It would make any mom pause and wonder if her kids hate her and start to question what she did to make her kids despise her presence so much that they would actually burst into tears crying for Daddy the moment she says "Bedtime!" on a consistent basis.
Fortunately, I've gone through this before with each kid and I'm aware that it's not something I've done. It's actually quite a natural occurrence with kids and parents. Each child goes through a phase of showing more love and affection to one parent, then the next, bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball at an Olympics table tennis match. It's nothing to do with one or the other being a better parent. It just *is*.
So if you're a new parent and this is happening
You don't suck as a parent and you have my permission to smack your partner upside the head if s/he dares to taunt you by saying the kids show good taste by choosing them over you. In fact, I give you permission to smack them twice. Tell them the second smack is from me.
That being said, when (notice I did not say if) this happens to you, you have two options on how to deal with being the one on the outs. You can
- take it personally and feel hurt that you are not the stars in your child's eye for the time being, and wallow in a bout of self pity. This leads to the eating of many pints of ice cream, watching sad movies that deal with families being ripped apart, which leads to the purchasing of many boxes of tissues, a larger size pair of pants, and a new psychologist named Fran who never smiles and stares at you like you're a freak.
- Quietly snicker under your breath as your parental unit partner herds the cats kids upstairs for teeth brushing, PJ's, referreeing on whose turn it is to pick a book, and multiple trips up the stairs telling them to "STOP SOUNDING LIKE A HERD OF ELEPHANTS AND GO TO SLEEP BEFORE I COME UP THERE AND DUCT TAPE YOU TO THE BEDS". And while said partner does this, you can happily get yourself a serving of your preferred alcoholic beverage, and start celebrating the fact you survived another day with children by diving into that book you've been meaning to devour. Or maybe watch some TV shows you wanted to catch up on but were not child appropriate. The night is yours and the choices are limitless!
I chose option two, myself. There *are* good possibilities with option one (helloooo ice cream!) but looking at each path, I don't think Fran and I would get along.
I admit, sometimes it hurts when you want to be the one to tuck them in and give your kids a goodnight kiss and they run away screaming for Dad. Even when you know you're a kick ass parental unit, you still stop and cringe for a moment. But I also know that there are times when only Mom will do too, and nothing Dad does is enough. It balances out. I also know that the main reason I'm on the outs right now is because J is willing to read Zelda graphic novels to the kids and I've been putting my foot down. It's written right to left and it messes my brain up. Give me "David Gets In Trouble" or "Click Clack Moo".
So, don't let it get you down. Give yourself a moment to cringe, then mentally remind yourself how you now have first dibs on the alcohol and can be in control of the TV remote. And ENJOY it! Trust me, it will be your turn again soon.
Originally published http://suburbanrebelmom.com on 3/19/12