicted about working than I am, and they all tend to stay later than they want, or take work home and have it “pollute” their family time. I don’t know if that is directly related to their feelings of guilt about being a WOHM, but it can’t help.
    I know that being a WOHM isn’t for everyone, but it can work out well. Most days, I’m really, really happy with my life. My daughter and I have a very strong bond, as do my daughter and my husband. She has also bonded with some of the teachers at her day care, and I think that is great. We have a good after work/before bed routine that we all enjoy, and we always make time to do something fun as a family on the weekend.
    Now, I’m just hoping we can rebalance everything to our satisfaction once we add baby #2 to the mix!

  12. Since Hubby and I both work, we don’t have quite the same situation as Anon. We have noticed that she has preferences for one or the other of us at various times, and also that there are certain activities that she wants one of us to do and not the other. I suspect this sort of thing will happen no matter what the child care arrangements are.I think Moxie nailed it, though- the worry is more about the time away than anything else. I’m such a happy WOHM now. I am trying to think back to the early days, when I was a bit more conflicted, and I can’t really remember what helped me get past that. At some point, I just realized that I was a better mother during the time I did spend with my daughter BECAUSE I was away part of the time. I can be more patient, and I can play games better, and just be more involved if I am not doing that sort of thing all day every day. This was particularly true when my daughter was a baby. I think women who are able to be SAHMs and really thrive in that role are amazing. It was a bit hard to admit that I could not do that, but it is true, and knowing that about myself has been a big help in reducing my guilt levels.
    It might help to set some firm limits for yourself at work, particularly at first, when you’re still settling into your new identity as a working mother. For instance, you are going to leave by X-o’clock every day, or you won’t read any work emails at home until after the baby is asleep, or whatever. I have some friends who are more conflicted about working than I am, and they all tend to stay later than they want, or take work home and have it “pollute” their family time. I don’t know if that is directly related to their feelings of guilt about being a WOHM, but it can’t help.
    I know that being a WOHM isn’t for everyone, but it can work out well. Most days, I’m really, really happy with my life. My daughter and I have a very strong bond, as do my daughter and my husband. She has also bonded with some of the teachers at her day care, and I think that is great. We have a good after work/before bed routine that we all enjoy, and we always make time to do something fun as a family on the weekend.
    Now, I’m just hoping we can rebalance everything to our satisfaction once we add baby #2 to the mix!

  13. My husband is a firefighter and only works a few days a month, but 24 shifts when he does. I worked until our first was 2.5, the typical 40 hour work week. I’m at home full time now, but I have to tell you that I always struggled with the same issue. The truth is that our daughter is and always has been closer to Dad. I have a good bond with her but I’m still regretful that I couldn’t have been with her more when she was so little. But now that I’m home full-time I see how my husband’s talents and strengths were perfect for who she was as a baby and toddler. It is humbling to admit that I have been jealous of them – and to say that in retrospect he did a better job – he was “in the right place at the right time”. I want to encourage you to not try to have the same bond, but to have A bond. You don’t have to be what daddy is to your kiddo, just be the best you that you can be to your little one.

  14. My husband is a firefighter and only works a few days a month, but 24 shifts when he does. I worked until our first was 2.5, the typical 40 hour work week. I’m at home full time now, but I have to tell you that I always struggled with the same issue. The truth is that our daughter is and always has been closer to Dad. I have a good bond with her but I’m still regretful that I couldn’t have been with her more when she was so little. But now that I’m home full-time I see how my husband’s talents and strengths were perfect for who she was as a baby and toddler. It is humbling to admit that I have been jealous of them – and to say that in retrospect he did a better job – he was “in the right place at the right time”. I want to encourage you to not try to have the same bond, but to have A bond. You don’t have to be what daddy is to your kiddo, just be the best you that you can be to your little one.

  15. Both my husband and I WOH – but have great hours in the sense that we both work close to NY hours but live in CA. We have a nanny and the boys are close with her but still definitely prefer my husband and I over the nanny and love the random day that we stay home on a work day.I can say there is something definite to the quality over quantity. This is no disrespect to any SAH and it may be so different if I truly stayed home. I’ve found that the random days I stay home (by myself with the boys) I find that I’m trying to get a bunch of stuff done squeezed in while I’m playing with them and once I factor in the time they are down for their nap, I realize that I spend practically just as much true quality time on my work days – probably because I know I’m only seeing my boys for those few hours.
    So my advice is that the OP try to as many nights as possible make it a habit of playing with her boy for the first hour she gets home from work (have the husband help make dinner, etc. so you’ll have the time). You’ll find it makes a huge difference in how you feel.
    I understand where you are coming from though as the random day my husband stays home with the boys to cover for the nanny, I feel far away from home so much more so than the days the nanny is there. I just know I’m missing out on something…
    I’d also say give it time – if you’ve just gone back to work, it does take time to adjust.

  16. Both my husband and I WOH – but have great hours in the sense that we both work close to NY hours but live in CA. We have a nanny and the boys are close with her but still definitely prefer my husband and I over the nanny and love the random day that we stay home on a work day.I can say there is something definite to the quality over quantity. This is no disrespect to any SAH and it may be so different if I truly stayed home. I’ve found that the random days I stay home (by myself with the boys) I find that I’m trying to get a bunch of stuff done squeezed in while I’m playing with them and once I factor in the time they are down for their nap, I realize that I spend practically just as much true quality time on my work days – probably because I know I’m only seeing my boys for those few hours.
    So my advice is that the OP try to as many nights as possible make it a habit of playing with her boy for the first hour she gets home from work (have the husband help make dinner, etc. so you’ll have the time). You’ll find it makes a huge difference in how you feel.
    I understand where you are coming from though as the random day my husband stays home with the boys to cover for the nanny, I feel far away from home so much more so than the days the nanny is there. I just know I’m missing out on something…
    I’d also say give it time – if you’ve just gone back to work, it does take time to adjust.

  17. My husband works full time, I work part-time. Both of us are very hands-on, so my two children have bonded well with both of us. In fact, my daughter sometimes cries when her beloved daddy leaves for work 🙂

  18. My husband works full time, I work part-time. Both of us are very hands-on, so my two children have bonded well with both of us. In fact, my daughter sometimes cries when her beloved daddy leaves for work 🙂

  19. Really not the same situation as I WAH and my husband WOH (are those the correct abbreviations??) Anyway, from the day our 2 year old was born, I told dh he was the bath/bed person. And he has been. They have their routine for bathing, massage and stories and I think it has really had a positive effect on their relationship. After bath and stories I would come and nurse her before bed, and now I will come in for a quick snuggle at bedtime.I don’t know if it is just her personality or what, but she has NEVER preferred one of us over the other. Seriously. I kept waiting for it, but it never happened. I like to think it is because she has developed her relationship with her dad through their evening routine, but what do I know.

  20. Really not the same situation as I WAH and my husband WOH (are those the correct abbreviations??) Anyway, from the day our 2 year old was born, I told dh he was the bath/bed person. And he has been. They have their routine for bathing, massage and stories and I think it has really had a positive effect on their relationship. After bath and stories I would come and nurse her before bed, and now I will come in for a quick snuggle at bedtime.I don’t know if it is just her personality or what, but she has NEVER preferred one of us over the other. Seriously. I kept waiting for it, but it never happened. I like to think it is because she has developed her relationship with her dad through their evening routine, but what do I know.

