Monday, April 21, 2008

I get it already; he's great. Whatever.

Seriously. I am so sick of being the disliked parent. I'm so tired of having my child melt over him and balk at me. I'm over it. Really.

Can Maggie please see me in the morning without the "No, my Dada coming!!" reaction? Or how about actually be ok with me being the one to do anything. I guarantee you that I read stories better than him. I do voices and actually read the words! He flips through and skims the story. Come on.

This weekend was rough. We had a playdate with her friend Hopper, went to the Wiggly Playcenter, and even used our season passes for a quick fun afternoon at Six Flags. And yet, she had three or four different time outs from hitting, pushing, or kicking me because I (heaven forbid) interrupted her playtime with Dad or asked her to do something like put on her jammies. I'm sorry, but I will not tolerate my two year old hitting me. Luckily, Andrew supports me on it too and he made her go to time out several of the times. We always ask her what she did to land her in a time out. Her answer? "Oh, I hit my Mama" with a sly smile on her face.

It's hard at times. I try to remind myself that she is just two and doesn't realize that she is hurting my feelings. I try not to let the mom guilt creep in to tell me that it is because I work and have been away too much. I don't always succeed and I feel so badly sometimes.

Can I blame her? Her dad is pretty darn great. It's no surprise she loves him so much. He's fun and funny. He is patient (way more than Mama most days) and loving. He is one of the most active dads I've ever met, and he's selfless with his time spent with his family. He's the best dad she could have and she absolutely adores him.

I just wish she loved me like that too.


Jill said...

The Happiest Toddler on the Block will help you out..... and for sure you can get it at the library

DBN said...

We are having that same issue with our 3 year old. She wants daddy from the moment she wakes up until she goes to sleep at night. Grrr!

Dukie's Mommy said...

Oh, its been like that in my house since the day my son was born. He never cries for me, and as such, I end up crying buckets myself over it. My husband is also wonderful, so I get it, but it still makes me wish I rated higher than Chopped Liver in my son's eyes.

Susie said...

I don't know what your feelings on this would be-- but try leaving her with a babysitter for a couple of hours. I would guarantee that she'd be very happy to see her Mama when you came back to fetch her! I'm a nanny and as much as I know the kids love me, their little faces light up when their mom comes home. It is quite rare that once the 1.5 year old sees her "MAMA!" I can continue to hold her :( (but good for the moms out there!)

Moi said...

She does love you like that.

How do I know? Because I have two daddy's girls at my house. They want him, him, him, until there is a crisis. Then I'm the one they want.

It is so hard when they are so young. But trust me, it gets better. Mine are now 7 & almost 5. They call foe me now, they want to snuggle with me.

You'll get there. Honest.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me Jen.

"Electra complex"
"Electra complex"
"Electra complex"

Freud was a misogynistic misinformed old coot on a lot of things, but I think he had some good ideas on the whole gender identity formative stages.

And for Christ's sake, let go of the working mom guilt. It's not because you work so much. If you need a slap upside the head on that one, you know another working mom you can call. :)

Love you, and I swear, I SWEAR, this phase passes. Pinky posse swear.

Amy said...

Maggie really knows how to push your buttons. I'm sure that she loves you as much as daddy. Little girls love drama!! Don't feel guilty about working, you are changing lives, and really making making this world a better place. I stay home and my kids still pull the same stuff.
I think your an awesome mom!!

The Nanny said...

It's so tough now, but I can garuntee that in a few years when Miss Maggie is getting ready for her first school dance, or her first date, or anything that involves pretty dresses and makeup--Mama will be the first thing she'll want. And yeah, this phase will pass soon. I've seen it in several kids that I've nannied for. It just really, really stinks going through it! I hope things change soon :-)

~Karley~ said...

Oh Jenny.... Little girls usually always have a very special bond with their fathers. I never understood it until I had my son and he had a bond to me that was similar to the bond between my daughter and her daddy. Maggie looks like a true girl and as she grows she's going to be coming to mommy quite a bit more!!

