My son doesn't want me :(

(28 Posts)
SilkySocksSinkShips Thu 18-Apr-13 20:12:00

I am the WOHM and DP is the SAHD. A month ago, I changed my job which is now your average Mon-Fri. I have much more of a commute each day so I am out of the house at least 10 hours a day. I see DS for at most, 30mins in the morning and an hour before his bedtime. He was 2 three weeks ago.

He has changed towards me so much. He very much favours DP which is completely understandable, but it doesn't make it less easier to handle. He never wants to kiss/cuddle me, I try play with him and he points to the sofa telling me to sit down. If I don't, he becomes visibly agitated before pushing me away. Once I move, he will chatter and laugh to his daddy and act as if I'm not there. He refuses anything from me in his bedtime routine. He tells me to 'out' if I try help with bath/teeth and will continuously ask for his daddy.

He hates me changing him and will scream for his daddy if I attempt to pick him up or get him undressed. He won't let me read him a bedtime story, or put him to bed. He refuses to say goodnight or give me a kiss/cuddle and refuses any affection from me. I got a wave over his shoulder when DP said to him, 'say good night to mama'.

It's soul-destroying and getting to the point that I'm dreading getting home from work. I always interact with him but he is simply not interested. I'm starting to regret the decision to have DP at home with him now and resent the time he gets with DS. I don't know how to improve our weekday relationship (he is fine at weekends, it's only on days I'm working he acts like this).

How do I get my child to actually want to see me?! sad

*This is not a WOHM vs SAHM thread, I simply want to improve my relationship with my child

LightAFire Thu 18-Apr-13 21:13:25

Aw that's hard! I think he does want you though. The fact that this is only happening during days you work gives me real hope. I think he misses you but is showing it in a negative way - he is very little after all. I am no expert with this age group but I think I'd advise trying to stay as calm as you can (easier said than done I know!) Do your best to show no reaction to the rejection, just keep gently offering your attention and if he says no, just say nicely "ok, that's fine sweetie" and step back.

FWIW my DD was like this with grandparents at times when she was 2 - my mum always just smiled and backed off calmly, the MIL would get so hurt. DD continued it much longer with the MIL - once she saw my mum was not reacting (yet continuing to offer attention) she stopped it. Oh also, if DD said things like "get out" we would tell her that wasn't a polite/nice thing to say, that kind of thing - so tackling the manners rather than anything else. But that was more when she was nearer 3 than 2.

And I've heard loads of parents say their kids go through a phase of this with first one parent then the other - just try not to let it cut you up. His behaviour at the weekends shows how much he does want you - make sure you make the most of that time, and your relationship will improve naturally. Hang in there!

Paleodad Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:48

we're at present in a similar situation to you, working mum with me as primary carer. youngest DS had a phase just like this, but it was just a phase and lasted only a few weeks.
Now its a completely different story with both our DC (both admittedly a little older that yours): "I want mummy to sit by me, not you daddy", "mummy read my stories" etc etc.
they're both absolutely disintested in me as soon as DW gets home, simply because they see less of her in the week than me (that's what I tell myself anyway!)
don't worry OP, it will get better

SilkySocksSinkShips Thu 18-Apr-13 22:11:21

Thank you for the replies.

I am hoping it is just a phase, I stay as consistent as possible with him, it's just so hard when he displays an absolute lack of interest when I try so hard to talk to or play with him.

I try not to show I'm upset or anything but it is hurtful when your own child is leaning away from you asking for daddy instead.

LightAFire Thu 18-Apr-13 23:28:17

It is very very hard and I do feel for you. We had it the other way round with me on maternity leave and my DD did same to my ex - even now I do still feel sorry for him, it was quite heartbreaking for him.

Two thoughts for you - a two year old doesn't think like an adult so he has no idea how hurtful this to you. Someone once suggested to me that they are just starting to learn that they can affect others and get a response, and they experiment with that, and that's why the "no response" works best. (Like with a tantrum - you'd try to stay calm and unaffected.) I don't know if that's true but of course they are creatures of want/don't want and so can be tactless!!