  21. I think that at the end of the day it is the quality of time, not the amount of time spent with your little one that will matter most in your little one’s life. I also think you hit the nail on the head when you said you understand that children go back and forth sometimes when it comes to which parent they prefer. I work full time and though I would have loved to have stayed at home with my son, it just wasn’t feasible. There have been days when I walk into the house and he completely shuns me, wanting to be alone with my wife. Now he is going through the phase where I am his number one choice.Granted, the latter makes me feel better than the first but I also know it can change just as quickly. As Heather pointed out, having your own routine with your son will help to ensure that both your child’s confidence and your own are well solidified in eachother. Your never going to be anything less than ‘wonderful’ in your son’s eyes.
    I will say on a final note that what you are experiencing is completely natural and despite what many think, any parent, regardless of gender, would be feeling the same thing. Time goes so fast too, which doesn’t help and I suggest you just focus on each day as it comes and remember to do the little things that mean the most to both of you. Personally, I always ensure I am up early so that I can bath/shower, dress feed and cuddle my son as much as possible before I have to head off to work. It gives my wife a chance to sleep in and my son and I an opportunity to just spend some quality time together before his day starts without me.

  22. I think that at the end of the day it is the quality of time, not the amount of time spent with your little one that will matter most in your little one’s life. I also think you hit the nail on the head when you said you understand that children go back and forth sometimes when it comes to which parent they prefer. I work full time and though I would have loved to have stayed at home with my son, it just wasn’t feasible. There have been days when I walk into the house and he completely shuns me, wanting to be alone with my wife. Now he is going through the phase where I am his number one choice.Granted, the latter makes me feel better than the first but I also know it can change just as quickly. As Heather pointed out, having your own routine with your son will help to ensure that both your child’s confidence and your own are well solidified in eachother. Your never going to be anything less than ‘wonderful’ in your son’s eyes.
    I will say on a final note that what you are experiencing is completely natural and despite what many think, any parent, regardless of gender, would be feeling the same thing. Time goes so fast too, which doesn’t help and I suggest you just focus on each day as it comes and remember to do the little things that mean the most to both of you. Personally, I always ensure I am up early so that I can bath/shower, dress feed and cuddle my son as much as possible before I have to head off to work. It gives my wife a chance to sleep in and my son and I an opportunity to just spend some quality time together before his day starts without me.

  23. I’m in a very similar situation. I have worked outside the home since my daughter was 8 weeks old, and my husband is a stay-at-home dad.The bops is now 17 months and clearly very attached to both of us. When we go to bed (she and I sleep together, without daddy), she asks about daddy, continually signing “daddy, love, daddy, love” (yes sweetie, daddy loves you, now go to sleep.) She has just started having a sense of time, and as it approaches around 6pm she bangs on the front door and signs “mommy.” She’s always been a little mommy-preferential (such as screaming if I take a shower, or trying to squirm out of her father’s arms towards me) but it’s becoming more balanced.
    A few things that have helped keep the bond between the bops and each of us strong:
    1) We split childcare as close to 50/50 as we can. That means I am nearly always on childcare duty when I am home. I do the breadwinning, and then he does every other task in our lives. That includes all housework, errands, etc. It means my only “me time” is during naps on weekends. That can be hard, but I figure it’s only for a few years. I also might take some me-time at work, such as reading blogs etc.
    2) We cosleep. Yes, it’s a little weird that I sleep with the baby and not my husband, but he got really frustrated during a sleep regression, left for the other room, and hasn’t come back yet. We talk about it often and we’re fine with not sharing a bed with one another at this stage in our marriage.
    3) My husband acts very excited whenever I get home. “Who could that be? It’s mommy! It’s mommy! Wow, are we ever glad to see her!” Now the bops jumps up and down and paces the room hitting herself (yeah, weird, but it’s what she does when she’s excited) when I get home.
    Your baby will love you. He might go through stages of preferring one parent (it will more likely be you than dad, but it will probably go back and forth), but he will get important parenting from each of you.
    I am so glad that my girl has such strong relationships with both parents. I think because of the emphasis on mothering in our culture, kids with SAHDs have stronger relationships with their mothers than kids with SAHMs have with their fathers. Each of us gets a balance between time with her and time away from her, so we are refreshed and ready to pay attention to her when we see her. She is absolutely thriving and I think that’s part of it. Although we’re now starting to scream at night while going to sleep, so 18-month sleep regression here we come.

  24. I’m in a very similar situation. I have worked outside the home since my daughter was 8 weeks old, and my husband is a stay-at-home dad.The bops is now 17 months and clearly very attached to both of us. When we go to bed (she and I sleep together, without daddy), she asks about daddy, continually signing “daddy, love, daddy, love” (yes sweetie, daddy loves you, now go to sleep.) She has just started having a sense of time, and as it approaches around 6pm she bangs on the front door and signs “mommy.” She’s always been a little mommy-preferential (such as screaming if I take a shower, or trying to squirm out of her father’s arms towards me) but it’s becoming more balanced.
    A few things that have helped keep the bond between the bops and each of us strong:
    1) We split childcare as close to 50/50 as we can. That means I am nearly always on childcare duty when I am home. I do the breadwinning, and then he does every other task in our lives. That includes all housework, errands, etc. It means my only “me time” is during naps on weekends. That can be hard, but I figure it’s only for a few years. I also might take some me-time at work, such as reading blogs etc.
    2) We cosleep. Yes, it’s a little weird that I sleep with the baby and not my husband, but he got really frustrated during a sleep regression, left for the other room, and hasn’t come back yet. We talk about it often and we’re fine with not sharing a bed with one another at this stage in our marriage.
    3) My husband acts very excited whenever I get home. “Who could that be? It’s mommy! It’s mommy! Wow, are we ever glad to see her!” Now the bops jumps up and down and paces the room hitting herself (yeah, weird, but it’s what she does when she’s excited) when I get home.
    Your baby will love you. He might go through stages of preferring one parent (it will more likely be you than dad, but it will probably go back and forth), but he will get important parenting from each of you.
    I am so glad that my girl has such strong relationships with both parents. I think because of the emphasis on mothering in our culture, kids with SAHDs have stronger relationships with their mothers than kids with SAHMs have with their fathers. Each of us gets a balance between time with her and time away from her, so we are refreshed and ready to pay attention to her when we see her. She is absolutely thriving and I think that’s part of it. Although we’re now starting to scream at night while going to sleep, so 18-month sleep regression here we come.