Susan P said...

Below is a conversation between my son, Carter and my Mom. I copied it from my blog. The conversation happened shortly after my Grandma passed away and my son was always talking about Heaven.

Carter: My Mom will go to Heaven one day.
Gran: Yes, she will...but it will be a long time. We all will go to Heaven one day.
Carter: Not my Daddy.
Gran: Yes, one day (a long time from now, he will too)
Carter: No he will not...he makes cardboard with me (one of Carter's many obsessions).
Gran: Well, your Mom feeds you and takes care of you too.
Carter: Well, Daddy can learn to do all of that too.

So, basically I am chopped liver. I am a SAHM mom and this is the respect I get...ha!

Kim said...

Oh my! I was a full time stay at home mom, and my older two kids, (one married, my daughter, now and one, my son, in college) went through HUGE MAJOR daddy infatuations!! They would fight over who got to hold his hand, who got to sit next to him in the booth at a restaraunt, ect...It would drive me absolutely nuts. It will get better and even out. But, in my humble opinion, you are doing the right thing in not tolerating the hitting.
Mommy guilt is a universal thing--unfortunately it never seems to go completely away. Push away and carry on! You are a great mom--every bit as great as Andrew is a dad.
Kim (in seattle)

Lisa L said...

Hi Jenny - all the above are valid and true comments. I have been a hard working mother to 3 children all my life.(Often with 2 jobs as I'm doing now) But I would like to say here, that I truely believe there is a 'disconnect' which occurs when moms and/or dads are gone for extended periods. eg long work days, and meetings out of town. (Running and ducking from Tracey here :) LOL...but I've seen similar behavior in my children growing up..A study was done (I heard it I think on NPR?) that the longer a child is gone from the parent(s) during the day, the more badly behaved and anxious he or she the study found a corellation between the time of parental absence and subsequent child behavior. I believe it. Been there. Three times. Could you possibly cut back on your hours? Maybe take Maggie with you on a trip to Houston (or wherever) for a trip and some mom/daughter time? It would be a special bonding time for you both,(without daddy around!) and a treat for her. I hope I don't sound preachy. That is not my intention. You are a wonderful and insightful mom. The love for your children is profound.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...the only "study" I know of that came out with that conclusion was one that drew quite a hailstorm of controversy a few years ago because it did not take into account several very important factors like quality of childcare, socio-economic status, the quality of relationship between parent/child, and several other factors that dramatically affect a child's environment.

In sum, it was used by some social conservatives to argue that working mothers are doing a disservice to their children, when the reality is that the study was incredibly ineffective at reliably predicting ANY sort of outcome for children based on whether they were in a daycare or not.

I call bunk on that study. And bunk that Jenny is not spending enough time with Maggie, therefore partially causing this behavior. I think her blog focuses on what she does for HFC a lot, misleading the readers as to the amount of time she travels and/or works.

But that's just one "IRL" best friend's opinion. :)

Rachel said...

Hello! I have never posted on your blog before but I have been a long time reader. That being said...

Lisa I have to comment on telling Jenny she needs to spend more time with Maggie. Maggie is 2, all kids go through this stage at some point. My daughter has gone through it wanting me over my husband and wanting my husband over me. She is only 5 and I have seen it both ways with her.

Right now I am battling with my daughter when I have to drop her off in the mornings before school. She doesn't want me to leave her. She wants me to be the one to take her to school. She has been in school since August and same routine of getting dropped of at the neighbors since August. For the past month this has ben something we are struggling with. Nothing has changed, I drop and pick her up at the same time every day. According to your study (A study was done (I heard it I think on NPR?) that the longer a child is gone from the parent(s) during the day, the more badly behaved and anxious he or she the study found a corellation between the time of parental absence and subsequent child behavior.) So if I have been gone from her the same amount of time every day since August why is this just now becoming an issue for us? Why is she just now acting up about it? Sorry but I have to say this study is a piece of crap. And I really dont mean to be rude I just have a real hard time with you telling Jenny she doesnt spend enough time with Maggie. You can tell from her post how much she loves and admires that girl. She talks all the time about the things they did together. Look at the pictures, and all the post about this beautiful baby girl and see how much her momma does for her and with her.