And also, my mum has a little saying about how people react instinctively which has helped me a lot: "Can't have = must have, must have = don't want." Or in other words, try a little reverse psychology and back away a touch rather than come forwards too much, if that makes sense. But in as relaxed a manner as you can manage - the mistake my ex made was that he was so hurt he just gave up on DD entirely and stopped trying to communicate at all. My mum's "calm and content" withdrawal combined with gentle offers of attention worked a lot better, but believe me I do know just how hard it is. DD also did it to me for a few weeks (but with other adults not the ex) and I was gutted! My mum gave me the whole "act like you don't mind thing" and it wasn't easy but she was right. And it was just a phase and paleo is right, it will get better.

Wishing you all the best with it!

rootypig Fri 19-Apr-13 03:33:34

That sounds so hard, OP. I agree with LightAFire, I think he misses you and needs you is pushing you away to test your love, if that makes sense. So difficult not to take the rejection personally but don't let him push you away - keep going with the time, attention, kisses, cuddles, explicit verbal affection, while trying to maintain acceptable behaviour boundaries (not too much to ask then!) - you and he will get there. Just keep reminding yourself what a tiny child he is and how much he loves and needs you.

Fyi am speaking from the perspective of an adult who as a child and young person withdrew from my parents, for various complicated reasons, and they let me, and I felt very lonely and unloved for a long time as a result.

Yes he's pushing you away as his sign of unhappiness. My ds still does this at 3.6.

Keep up the interest in his play, keep up the cuddles when you get home. Perhaps make sure you do bedtime or something is just you and him. your DH has to disappear though! Don't let him step in.

It'll take time to adjust but don't take it as your ds pushing you away - he's too young to articulate his feelings.

MummaBubba123 Fri 19-Apr-13 04:57:45

My son used to run towards me instinctively for a moment when I arrived home from work (for literally one second) before literally doing an about turn and running away - rejecting me. It was painful but passed. Instinctively, I felt this was his way of showing he was hurt by me having left him all day.

deXavia Fri 19-Apr-13 05:00:16

I travel a bit with my job. DD and DS both went through phases like this at 2 and DD can still do it a bit at 4. I found it best to just sit down and start playing with a toy as opposed to playing with them - if you see what I mean. Less pressure / reaction and they be shuffling over to see what I was doing or just lean against me.
Bed time was actually always me but never there dad - in that case we simply said ' no daddy is putting you to bed' and then I would disappear and stay away. Make sure your DP is backing you up and not diving in at the first protest.
It is gutting but try not too worry - i do believe this is a phase

vicandjon Fri 19-Apr-13 06:02:02

of course your son loves you!
dont be silly smile
you are not understanderstanding HIS message. he pulls you away not because he doesnt love you , but because he is angry at you. in his eyes, you left him ( he doesnt understand you have to go to work) all he knows is that you are not there for him.
its a stage, he will settle and get used to not having you around as many hours as before.
children dont stop loving mum or dad, they just show a different feeling, now he is showing you anger, sadness and dissaproval. he misses your time together, thats all.
it will pass, you will see!

MummaBubba123 Fri 19-Apr-13 07:30:44

Forgot to say it was a phase. I used to play with something on my own n pretend not to be bothered. He sometimes gravitated towards me after a while if I did so.=

missmapp Fri 19-Apr-13 07:34:56

We had this, ds1 would do this with DH , refuse to let him read stories, do baths etc.
We just acted as a solid piar and would refuse his demands. We have always taken it in turns to do stories so when it was DHs turn it was 'Daddy is reading tonight, or there is no story'
It was hard, especially for DH, but when ds1 saw we were not to be divided he stopped moaning!
That was a few years ago, and it hasn't happened since.
Your son loves you.!!

BitOutOfPractice Fri 19-Apr-13 07:38:38

Please do believe it's just a phase (it's hard to remember that when you're in the middle of it!) and that almost every single child goes through it at one stage or another.

Try not to let it feel personal - he's only just two and so I suspect he's not making some Daily Mail point about working mothers being the root of all evil wink

It's hard now and it hurts but it'll pass. Promise.

olgaga Fri 19-Apr-13 07:47:06

Don't worry OP it's just a phase. He's clearly an unhappy little boy right now and this is how he is demonstrating it. He'll adjust, just carry on being consistent.

I recommend baking sessions at the weekend!