  25. I was very worried about this issue too, and yes, some of it is about guilt at not being at home. I went back to work full-time when my daughter was 3 months old and my husband has been at home with her ever since – she is now three. And you know what? She has a perfectly fine time with her daddy during the day. They are much more physically active than I would be if I were the one at home (lazy). He is also much more willing to play with the train set, plus a whole load of other advantages due to his more laid-back nature and better cookery skills. But when I get home, it’s all Mummy, all the time. Do you want to have a bath with Daddy or Mummy? Mummy bath! Do you want to go on Daddy’s bike or Mummy’s bike? Mummy’s bike! She will always come to me with her bonked head or to have her shoes taken off. I am her Mummy and the sun, it seems, shines out of my rear end. Bonded? I’d say so. Fortunately my husband takes his relegation to number two parent in good part. Your little boy knows you are his Mummy, and that is a very, very powerful thing that cannot be weakened by leaving him with his father during the day.

  26. I was very worried about this issue too, and yes, some of it is about guilt at not being at home. I went back to work full-time when my daughter was 3 months old and my husband has been at home with her ever since – she is now three. And you know what? She has a perfectly fine time with her daddy during the day. They are much more physically active than I would be if I were the one at home (lazy). He is also much more willing to play with the train set, plus a whole load of other advantages due to his more laid-back nature and better cookery skills. But when I get home, it’s all Mummy, all the time. Do you want to have a bath with Daddy or Mummy? Mummy bath! Do you want to go on Daddy’s bike or Mummy’s bike? Mummy’s bike! She will always come to me with her bonked head or to have her shoes taken off. I am her Mummy and the sun, it seems, shines out of my rear end. Bonded? I’d say so. Fortunately my husband takes his relegation to number two parent in good part. Your little boy knows you are his Mummy, and that is a very, very powerful thing that cannot be weakened by leaving him with his father during the day.

  27. I don’t know… reading this I just felt a bit like let’s suppose that the worst happens (I don’t think it is likely; in fact you kind of get to be the more fun parent, but let’s go there) and your son has a slightly stronger bond with your husband than with you. (How would you measure this?)Does the world end?
    Parenting is not really about fairness and equality of bond. Some kids by personality will gravitate one way or the other at different times and stages. There is no measurement scale of love.
    I pretty much believe our job is to love our kids and guide them, and the rest is really, really, really up to the universe. If you love your son — and you clearly do — and you convey that to him — and trust me, you will, when your face lights up at the sight of him when you come in the door — it will be okay. I really think so.
    That said I think maybe what you mean is that you fear your son won’t feel your love for him. Maybe, going out on a limb here, your dad didn’t do that so well and you didn’t feel connected to him? I’m guessing that was much more about how he interacted rather than the work.
    I agree that being the bedtime person is one of the easier ways to get there but whatever the routine you fall into, your kid will know you love him. 🙂
    Kids do not sit and add up the hours they get with each parent and dole out their love accordingly. We can learn from that!

  28. I don’t know… reading this I just felt a bit like let’s suppose that the worst happens (I don’t think it is likely; in fact you kind of get to be the more fun parent, but let’s go there) and your son has a slightly stronger bond with your husband than with you. (How would you measure this?)Does the world end?
    Parenting is not really about fairness and equality of bond. Some kids by personality will gravitate one way or the other at different times and stages. There is no measurement scale of love.
    I pretty much believe our job is to love our kids and guide them, and the rest is really, really, really up to the universe. If you love your son — and you clearly do — and you convey that to him — and trust me, you will, when your face lights up at the sight of him when you come in the door — it will be okay. I really think so.
    That said I think maybe what you mean is that you fear your son won’t feel your love for him. Maybe, going out on a limb here, your dad didn’t do that so well and you didn’t feel connected to him? I’m guessing that was much more about how he interacted rather than the work.
    I agree that being the bedtime person is one of the easier ways to get there but whatever the routine you fall into, your kid will know you love him. 🙂
    Kids do not sit and add up the hours they get with each parent and dole out their love accordingly. We can learn from that!

  29. I work full-time and my husband is a full-time stay at home dad, so I’m in the same situation. Something my own mom said has always made me feel better during those times when it seems like my daughter (now 18 months) is preferring daddy to mommy (which, btw are usually very temporary times and probably normal no matter what the arrangement is — we still have a very strong bond, and you guys will too). My mom pointed out that if my daughter always had a strong preference for mommy (instead of daddy) it would be pretty hard for her to get through the day with me gone. So, when she is a little daddy-focused sometimes, it makes me feel good to know that when I leave to go to work, they’ll be having a happy day together and she won’t have a meltdown just because mommy had to leave.Of course, we also let her sleep almost all night in our bed (oh, it all started with the 5am nursy-catnap, don’t get me started!). I used to have very ambivalent feelings about this, but now that we’re all used to it, I love it and I think on some level it really helps us bond even though she’s asleep most of the time. Even if I’m not there most of the day, we’ll always get to snuggle together at night. It comforts me as much as it probably comforts her.

  30. I work full-time and my husband is a full-time stay at home dad, so I’m in the same situation. Something my own mom said has always made me feel better during those times when it seems like my daughter (now 18 months) is preferring daddy to mommy (which, btw are usually very temporary times and probably normal no matter what the arrangement is — we still have a very strong bond, and you guys will too). My mom pointed out that if my daughter always had a strong preference for mommy (instead of daddy) it would be pretty hard for her to get through the day with me gone. So, when she is a little daddy-focused sometimes, it makes me feel good to know that when I leave to go to work, they’ll be having a happy day together and she won’t have a meltdown just because mommy had to leave.Of course, we also let her sleep almost all night in our bed (oh, it all started with the 5am nursy-catnap, don’t get me started!). I used to have very ambivalent feelings about this, but now that we’re all used to it, I love it and I think on some level it really helps us bond even though she’s asleep most of the time. Even if I’m not there most of the day, we’ll always get to snuggle together at night. It comforts me as much as it probably comforts her.

  31. 1. It has always felt to me that my youngest was more closely bonded with Dh than with me – from the get-go (I had a c-section and Dh was able to do a lot more when I was out of it) Now, at 17 months, I feel like El is about evenly bonded with both of us.2. I went back to work after maternity leave when El was about 12 weeks old. El goes to a daycare. Overall, I really enjoy my job. But recently I’ve been in kind of a rough patch at work and home and really miss the girls when I’m at work. When I was enjoying it, I wasn’t thinking about what else I could be doing.
    So, I think (a) give it time, and (b)if you’re not enjoying your job, think about what your other choices are (or figure out how much longer you’ll have to suck it up)

  32. 1. It has always felt to me that my youngest was more closely bonded with Dh than with me – from the get-go (I had a c-section and Dh was able to do a lot more when I was out of it) Now, at 17 months, I feel like El is about evenly bonded with both of us.2. I went back to work after maternity leave when El was about 12 weeks old. El goes to a daycare. Overall, I really enjoy my job. But recently I’ve been in kind of a rough patch at work and home and really miss the girls when I’m at work. When I was enjoying it, I wasn’t thinking about what else I could be doing.
    So, I think (a) give it time, and (b)if you’re not enjoying your job, think about what your other choices are (or figure out how much longer you’ll have to suck it up)

