When your child wants only one parent, it can be detrimental to all the relationships. One parent becomes physically and emotionally drained while the other parent wonders what they could have done wrong to cause it. But there is a simple solution that will remind your children you both love them and can take care of them equally well.
Both the girls were laid out on the couch with 102 fevers.
I had been by their side most of the week. This was our first run-in with the flu and it was ugly to say the least.
Between pumping them full of medicines, holding their hair when they threw up, and comforting them in the way only a mom can, I was emotionally and physically drained. I hadn’t slept in a week and as much as I wanted to will them better, I just couldn’t.
An Innocent Offer To Help
A day or two later, when the fevers had started to subside, my sweet hubby offered to come home from work an hour early to help in any way he could. I jumped at the chance!
I wasn’t looking to even get out of the house – just thought maybe if the girls had another loving parent to help take care of them, I could, ya know…shower, pee, think.
But none of that panned out. As Bryan walked in the door, both the girls clung to me. When Hannah asked for a drink, only I could get it. When Hazel needed to blow her nose, only I could help her.
And so on and so on.
Finally, dejected and sad, Bryan went outside to work in the yard. I mean, he wasn’t any help inside.
Here Was A Problem That Had Been Brewing – My Girls Only Want Their Mom
And while that week was the extreme…it really embodied a brewing problem we had for quite some time.
My girls only ME a lot of the time.
And while it’s great to be wanted and needed and have that special relationship with my girls, I knew that what was happening was at the detriment of the relationship with their dad.
And I knew that right now is a critical time for my girls (4 and 6) to strengthen that bond with him before boys and hormones and rebellion can even enter the picture.
Now was the time for the foundation to be poured.
And it was also critical for me to not fall into a rut of thinking that only I could take care of the girls because over time, that would have caused resentment in everyone.
How I Showed My Kids I’m Not The Only Parent That Loves Them
So what did I do that changed everything?
Sure, I could have forced some things – like refusing to comb their hair and only letting Bryan do it. But I knew that would have ended in tears and not the outcome I so wanted.
So instead, I removed myself from the picture…for almost an entire day.
Not in an “I’m sick of this, I need time for me!” way. There was no anger or frustration involved.
Nope – I woke up one morning and told the girls Mommy had lots of errands to run and it was a beautiful day and they were going to have lots of fun with Dad!
They teetered for a few minutes on the verge of tears but they were excited about what Dad might have planned.
And guess what?
The day was AMAZING. For everyone.
Bryan did the things that a dad does best – he took them to a building clinic at Lowe’s. He wore them out riding bikes and playing at the park. They came home and relaxed together to watch a movie.
He fed them breakfast and lunch and no one starved to death.
He helped them get dressed and brush teeth and comb hair and no one looked like a ragamuffin.
He wiped noses and kissed boo-boos.
He was a Dad.
What Was Learned…And Gained
The girls saw him as just that. A Dad who loves them very much and IS VERY capable of taking care of them.
Bryan began to regain his own confidence which had been slowly broken down when the girls wanted only me.
And I got to see that I don’t have to be Super Woman every day. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful partner in life and I needed to let him fill that role.
So if you feel like you are struggling because your child is only happy with you (or your spouse), try relinquishing the reigns for a bit.
It’s easier said than done. We all fall into a “role” we feel we need to play based on what we feel in our heart and the way others need us.
But it’s not always the healthiest role even if it’s the one we’ve become accustomed to.
If your children are in the position of having two loving, supportive parents, don’t miss out on the chance to show them!
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