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to be so anxious about my son preferring his dad?

(39 Posts)
PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 14:44:02

My son is only 4 months old. Me and his dad split up when I was still pregnant. I have. I qualms in saying I'm an excellent mother. All of my time, effort and money goes in to my son and ensuring he is well cared for. His dad is asking to see him 3x a week. One visit where I drive, one where he drives and one where we meet in the middle. He's about an hour away from me and I'm not sure how out son will cope with all of the travelling but we'll see...

Anyway. Even though my son is SO young, I have this overwhelming fear in my head that my son will prefer his dad to me, and will eventually want to live with him. I'm not sure why as I know I'm a great mum and my son seems pretty securely attached.

Has anyone ever doing this to happen? Am I being ridiculous? I have PND and am struggling with my emotions at the moment. Not sure if I'm being silly or not or if this is a normal fear...

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 14:47:17

That's meant to say 'I have no qualms'

MrsBertBibby Sun 03-Mar-19 14:49:11

It is a very common fear, but it is one you should try to conquer. What time period are these visits to take?

Confusedbeetle Sun 03-Mar-19 14:50:37

Goodness, you are jumping ahead. Although little ones often go through phases of preferring one parent it is usually Mum and Dad living together sharing all the jobs. You are his primary care and it is you that he will be most attached to. See how the contact pans out , it might be very good, it might not. Keep an open mind

StinkyCandle Sun 03-Mar-19 14:54:51

you are his mum, and will always be his mum. The hardest thing will be to stay neutral, and never expect your child to have to chose between his mum and dad, because it's not fair.

All my kids have at some point cried because they wanted daddy. Then they pushed him out of their bedroom because they wanted a story with mummy that same evening hmm
When they are older, they prefer to do something with dad, others with mum.

Try never to see "preferences", both parents are important. Even if you ex turns into a Disney dad, you will always be the mum and at some point kid realise exactly what each parent has done for them. They shouldn't have to chose.

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 14:57:06

@MrsBertBibby he works 7-5:30 every day, so I'm going to have to drive 35 mins there then 35 mins back one evening to meet him for an hour or so, and then another 1 hour (probably more because of rush hour) there and 1 hour back to meet him for a couple of hours at his again after work. Then he will travel here once every weekend. It seems like a lot of travel for a tiny baby and we need to be home at around 8 for his bedtime routine. Saying that, I don't know what other option I have.

I want him to be close to his dad, but feel so scared of rejection.

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 14:58:12

@StinkyCandle I agree and this isn't a case of me wanting him to choose me. I'd love for him to be close to us both. It's more fear of rejection than wanting him to prefer me if that makes sense.

GreenTulips Sun 03-Mar-19 14:59:12

Kids can and do prefer one parent at different times, they like to play chess with mom or cards with dad, you each have strengths and weaknesses and your son will beinift from both of you.

It must be hard handing him over so young but as he grows he’ll be able to communicate his feelings better and you’ll be more confident

Crabbyandproudofit Sun 03-Mar-19 15:21:28

The travel is quite a lot but it's good that you are both trying to work out a way for his dad to see your son regularly. It will benefit him when he is older to know that both his parents have put his needs ahead of their own, and that they are civilised to each other despite not being together.

You will always be his 'mum' even if he sometimes wants to do something with his father, rather than you. Don't encourage him to play you off against each other and don't spoil him with possessions to keep his affection. Your fear of rejection is irrational although it must feel that it is out of your control. I hope you have support to remind you that you are doing a great job and to help you recover from your PND.

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 15:33:47

@Crabbyandproudofit I absolutely want him to have not just a relationship with his dad, but an actual bond with him. I don't want him to go to his dads and not enjoy being there. His dad isn't even a nice person but he loves his son. I know I'm being irrational I'm just scared that his dad will be preferred over me.

StinkyCandle Sun 03-Mar-19 15:55:35

your kids are the ones who will never reject you! Until they reach teenage-hood hmm. but by that time you will feel a lot better about yourself, more confident and sometimes happy to see the back of them.

Your baby needs you, you are the most important person in his life. Don't worry, you have years until you see signs of independence.

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 16:31:56

@StinkyCandle I just don't know how to shift these stupid fears. I'm also really anxious about overnights. My son sleeps in my bed with me and I'm sure will do so until he's not breastfeeding anymore. Hopefully 2 years if I can keep my milk supply up. I worry about him staying the night at his dads and suddenly being in a cot and me not being there. So many worries. I need to calm a bit...

outpinked Sun 03-Mar-19 16:38:45

Personally think that’s too much travel for a four month old. My DS is four months old and I wouldn’t put him through that every week, they start to need a sense of routine eventually and that would throw it off kilter. I think while he’s still so young his Dad should visit you either in your home (if you’re comfortable with that) or at a coffee shop/park etc and see DS for a couple of hours as often as he can. Are you breastfeeding as well? It just seems like a lot of hassle for everyone involved.