  33. Ep stayed home the first year or so with Mr G. Mr G LOVED daddy all day long. Then I walked in the door, and daddy was chopped liver. MOMMY! MOMMY! WOO!That continued even after ep went back to work. Mommy was favored. Until one day around 2 1/2 years old (or rather, one night), Mr G woke up in the middle of the night, I walked into his room, and he screamed, NOT MOMMY, DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! It was then daddy daddy all day long. I admit to being both a touch offended and rather a lot relieved. I was no longer the primary on-call. It was niiiiice. And nicer because I knew it wasn’t a) up to me, or b) permanent.
    I was actually a little surprised early on when a mom said (in surprise at me ‘letting’ ep be the at-home parent) that she would worry that the baby would love daddy best. I never treated it as a competition, mainly because I’d watched my BIL/SIL go through the rounds of favored parents with their five kids – I knew that each child had their preferences at their own time and season, and it had very little to do with whether one parent was home or not. Each was different. So I was kind of prepped for the idea that who they latch onto is who they latch onto, and that this will change and change again, or not, depending on the child.
    So, we now have four.
    Mr G is still somewhat more prone to Mommy preference, but it is pretty close, and it tips back and forth still at 11 years old. There’s no ‘win’ on that, it’s just where it is, when it is.
    Mr B has been from the start bonded to the combination of mommy+daddy – if we were not both there, it was a lack for him. One, or the other, not enough. Only both would really meet his need. He’s now developed enough to get his needs met by just.one.parent, but still prefers the tandem thing. If there was ever one person for him, bond-wise, it was his big brother (who was his comfort item and transitional object and lovie for years, and is still his greatest connection).
    Miss R has always been Daddy’s from birth. Seriously. We have the most glorious portrait on the wall of her at around a year old, still bald, gorgeous in black turtleneck and coffee-with-cream skin and chocolate eyes, sitting in ep’s lap, gazing up into his face as he tipped his head down to speak to her, only the slight outline of his forehead and nose showing against his matching black turtleneck… it is the pure essence of their bond, in that one shot. If it never changes, that’s okay – it is far too purely Her Thing for me to fret over.
    Miss M is more a free-range child. She never was that much into hooking into anyone. She touches down with everyone – her twin sister, her brothers (each), her cousin, grandparents, the whole circuit. But no one great bond for her, at least not that shows.
    I’ve worked, and not worked, worked shorter hours and longer hours, and it seems to have very little impact on how my kids feel. Much more on how much time *I* need to spend with them, definitely – I do like working flexible 24-34 hour weeks. Which I’m not doing right now. I miss that. But even with the over-40 weeks I’m running, my kids are still taking the same pattern as before.
    Do what makes you happy, but don’t worry about how the bonds will function. How they love you will depend on how you function together, more than how much of your time is tied together. Just ask any SAHM whose child is bonded more to daddy just now… all day every day isn’t enough to turn that tide. A balance of hours feels the best all around, to me, but where that balance falls is up to you, not anyone else.

  34. Ep stayed home the first year or so with Mr G. Mr G LOVED daddy all day long. Then I walked in the door, and daddy was chopped liver. MOMMY! MOMMY! WOO!That continued even after ep went back to work. Mommy was favored. Until one day around 2 1/2 years old (or rather, one night), Mr G woke up in the middle of the night, I walked into his room, and he screamed, NOT MOMMY, DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! It was then daddy daddy all day long. I admit to being both a touch offended and rather a lot relieved. I was no longer the primary on-call. It was niiiiice. And nicer because I knew it wasn’t a) up to me, or b) permanent.
    I was actually a little surprised early on when a mom said (in surprise at me ‘letting’ ep be the at-home parent) that she would worry that the baby would love daddy best. I never treated it as a competition, mainly because I’d watched my BIL/SIL go through the rounds of favored parents with their five kids – I knew that each child had their preferences at their own time and season, and it had very little to do with whether one parent was home or not. Each was different. So I was kind of prepped for the idea that who they latch onto is who they latch onto, and that this will change and change again, or not, depending on the child.
    So, we now have four.
    Mr G is still somewhat more prone to Mommy preference, but it is pretty close, and it tips back and forth still at 11 years old. There’s no ‘win’ on that, it’s just where it is, when it is.
    Mr B has been from the start bonded to the combination of mommy+daddy – if we were not both there, it was a lack for him. One, or the other, not enough. Only both would really meet his need. He’s now developed enough to get his needs met by just.one.parent, but still prefers the tandem thing. If there was ever one person for him, bond-wise, it was his big brother (who was his comfort item and transitional object and lovie for years, and is still his greatest connection).
    Miss R has always been Daddy’s from birth. Seriously. We have the most glorious portrait on the wall of her at around a year old, still bald, gorgeous in black turtleneck and coffee-with-cream skin and chocolate eyes, sitting in ep’s lap, gazing up into his face as he tipped his head down to speak to her, only the slight outline of his forehead and nose showing against his matching black turtleneck… it is the pure essence of their bond, in that one shot. If it never changes, that’s okay – it is far too purely Her Thing for me to fret over.
    Miss M is more a free-range child. She never was that much into hooking into anyone. She touches down with everyone – her twin sister, her brothers (each), her cousin, grandparents, the whole circuit. But no one great bond for her, at least not that shows.
    I’ve worked, and not worked, worked shorter hours and longer hours, and it seems to have very little impact on how my kids feel. Much more on how much time *I* need to spend with them, definitely – I do like working flexible 24-34 hour weeks. Which I’m not doing right now. I miss that. But even with the over-40 weeks I’m running, my kids are still taking the same pattern as before.
    Do what makes you happy, but don’t worry about how the bonds will function. How they love you will depend on how you function together, more than how much of your time is tied together. Just ask any SAHM whose child is bonded more to daddy just now… all day every day isn’t enough to turn that tide. A balance of hours feels the best all around, to me, but where that balance falls is up to you, not anyone else.

  35. I’ve had these same fears, and in our case, the result has been the opposite of what I feared … it seems that the scarcity of mama during the week makes her *crave* time with me. Honestly, I don’t know if this is any less heartbreaking than if she’d “preferred” my husband. It makes it *so hard* to leave her on workdays.I believe it really is about the quality of your interactions with your child, not the quantity. The best advice I’ve gotten is: try to focus on being a very present, healthy parent when you’re with your child (they notice if you’re overly tired, distracted, worried, or smothering). And, tell yourself repeatedly that no one (NO ONE) can replace you in your child’s mind and heart, whether you’re there every minute or not.

  36. I’ve had these same fears, and in our case, the result has been the opposite of what I feared … it seems that the scarcity of mama during the week makes her *crave* time with me. Honestly, I don’t know if this is any less heartbreaking than if she’d “preferred” my husband. It makes it *so hard* to leave her on workdays.I believe it really is about the quality of your interactions with your child, not the quantity. The best advice I’ve gotten is: try to focus on being a very present, healthy parent when you’re with your child (they notice if you’re overly tired, distracted, worried, or smothering). And, tell yourself repeatedly that no one (NO ONE) can replace you in your child’s mind and heart, whether you’re there every minute or not.