Jenny - You are a terrific momma. I to battle with the mommy guilt but I think all mommys do.

Minivan Mom - I love the way you jumped right in and stood up for Jenny, Jenny is lucky to have you as a friend.

Lisa L said...

Oh my goodness. I wasn't telling Jenny she wasn't spending enough time with Maggie.... I was wondering if having a little extra time with her (just the 2 of them) would help with their r'ship. Jenny is clearly upset. Most parents are when faced with the same issue. Believe me, I understand 2 year olds. Please know this...In no way am I condemning Jenny. And remember...I'm a working mom too...I rarely got that 'extra time' with my children, and to this day I wonder if it may have been a causitive factor in some of their behavioral stuff. Please, please, please Jenny, if you read this I am not ragging on you..And Rachel, I did mention in my post that Jenny was a wonderful, insightful mom, with a profound love for her children. No way am I trying to be controversial. I want to apologize if I gave you a different impression. I've been following Jenny's blog since little baby Allie was diagnosed. Jenny is the mom we'd all love to have.

Jill B. said...

I agree with the person who mentioned having you and Maggie spend a little one-on-one time together. This does not have to entail anything extravagant like a trip. Quite the contrary, a trip to Dairy Queen for "girls only, no boys allowed." You can play it up that it is just for the two of you. I think she might like having an ice cream with her mom. As I say any time spent alone with kids is valuable, no matter how short and no matter how simple.

I have a 5-year-old son. I have spent his entire childhood at home. He and I have a different bond than the one I have with my daughters (9 and 12). When they were his age I worked from home--very long hours. I have found that I need to earmark time to spend alone with them so that I stay connected. Again nothing elaborate.

And just remember "it is just a phase." This phrase has always helped get me through the rough spots in my children's development.

Mom on the Run

elke said...

Jenny- you are an inspiration to me and help me with my thoughts and beliefs on parenting and "wifing". Your husband, daughters and work colleagues are so lucky to have you in their lives. I know it hurts when they do this as one of my daughters still does it to me at 7. Her twin sister is more aware now of how it makes me feel. However our sons who are 3 and 4 do it to my husband!! So in our house we get the 2 sides to it. Keep being the beautiful person you are and Maggie will grow up with so much love and respect for you!!

lovemygirls said...

I have 2 girls and one is 5 and a mommy's girl (although she went through a spell where she only wanted Daddy around 2-3). My youngest is 3 and she only wants Daddy. I am a stay at home Mom, so it can't be because of work, so stop feeling guilty. I do everything with her and am with her all the time, but as soon as Daddy comes home, I am chopped liver. I told her I loved her when she was sitting on his lap and she said "No, I love Daddy." I know it stinks, but it is just a phase. You are a great Mom. I have never posted before, but followed you blog for a long time.

The six foot tall red head... said...

Jenny, it took 3 kids before I finally got one that preferred me over my husband! And even if you ask my youngest who's more fun, mommy or daddy, we hear a resounding "Daddy!!!" It's hard to deal with as a working mom who has to travel and leave her kid(s). I always hang onto the moments when I walk back into the house after I have been away and I get all three of them running towards me to give me hugs and yelling "Mommy!" Remember that blog you posted on March 27 and you told us about Maggie's greeting? That's what you remember when she starts yelling for her daddy - that's where the love is! - Kelly

Anonymous said...

I think her preference may be due to the daddy and daughter bond. My son is four and pretty much always prefers me to my husband. It's gotten a lot better but he will still choose me anyday. My friends with daughters seem to have the same kinds of issues you are having. See you just need to have a son!!

Franklin5 said...