Can you get dh to leave the house for an hour when you get back so you can do bath and bed with no distraction? Also spend a bit of one on one time together at the weekends? Sounds like he needs to rediscover the mummy bond a bit and he will be more into you if daddy isn't around for him to cling to. He loves you, of course he does, but things have changed in his little world and he's holding on to what makes him feel secure which for now is his daddy.

NumTumDeDum Fri 19-Apr-13 07:56:27

My dd used to do this. She'd be worst on a Monday, gradually thawing towards Friday as she got used to me being at work, lovely over the weekend and then back to ignoring me on Monday as she got the shock of me not being there again. It will pass, try to stay calm and not react, the advice above is good.

lydiajones Fri 19-Apr-13 17:26:25

My son was like this at 2, I could not leave him in the room with my husband (or anyone else) as he would scream and cling on to me but it was just a phase.

Oh it must be painful, but absolutely agree with everyone. It is a (horrible) phase and he just needs lots of tolerance and patience in return - then vent to DH later.

Dd was like this with DH at 2- he felt v hurt- now at 3 she adores him.

Also, as bit out of practice says, it's not personal.
Dd used to yell to DH; " I annoyed wiv you" - so This became our catchphrase for a while. Be strong, be confident, your boy loves you.

SilkySocksSinkShips Fri 19-Apr-13 21:10:10

Thank you for the reassurances. He was actually very much demanding my attention this eve - a complete turn around! It probably helped that I was early from work so I got to sit with him whilst he had his tea.

He asked me to do everything for him tonight - hide and seek, bath, pyjamas, milk and bedtime. Didn't ask for daddy until story time. Progress! A happy mum and a happy child.

Also, I always set aside 'us' time. Either a morning or afternoon at the weekend I take him out alone and we will walk/play, grab some lunch etc. It's now the weekend so I'm looking forward to spending whole days with him.

LightAFire Fri 19-Apr-13 21:35:01

Very pleased for you SilkySocks have a lovely weekend smile

olgaga Fri 19-Apr-13 23:40:03

That's great Silky!

I came back to add that also children can get tired and irritable at the end of the day whether you're there all day or not - mine is anyway!

Have a great weekend and no more beating yourself up.

CautionaryWhale Sat 20-Apr-13 00:28:10

Aww bless Silky!
Was about to post to cheer you up with the opposite experience btw...
namely that as soon as DH comes home from work I do not get a look in!!
along with ''Daddy work?'' asked several times a day and an excited ''DADDY!!!!!'' when the door goes.

I went out with DC1 the other day and DC2 apparently asked about me 5x I came up the stairs and for the first time heard ''MUMMY!!!!!'' as i opened the door [about time too] wink

It hurts to be on the receiving end of indifference/favouritism of your dp but it is usually just habit/phase/way of venting or getting attention and it won't - as has been proven tonight - last.

I do not tend to get too envy though as I am more happy and relieved that my DC are so close to their dad. plus i get to sit and mumsnet moo ha boo ha 'cos they want you'

MummaBubba123 Sat 20-Apr-13 09:37:02

So pleased to hear that. Lovely! I've found a few times that when I've got to the end of my tether about something and asked for advice... it's suddenly resolved itself!

spanky2 Sat 20-Apr-13 09:43:01

Children only show their worse face to their Mum . It is not personal he has no idea that you have feelings . Carry on as normal do what you usually do. Get Daddy to say no that you are doing it is. It is a phase . My ds have been through these phases .

Hope you are having a good weekend - enjoy him, even when he's being a 'terrible two'!

Flicktheswitch Sun 21-Apr-13 17:14:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HearMyRoar Sun 21-Apr-13 17:52:44

Hi, just another view point for you. Me and my dp do exactly the same amount of childcare and both work part-time. We have kept things as equal as possible from the start with dp taking 3 months leave after I had mat leave. Despite the time we spend with her being exactly the same dd still goes through phases of favouritism. She's had weeks when she will only want me and weeks when only dp would do. She's only 13 months so much younger then yours but it is still noticeable when she has a phase.

I have come to the decision that it's just one of those things Its not a thought out, personal attack, its just a phase that is annoying and a bit upsetting but if you ride it out it will pass.

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