  37. I just thought I’d add my data point that I am a SAHM & my hubby works long hours all week & still our son prefers him to me in any crisis or pain or night wake-up (there are advantages its true). I thought it might comfort you to know sometimes its not about the amount of time or love, its just some people’s personalities click better than others together. And it doesn’t mean my relationship is any less meaningful with my son, we still love each other to death. Even though he’s 2 :o)

  38. I just thought I’d add my data point that I am a SAHM & my hubby works long hours all week & still our son prefers him to me in any crisis or pain or night wake-up (there are advantages its true). I thought it might comfort you to know sometimes its not about the amount of time or love, its just some people’s personalities click better than others together. And it doesn’t mean my relationship is any less meaningful with my son, we still love each other to death. Even though he’s 2 :o)

  39. Can I just add that this is happening in our 2-mom household. Our 3.5 yo daughter is all about her non-bio SAHM these days. Me, the bio WOHM is pretty much chopped liver at the moment. I have confidence that she loves both of us very much, and that all will work out. But in the meantime, it can be very discouraging. Best wishes to Anon and your family!

  40. Can I just add that this is happening in our 2-mom household. Our 3.5 yo daughter is all about her non-bio SAHM these days. Me, the bio WOHM is pretty much chopped liver at the moment. I have confidence that she loves both of us very much, and that all will work out. But in the meantime, it can be very discouraging. Best wishes to Anon and your family!

  41. I stay at home with the boy (aged 20 months now) and he kisses me all the time (with no kisses for daddy) and we snuggle and we laugh and we are definitely bonded….but watch out if falls and hurts himself – only Daddy will do. Just tear my heart out and stomp on it kid. I get jealous all the time when he prefers Daddy over me and then I have to remind myself that the kid has 2 parents. : )Anyway – I know it breaks your heart but please don’t stress about it. The kid loves you.

  42. I stay at home with the boy (aged 20 months now) and he kisses me all the time (with no kisses for daddy) and we snuggle and we laugh and we are definitely bonded….but watch out if falls and hurts himself – only Daddy will do. Just tear my heart out and stomp on it kid. I get jealous all the time when he prefers Daddy over me and then I have to remind myself that the kid has 2 parents. : )Anyway – I know it breaks your heart but please don’t stress about it. The kid loves you.

  43. Anon,I can be a data point for you. I have been working FT since my son was born, and my husband has been SAHD or WOHPT. My son is now three and my daughter is 9 months. My husband is also a total daddy-type teddy bear, whereas I know that without work and solitude I would just wilt. So I also worry that daddy is the big favorite.
    What has helped most is reminding myself, “I am the only mother they have. Whatever I do will eventually turn into their memories of motherhood. What I do is not a referendum on their dad, but on me.” In other words, to them, it will not be about whether they like daddy more, but about whether I was happy to see them when I got home, whether I listened when they talked, how often I said “not now,” etc. It will be about whether they have a good relationship with me.
    There are many times when I get home and I just want to veg, read the paper, let the kids play with dad in the other room. Sometimes I let myself do this, but often, I remind myself that in the long run, it works out better for everyone if I don’t.

  44. Anon,I can be a data point for you. I have been working FT since my son was born, and my husband has been SAHD or WOHPT. My son is now three and my daughter is 9 months. My husband is also a total daddy-type teddy bear, whereas I know that without work and solitude I would just wilt. So I also worry that daddy is the big favorite.
    What has helped most is reminding myself, “I am the only mother they have. Whatever I do will eventually turn into their memories of motherhood. What I do is not a referendum on their dad, but on me.” In other words, to them, it will not be about whether they like daddy more, but about whether I was happy to see them when I got home, whether I listened when they talked, how often I said “not now,” etc. It will be about whether they have a good relationship with me.
    There are many times when I get home and I just want to veg, read the paper, let the kids play with dad in the other room. Sometimes I let myself do this, but often, I remind myself that in the long run, it works out better for everyone if I don’t.

  45. I keep thinking about this.Sam and I went through this when he was laid off and I went back to work full time, and here’s how I got through it:
    If I were a man, nobody would think twice about it being totally normal and expected for the girls to latch onto the stay-at-home parent more tightly.
    It doesn’t mean I’m not their mother, anymore than it would mean that Sam isn’t their father when I’m home with them and they cling to me.

  46. I keep thinking about this.Sam and I went through this when he was laid off and I went back to work full time, and here’s how I got through it:
    If I were a man, nobody would think twice about it being totally normal and expected for the girls to latch onto the stay-at-home parent more tightly.
    It doesn’t mean I’m not their mother, anymore than it would mean that Sam isn’t their father when I’m home with them and they cling to me.

  47. How ironic. As the SAHM, I worry that my son will prefer his dad, who gets to come home from work and be the fun parent.

  48. How ironic. As the SAHM, I worry that my son will prefer his dad, who gets to come home from work and be the fun parent.

  49. I’m not in the situation Anon describes, but I know that I often fear that my daughter (14 months – very much a Daddy’s Girl) loves her Daddy more than me. And then she does something that is all about me and I just melt. I think it’s a fear that every mom has – that they won’t be their child’s favorite person.

  50. I’m not in the situation Anon describes, but I know that I often fear that my daughter (14 months – very much a Daddy’s Girl) loves her Daddy more than me. And then she does something that is all about me and I just melt. I think it’s a fear that every mom has – that they won’t be their child’s favorite person.

  51. For what it’s worth, my husband and I both work full time, and have since our now 13-month old daughter was 2 months old. She went through a phase where she STRONGLY preferred me over him, and I know it bothered him a lot. But now for whatever reason, she’s gotten a lot more affectionate with him, and as far as I can see nothing has really changed except that she’s older.

  52. For what it’s worth, my husband and I both work full time, and have since our now 13-month old daughter was 2 months old. She went through a phase where she STRONGLY preferred me over him, and I know it bothered him a lot. But now for whatever reason, she’s gotten a lot more affectionate with him, and as far as I can see nothing has really changed except that she’s older.

  53. I work and my husband stays at home with our two-year-old. She likes me best, although she does love her daddy. Of course, I’m with her constantly when I’m at home — a bit hard on the marriage maybe, but we’ll make it.

  54. I work and my husband stays at home with our two-year-old. She likes me best, although she does love her daddy. Of course, I’m with her constantly when I’m at home — a bit hard on the marriage maybe, but we’ll make it.

  55. Anon-I feel for you. Even though we both were working, my son and I had a very tight bond, and I loved it. I stayed home with him for 14 months, so when I went back to work, I worried our bond would weaken, but it was okay. We remained tight. And then I got pregnant with our second child – and I couldn’t handle the morning sickness. My husband became the primary parent – getting him up, dressing him, getting him out the door, while I focused on not passing out or throwing up more than I had to. After a while, he transferred his bond to his father – and I was just the one that was a special treat. I hated losing our bond – and it was just as he learned to do sentences. So I was hearing, “No! I don’t want you here. I want daddy to make my breakfast. Go away mommy!” It broke my heart.
    The baby is now 4 months and I am working hard at rebonding with the older one – he lets me take care of him now. He still prefers his father, and I have a feeling I would have to deal with that as long as I am nursing and the baby needs me. So yeah, one hand, you are happy he is secure and happy – on the other, you are envious that you are no longer the center of the world.
    I am just telling you that you have to work at regaining some of that tightness – it’s a different bond, but it does come.