Oh, Jenny... I don't have one single word of wisdom or insight. Just hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.


Candice said...

Girl, I know exactly what you mean! Sabrinas first words in the morning are "where's Dada?" and then she asks all day" when Dada coming home?" and now she is even starting to pit us against eachother, if I tell her "no" she tells me, "I go ask Dada" Thankfully Dada backs me up or we might have a real monster on our hands ;)

Candice said...

oh and since I am a stay at home mom, I'm not so sure that you working has anything to do with it. I certainly think it's the age. Oh well, at least Aidan still loves me ;)

mum1228 said...

Uh, you can have a mama's boy. ;) My son is back and forth with me and his Papa. I think it really is just a phase. Also, I think there seems to be a different relationship with each parent. And they have a preference for each parent depending on the circumstance. I just try to appreciate that we as a family not only have one big relationship but a seperate one with each other. Anyway...just my two humble cents. ;)

Blythe said...

While all this good advice is certainly that, I'm suprised no one has addressed the hitting, pushing etc. issue. That behavior is unaccepatable, even from a 2 year old who, believe me, DOES know it hurts your feelings. Also, where has she learned that behavior and what in her personality leads her to resort to that resolution of getting daddy over mom, 3-4 timeouts and then SMILING about her behavior that she obviously knows is wrong?
Granted, this will not be a popular post because I'm not giving love and consoling remarks about how it's a phase and will pass. Not addressed now, it will become an issue in later school years and directed at classmates or teachers.
Four children of mine never, ever resorted to hitting the non preferred parent because it was never in their nature to begin with.
I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just trying to open your eyes. But it's something I'm sure you already see.

Jenny said...


Thank you for your comments. I can see from reading this ONE blog entry about this situation that you feel you can address the behavior of my daughter. However, you don't know my daughter. You don't know that when I say "push" I mean the tiniest shove that she can muster with her little body that I will not tolerate. When I say hit, I am referring to the slight hit she has done that again we shut down immediately. She doesn't understand time-outs and doesn't get anything out of them. No wonder why she is smiling when she gets out. We are still looking for that proper discipline that works for Maggie.

I never said that this behavior wasn't being addressed now. It most certainly is. What I didn't say is that she hugs more than she ever does anything else. She is two and navigating through her emotions.

You were most certainly right about one thing--this most certainly wasn't a popular response. You're certainly entitled your comments. I'm just entitled to think it is a bunch of bullshit.

The Nanny said...

You go, Jenny. "Blythe" is just one of those stupid people trying to cause trouble. Maggie's two. That's NORMAL two year old behavior in my book! (Of course, Maggie pales in comparison to the greatness that are Blythe's four amazing, perfectly well-behaved children.)

Franklin5 said...

I'm sorry, but I call bullshit on Blythe's comment, every single word of it.

There's just no way that any woman (or man) who's ever parented (or, as Nanny can attest, cared for) anything larger than a Shih-Tzu could credibly express such wonder and amazement that a toddler HITS.

Certainly not a mother of FOUR. Not "in their nature?" BULL. SHIT.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa L said...

(((Jenny))) (((Andrew)))) (((Maggie)))

You're all going to be OK. Its all good. You are great,dedicated parents. Maggie is a beloved little girl finding her way. She will. You will. Parenting....its for the birds sometimes....hugs from Hawaii

The Nanny said...

P.S. BLYTHE, I find it extremely hard to believe that a woman as intelligent as Jenny is (well, seems to be, since I don't actually know her) would allow "that behavior" by her 2 year old to go unaddressed. But that's just me.

Blythe said...