  56. Anon-I feel for you. Even though we both were working, my son and I had a very tight bond, and I loved it. I stayed home with him for 14 months, so when I went back to work, I worried our bond would weaken, but it was okay. We remained tight. And then I got pregnant with our second child – and I couldn’t handle the morning sickness. My husband became the primary parent – getting him up, dressing him, getting him out the door, while I focused on not passing out or throwing up more than I had to. After a while, he transferred his bond to his father – and I was just the one that was a special treat. I hated losing our bond – and it was just as he learned to do sentences. So I was hearing, “No! I don’t want you here. I want daddy to make my breakfast. Go away mommy!” It broke my heart.
    The baby is now 4 months and I am working hard at rebonding with the older one – he lets me take care of him now. He still prefers his father, and I have a feeling I would have to deal with that as long as I am nursing and the baby needs me. So yeah, one hand, you are happy he is secure and happy – on the other, you are envious that you are no longer the center of the world.
    I am just telling you that you have to work at regaining some of that tightness – it’s a different bond, but it does come.

  57. Another working mom/stay-at-home dad situation here, and I had similar worries that my daughter (now 17 months) would prefer my husband over me. I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old, and it took a good month before I was finally OK with not being intimately involved in every aspect of Kara’s life. Now I’m more relaxed about it and just ask lots of questions when I come home about napping, eating, highlights of the day, low points, etc. It also helps that I work an earlier schedule so we have more daylight hours together, and Luke and I take turns with bath and bed time duties–I know a lot of working parents claim bed time as their time every night, but we now have a three-month-old son, and Luke likes being able to share in that one-on-one time with Kara, so we switch. And like another poster said, when I’m home, I do as much babytime as I can. When I’m not as work, I want to be with my kids, especially at night. I hate missing bedt ime.More to the point of your question, though, I used to be really upset that I couldn’t be the stay-at-home mother I had always wanted to be, but it became a lot easier when I experienced firsthand that being away from her all day didn’t make our bond any less meaningful. I am the only mother she knows, and so long as I love her and spend time with her when we are together, she will never see me as the “less than” parent I was afraid of being. That helped immensely when I had my son and went back to work after only eight weeks back in March. I definitely wasn’t ready, but I knew my kids loved me and would take as much of me as they could get when I was able to be home.

  58. Another working mom/stay-at-home dad situation here, and I had similar worries that my daughter (now 17 months) would prefer my husband over me. I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old, and it took a good month before I was finally OK with not being intimately involved in every aspect of Kara’s life. Now I’m more relaxed about it and just ask lots of questions when I come home about napping, eating, highlights of the day, low points, etc. It also helps that I work an earlier schedule so we have more daylight hours together, and Luke and I take turns with bath and bed time duties–I know a lot of working parents claim bed time as their time every night, but we now have a three-month-old son, and Luke likes being able to share in that one-on-one time with Kara, so we switch. And like another poster said, when I’m home, I do as much babytime as I can. When I’m not as work, I want to be with my kids, especially at night. I hate missing bedt ime.More to the point of your question, though, I used to be really upset that I couldn’t be the stay-at-home mother I had always wanted to be, but it became a lot easier when I experienced firsthand that being away from her all day didn’t make our bond any less meaningful. I am the only mother she knows, and so long as I love her and spend time with her when we are together, she will never see me as the “less than” parent I was afraid of being. That helped immensely when I had my son and went back to work after only eight weeks back in March. I definitely wasn’t ready, but I knew my kids loved me and would take as much of me as they could get when I was able to be home.

  59. Anon said: “I hate feeling this insecure and emotionally needy with my own child and it isn’t good for any of us, but I can’t help feeling really afraid that he will be way more into daddy than me.”Anon really seems to know herself well which is so admirable. Fears are funny things. I’ve been thinking a lot about fears in general this past week, mainly in the context of some autobiographies & documentaries about famous people who had these rather bizarrely ironic “fates” that centered around The Very Specific Thing They Feared Most which actually ended up happening to them, and was this major defining occurrence in their lives. It got me thinking about the whole (murky, magical-thinking-esque) idea of “what we most fear, we create or empower in some subconscious way.” Or perhaps is it premonition on some level? Just some food for thought based on no hard data. Anyway, ITA with what Shandra said (may 16th 11:18am) – she put that really well.

  60. Anon said: “I hate feeling this insecure and emotionally needy with my own child and it isn’t good for any of us, but I can’t help feeling really afraid that he will be way more into daddy than me.”Anon really seems to know herself well which is so admirable. Fears are funny things. I’ve been thinking a lot about fears in general this past week, mainly in the context of some autobiographies & documentaries about famous people who had these rather bizarrely ironic “fates” that centered around The Very Specific Thing They Feared Most which actually ended up happening to them, and was this major defining occurrence in their lives. It got me thinking about the whole (murky, magical-thinking-esque) idea of “what we most fear, we create or empower in some subconscious way.” Or perhaps is it premonition on some level? Just some food for thought based on no hard data. Anyway, ITA with what Shandra said (may 16th 11:18am) – she put that really well.

  61. Hi, this is the OP here. Reading all of these responses is really heartening and reassuring. I’m also realizing how much I go through phases with these feelings. Last week (when I emailed Moxie), I was feeling really sad and anxious about the whole situation, but this week, after a wonderful family weekend, I’m feeling very calm and relaxed and unworried. So it comes and goes, and a lot of it depends on what my most recent interactions with my son have been like — short term memory I guess! It also seems to generally be easier as my son gets older and more able to express himself. For example, he has just really started reaching for me when he wants me and I can’t tell you how gratifying and sweet that is!As some people have suggested, I always spend all my evening time with him, including his bedtime routine. The only problem is that he’s not a great sleeper, so his bedtime routine can end up being more stressful and frustrating than sweet and cuddly, but I’m hoping that will change as he gets older and (god willing!) becomes a better sleeper.
    As to Moxie’s point about feeling guilty about working…well, I don’t feel guilty about working, but I do wish I had more family time. I really love my work and I think I would NOT be a good SAHM. In my ideal world I think I would work 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5, but that’s not really feasible right now. However, I am taking some vacation time this summer in order to have Fridays off for two months so I am very excited about that!

  62. Hi, this is the OP here. Reading all of these responses is really heartening and reassuring. I’m also realizing how much I go through phases with these feelings. Last week (when I emailed Moxie), I was feeling really sad and anxious about the whole situation, but this week, after a wonderful family weekend, I’m feeling very calm and relaxed and unworried. So it comes and goes, and a lot of it depends on what my most recent interactions with my son have been like — short term memory I guess! It also seems to generally be easier as my son gets older and more able to express himself. For example, he has just really started reaching for me when he wants me and I can’t tell you how gratifying and sweet that is!As some people have suggested, I always spend all my evening time with him, including his bedtime routine. The only problem is that he’s not a great sleeper, so his bedtime routine can end up being more stressful and frustrating than sweet and cuddly, but I’m hoping that will change as he gets older and (god willing!) becomes a better sleeper.
    As to Moxie’s point about feeling guilty about working…well, I don’t feel guilty about working, but I do wish I had more family time. I really love my work and I think I would NOT be a good SAHM. In my ideal world I think I would work 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5, but that’s not really feasible right now. However, I am taking some vacation time this summer in order to have Fridays off for two months so I am very excited about that!