I beg to differ, Jenny. You have posted one blog on her hitting etc,... perhaps....but several entries regarding her preference for dad over mom and your sebsequent hurt feelings. I, like many indviduals out here, have been following your story since Allie was ill. I have enjoyed your many thoughts and insights on motherhood, love, loss and life again. I also have had several laughs at remembering my children at that age, and contrary to the brainless remark on here, my children, who are now 21, 20,18 and 17 are far from perfect, never have been, and I will be the first to admit it. All I said, was that as they grew up, they never hit a non preferred parent, and believe what you want, never hit a parent at all.
No, I don't personally know your daughter, but since you have made almost every aspect of your life a public forum, it's easy to see recurring themes in your entries about your family for someone not so emotionally attached to your life. Frankly, the blind devotion that some of these people have on here towards you is somewhat irritating. (And no, before any of you say it, I will not just stop reading this website.)
And for such a good mother, your aggressive language screams loudly about your feelings and gives credence to where and how your daughter has learned how to vent hers.

Franklin5 said...


I don't speak for Jenny. And although we're friends, which is a remarkable blessing in my life, I certainly wouldn't characterize myself as blindly devoted.

So let me speak as I did before: not in defense of Jenny, because as you've seen, she can defend herself incomparably well without any assistance from anyone else, thank you very much.

No: let me speak as a mother, one who is beyond baffled and weary and worn by the delight that other mothers seem to take, particularly when they're shrouded in the anonymity of the Internet, in tearing down other mothers.

The glee that some women to find in pointing out the faults of those they deem unfit or inferior: I'll never, as long as I live, understand it.

You think you have all the answers? GOD BLESS YOU. I mean it.

But I challenge you, Blythe: can you honestly look back through the fog of two decades of mothering and imagine a time when you were at a loss for answers? When your (admittedly imperfect) children misbehaved and you felt you'd tried everything? When you worried, deep down in that dark interior place, that you were flunking the test, and failing your child in the process?

I'd be willing to bet my house that there's not one of us here, NOT ONE, who hasn't had that moment. More than once. Much more.

Blythe, swallow your generous pride for just one minute and remember that moment... cringe in the humility of it... and ask yourself: how important was it for you to imply what you did in your original comment? What was your purpose? Who was it really meant to help?

Not Jenny; that's for damned sure. Did it make YOU feel better to step in with chiding instead of compassion? Was it just to stroke YOUR ego? And last but certainly not least: was it worth it?

Anonymous said...

I can hear Jenny yelling at me "IGNORE IT" even as I type, but, well, I can't.

In addition to a big fat DITTO to what Amy just wrote, I have to say that I'm even more dumbstruck by Blythe's follow up remark - it would be easy to dismiss her first snide "observation" as just another blog troll. Just another anonymous internet person who builds themselves up by tearing someone else down.

But to use one of Amy's words, I'm gobsmacked that this person is a longtime reader of Jenny's, someone who followed Allie's story, who feels entitled to spew that sort of shit on this blog. MOST people, MANY people, are grateful and impressed that Jenny reveals so much of her personal life on this blog. Indeed, Allie's story has made the world a better place - hundreds of thousands of dollars has been raised for cancer reasearch, not to mention the countless number of random acts of kindness and generosity that has been inspired and instigated by Jenny's writing.

But for you to come on here and use that AGAINST Jenny, to feel entitled to write something hurtful because Jenny "puts it out there" - well, forget what type of mother are you, what type of PERSON are you Blythe, to do that? That's not blind devotion speaking, although certainly as one of Jenny's best friends I'm feeling defensive on her behalf, but it goes beyond that - my inner compass is reeling at the lack of yours.

Stop commenting - you are only making yourself look meanspirited and, to put it bluntly, like a royal bitch.

The Nanny said...

I don't know Jenny. And yeah, I'm biased because I happen to love her and her family, even though I've only "known" them from the internet. But honestly, Blythe, even an unbiased outsider would agree that you're being completely and totally bitchy. Jenny has agressive language? Um...have you read any of your comments?

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

Oh sweetie, she does love you like that. It is healthy for a child to prefer one parent over another and is is very, very common for toddlers to chose the opposite sex parent. (thus the saying Daddy`s girl, Mama`s boy)
It does shift, you WILL get your turn.