  63. My husband is a SAHD and I work full-time. I’ve thought about how our daughter (now 7 wks old) may develop a stronger bond with him, and I comfort myself by being happy that my daughter has her dad to bond with. Many children, myself included, didn’t have dad around at all, so if my girl becomes a bit more attached to her dad, I’m happy for her.Although, I don’t worry too much about not having a close bond with her in the end, anway. My mom worked full-time from the time I was a yr old and we are very close. Even during my teenage years we got along well.

  64. My husband is a SAHD and I work full-time. I’ve thought about how our daughter (now 7 wks old) may develop a stronger bond with him, and I comfort myself by being happy that my daughter has her dad to bond with. Many children, myself included, didn’t have dad around at all, so if my girl becomes a bit more attached to her dad, I’m happy for her.Although, I don’t worry too much about not having a close bond with her in the end, anway. My mom worked full-time from the time I was a yr old and we are very close. Even during my teenage years we got along well.

  65. Another data point, a little late, here: I work full-time and my husband is a SAHD. After my 12-week maternity leave, I telecommuted 2-3 days a week and went to the office 2-3 days. I had one 3-month spell where I was in the office almost every work day, and now telecommute full-time (DS is now 4 and in pre-school 3 afternoons a week).My husband has been at home full-time since the end of my maternity leave, and I feel very fortunate that we’re able to do that.
    I feel very guilty sometimes (no matter where I’m working) that I can’t always kiss the boo-boos… and also guilty when the demands for boo-boo kissing threaten to disrupt work (at a job I love and can’t imagine giving up voluntarily).
    No avoiding the guilt, I guess.
    My son has clearly preferred me for most of his life, though he has some activities that are definitely father-son activities and some days where DADDY MUST DO IT. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I wasn’t the preferred boo-boo kisser, however.
    Dunno if it’s relevant, but I breastfed until he was 38 months and still co-sleep (my husband opted for another bed when The Night-time Kicking began).
    My major regret about working is missing major milestones (which I suppose is inevitable unless you’re with them 24/7), like his first steps. And now that I’m working from home FT, I get pangs when I over-hear the fun stuff that I’m missing — the DS giggle/Daddy laugh combination is mighty compelling.
    I assume DS’s occasional preference for Daddy will eventually dominate some of the time. And sometimes I’ll be jealous and sometimes I’ll be relieved. My husband reports both feelings (often simultaneously) about my relationship with DS.

  66. Another data point, a little late, here: I work full-time and my husband is a SAHD. After my 12-week maternity leave, I telecommuted 2-3 days a week and went to the office 2-3 days. I had one 3-month spell where I was in the office almost every work day, and now telecommute full-time (DS is now 4 and in pre-school 3 afternoons a week).My husband has been at home full-time since the end of my maternity leave, and I feel very fortunate that we’re able to do that.
    I feel very guilty sometimes (no matter where I’m working) that I can’t always kiss the boo-boos… and also guilty when the demands for boo-boo kissing threaten to disrupt work (at a job I love and can’t imagine giving up voluntarily).
    No avoiding the guilt, I guess.
    My son has clearly preferred me for most of his life, though he has some activities that are definitely father-son activities and some days where DADDY MUST DO IT. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I wasn’t the preferred boo-boo kisser, however.
    Dunno if it’s relevant, but I breastfed until he was 38 months and still co-sleep (my husband opted for another bed when The Night-time Kicking began).
    My major regret about working is missing major milestones (which I suppose is inevitable unless you’re with them 24/7), like his first steps. And now that I’m working from home FT, I get pangs when I over-hear the fun stuff that I’m missing — the DS giggle/Daddy laugh combination is mighty compelling.
    I assume DS’s occasional preference for Daddy will eventually dominate some of the time. And sometimes I’ll be jealous and sometimes I’ll be relieved. My husband reports both feelings (often simultaneously) about my relationship with DS.

  67. Anonymous: I had this issue as a SAHM! My little boy just preferred my husband when he was anxious or for fun…or anytime. I thought he preferred daddy because daddy wasn’t around all the time so it seemed more “special” to him.I recall a day when we both took him to the pediatrician (hubby works nights, but it was his “weekend” that day) and the doctor commented, “Wow, he’s a daddy’s boy, isn’t he?” I just BRISTLED.
    I did my best to notice how much he did enjoy time with me and kind of grit my teeth. My husband has always done his bath (a favorite activity), so if you are home in time for that and your son likes it, then it’s a nice, soothing, bonding way to end the day.
    Now, he prefers us probably equally. I think kids appreciate the differences in the way their parents deal with everything.

  68. Anonymous: I had this issue as a SAHM! My little boy just preferred my husband when he was anxious or for fun…or anytime. I thought he preferred daddy because daddy wasn’t around all the time so it seemed more “special” to him.I recall a day when we both took him to the pediatrician (hubby works nights, but it was his “weekend” that day) and the doctor commented, “Wow, he’s a daddy’s boy, isn’t he?” I just BRISTLED.
    I did my best to notice how much he did enjoy time with me and kind of grit my teeth. My husband has always done his bath (a favorite activity), so if you are home in time for that and your son likes it, then it’s a nice, soothing, bonding way to end the day.
    Now, he prefers us probably equally. I think kids appreciate the differences in the way their parents deal with everything.

  69. I think the one thing that can become a working parent and kids more than anything else is multitasking. My wife does this a lot and it does drive a wedge between her and our son. My wife does not realize how unavailable she is when she is doing stuff on the computer– will be so preoccupied she won’t hear our son’s questions or even realize that a DVD had ended. I wish for both my wife’s sake and our son’s that she could really spend time just focused on our son, but she seems unwilling to do that. She wanted to be there for bed time (which I have been doing since he was tiny), but she brought her computer with her because she didn’t want to waist time while I read him a story.I don’t know what to do anymore as a dad and husband. I am at my wit’s end and am starting think there is something really wrong with my wife’s computer habits and that she is using it to keep us all at arms length. (Maybe she’ll come across this and it will strike a chord of recognition).

  70. I think the one thing that can become a working parent and kids more than anything else is multitasking. My wife does this a lot and it does drive a wedge between her and our son. My wife does not realize how unavailable she is when she is doing stuff on the computer– will be so preoccupied she won’t hear our son’s questions or even realize that a DVD had ended. I wish for both my wife’s sake and our son’s that she could really spend time just focused on our son, but she seems unwilling to do that. She wanted to be there for bed time (which I have been doing since he was tiny), but she brought her computer with her because she didn’t want to waist time while I read him a story.I don’t know what to do anymore as a dad and husband. I am at my wit’s end and am starting think there is something really wrong with my wife’s computer habits and that she is using it to keep us all at arms length. (Maybe she’ll come across this and it will strike a chord of recognition).

  71. In my case, our son is not with me. He’s living with my parents because I need to work for her studies, that’s why I missed all the days that I’m not with him.. All of you are greatful because your kids are with you..

  72. In my case, our son is not with me. He’s living with my parents because I need to work for her studies, that’s why I missed all the days that I’m not with him.. All of you are greatful because your kids are with you..

  73. I understand the OP’s fear… and I think she needs to recognize that it’s a fear that can damage her son and her relationship with him as he gets older. Whether she’s working full-time or the SAHM, no matter how much effort she puts into her relationship with her son, HE DOES NOT OWE HER ANYTHING. He can connect more with dad, the babysitter, grandma, or the milk man, and that might be sad for mom, but she needs to deal with it. We exist for our kids, we owe them everything, not the other way around.I know the OP isn’t blaming her son, but she’s setting herself up for her own unvoiced expectations and anxieties about him to get in the way of his emotional development. If she allows herself to feel this way then the kid is going to grow up feeling like he needs to control his emotions for his mother, that he owes that to her. He’ll grow up feeling the way others expect him to feel, and pushing away any emotion that doesn’t measure up to expectations.
    I speak from personal experience of this, and it has taken years of therapy and study to even be aware of the messed up dynamic with my parents (I started out thinking that nothing was wrong with them, and it was all me- boy, was I wrong). The only way to not pass on the same situation to my child is to realize that I can mess her up by having expectations about her emotional responses to things (and to come to terms with how this was done to me). Of course I want her to love me. And I believe that she does love me. But if she goes through a stage where she loves someone else more (or appears to), I just have to roll with it. And sort of expect it. Even if it hurts.

  74. I understand the OP’s fear… and I think she needs to recognize that it’s a fear that can damage her son and her relationship with him as he gets older. Whether she’s working full-time or the SAHM, no matter how much effort she puts into her relationship with her son, HE DOES NOT OWE HER ANYTHING. He can connect more with dad, the babysitter, grandma, or the milk man, and that might be sad for mom, but she needs to deal with it. We exist for our kids, we owe them everything, not the other way around.I know the OP isn’t blaming her son, but she’s setting herself up for her own unvoiced expectations and anxieties about him to get in the way of his emotional development. If she allows herself to feel this way then the kid is going to grow up feeling like he needs to control his emotions for his mother, that he owes that to her. He’ll grow up feeling the way others expect him to feel, and pushing away any emotion that doesn’t measure up to expectations.
    I speak from personal experience of this, and it has taken years of therapy and study to even be aware of the messed up dynamic with my parents (I started out thinking that nothing was wrong with them, and it was all me- boy, was I wrong). The only way to not pass on the same situation to my child is to realize that I can mess her up by having expectations about her emotional responses to things (and to come to terms with how this was done to me). Of course I want her to love me. And I believe that she does love me. But if she goes through a stage where she loves someone else more (or appears to), I just have to roll with it. And sort of expect it. Even if it hurts.

  75. AMEN! God answered my prrayes as well. I’ve prayed for you to have a man like Sean your whole life and God provided beyond. It’s wonderful watching Sean being such an awesome husband to you my first born and an awesome father to my first and only grandchildren so far. God blesses us all and this family is proof. Thank you Jesus!

  76. AMEN! God answered my prrayes as well. I’ve prayed for you to have a man like Sean your whole life and God provided beyond. It’s wonderful watching Sean being such an awesome husband to you my first born and an awesome father to my first and only grandchildren so far. God blesses us all and this family is proof. Thank you Jesus!

  77. Anje, these are both lovely pothos and lovely comments. Thank you very much for enduring that long drive and taking all of this trouble to make us happy.. Thank you very much indeed

  78. Anje, these are both lovely pothos and lovely comments. Thank you very much for enduring that long drive and taking all of this trouble to make us happy.. Thank you very much indeed

  79. @Granmamma9 Yes, we knew something was up bucaese she was making a different noise than we expected from the toys she had available to herself on the blanket. Beth went back, stopped at the door, and called me to come and see. It was quite funny to us too!

  80. @Granmamma9 Yes, we knew something was up bucaese she was making a different noise than we expected from the toys she had available to herself on the blanket. Beth went back, stopped at the door, and called me to come and see. It was quite funny to us too!

  81. Happy Happy Birthday BJ!!Are you ready for the big party??I’ll be home on Maui at the end of this month for my nephew’s 1st bithdray and I gotta say, I’m kinda happy that I live in Honolulu and will be there only 24 hours before the event LOLcan’t wait to see pics!

  82. Happy Happy Birthday BJ!!Are you ready for the big party??I’ll be home on Maui at the end of this month for my nephew’s 1st bithdray and I gotta say, I’m kinda happy that I live in Honolulu and will be there only 24 hours before the event LOLcan’t wait to see pics!

  83. I love #1 and #2 wait #3 is cute too and #4 just look at that face .. You are so good at this. I am pregnant and will be calnilg you really soon to do my sons.. Mom must be going nuts over these. I love your work Amy.. Your the best in the area.

  84. I love #1 and #2 wait #3 is cute too and #4 just look at that face .. You are so good at this. I am pregnant and will be calnilg you really soon to do my sons.. Mom must be going nuts over these. I love your work Amy.. Your the best in the area.

  85. Awwwwwwww ..she’s soooo beautiful! Great Job Amy. Again YOUR work floros me. That third shot PRICELESS. You captured DAD’s, gentle power. Daddy’s little girl, protected! Love IT!

  86. Awwwwwwww ..she’s soooo beautiful! Great Job Amy. Again YOUR work floros me. That third shot PRICELESS. You captured DAD’s, gentle power. Daddy’s little girl, protected! Love IT!

  87. What beautiful falimy photos! Your kids are adorable :-). Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing it with others. It’s nice to “meet” a fellow crew mate.

  88. What beautiful falimy photos! Your kids are adorable :-). Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing it with others. It’s nice to “meet” a fellow crew mate.

  89. I am a father of 5 Boys and two girls, I have to say that in my experience of fatherhood, childrens will always have a favourite dependent on how much they can get away with with that individual. As parents we need to be assertive, kind and nurturing in differing levels. I do not see it as favoritism in any way. Each child loves their parent and over time this love level goes and blossoms, girls love a cuddle , boys love to rough and tumble but at the end of the day, when all is said and done. The love we lavish on our children comes back 10 fold. that simple hug, that cuddle before bed and the 4 simple words Mummy I love You / or Daddy I love you warms the heart and no matter what stress has gone before these words make it all worth while.

  90. I am a father of 5 Boys and two girls, I have to say that in my experience of fatherhood, childrens will always have a favourite dependent on how much they can get away with with that individual. As parents we need to be assertive, kind and nurturing in differing levels. I do not see it as favoritism in any way. Each child loves their parent and over time this love level goes and blossoms, girls love a cuddle , boys love to rough and tumble but at the end of the day, when all is said and done. The love we lavish on our children comes back 10 fold. that simple hug, that cuddle before bed and the 4 simple words Mummy I love You / or Daddy I love you warms the heart and no matter what stress has gone before these words make it all worth while.

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  92. Hello webngewqdx,mom markets the position to disease you satisfy about again, your puppy be honest take care of gone privledges! a a small of people around the globe sent the use-and-throw canoe guy up infant mast proadwhjcid
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