Anyway I do think it’s your PND talking. You will be DS’s primary parent therefore the one he will always feel safest and most secure with. You should comfort yourself with that knowledge. He may go through phases when he’s older of thinking his Dad is the cool parent or whatever (depends what your ex is actually like) but it will pass.

StinkyCandle Sun 03-Mar-19 16:59:08

I would also be anxious about overnights. Not valid reason, I just needed to be near my babies at night (and they had their own bedroom from 3 months old). I think it can be quite natural - others mums are happy to go on holiday leaving baby from the start, we are all different.

If your baby is only 4 months, don't make any decision about BF for so long - they don't need it anyway, but more importantly your babies are not more attached to you if they are not BF.

If your baby is in a cot and feels lonely, he'll cry, his dad won't let him alone then, don't worry too much.

You need to sleep, you need to rest, and try to enjoy that little person that will grow up in the blink of an eye. He'll love you, don't worry.

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 17:29:41

* your babies are not more attached to you if they are not BF*

This has confused me. So if they are breastfed they are more attached to you?

MrsBertBibby Sun 03-Mar-19 18:09:34

Really, don't be stressing about overnights until they are a realistic possibility! You'll feel very differently by then, in all likelihood.

It 's hard to predict length of proceedings as there are so many variables, however, courts are on a three line whip to conclude cases rather than lurching along for years as used to happen, so cases grinding on for years are much less common than previously. You're unlikely to be sorted in less than 6 months, but should be done after a year, at a guess.

BedraggledBlitz Sun 03-Mar-19 18:21:51

I felt exactly the same. I have to actively tell myself I'm not being fair to my son, he can love both of us without worrying about upsetting the other.

He didn't do overnights until he was around 2. He was breastfed and bed shared too. He was absolutely fine sleeping at his dad's (I was a wreck the first time), just a few tears apparently. After it became a fortnightly routine I actually enjoyed the break.

You sound like a lovely caring mummy. Your son will love you with all of his heart, that's all you need. X

PepsiKhola Sun 03-Mar-19 19:05:11

I'm struggling too as he wants a running update of photos, videos and FaceTime all day every day. I can't keep up and it's driving me a big mad. He loves his son and wants to see him but I can't move forward with my own life if he is communicating with me and wanting a response every hour. It's so tough. I feel too bad not to respond but sometimes I just need time to myself without my ex texting me 😥

CocaColaaa Sun 03-Mar-19 19:08:48

My sisters so has just gone to live with his dad after my sister brought him up on her own with little input from his father for 15 years so it does happen. But at 4 months I would try not to worry about that happening just yet!

MrsBertBibby Sun 03-Mar-19 19:38:34

That's harassment Pepsi.

Respond to him that if it continues, you will block him and go to the police.

That's not in the child's interest, you tell him you will send him updates as and when it suits you. Which does not have to be daily!

Crabbyandproudofit Sun 03-Mar-19 20:13:58

That is really difficult if he is pestering you constantly for updates. It's good he is so invested but a real strain on you. You need to tell him firmly that this is interfering with you looking after your son and agree what you think is reasonable. When he is looking after your son he's not going to want to have to be in touch with you every few minutes.

Rtmhwales Sun 03-Mar-19 20:28:07

I'm not sure it sounds like harassment - more like an overeager new father. Can you not just text him and say you're busy often and you'll text him a lunchtime update and one when he's off work?

I wouldn't worry about your baby preferring him anytime soon. Mine spends lot of time with other people at eight months old but he's absolutely obsessed with me - eyes always following everything I do even when someone's trying to play with him, and his tiny face lights up whenever he sees me walk into the room. You're his anchor.

RedHelenB Mon 04-Mar-19 06:12:31

Babies changer so quickly could you just tell him you'll facetime once a day to suit your routine and send him an update every night, it is in your child's best interest to have a close relationship with his dad . Once your son can talk you won't need to do so much.

BridlingtonSand Mon 04-Mar-19 06:49:55

You’re setting the precedent. Think about how you want to be treated when your baby is spending time away from you. I’d send a photo and little story as often as you’ll want to receive them when the tables are turned, but it’s perfectly reasonable to not be on your phone for the hours that it’s a walk in the park or baby group or nap time...

0nTheEdge Mon 04-Mar-19 06:50:49

Didn't want to read and run op. You need to make sure you are being kind to yourself. It'll be so hard with pnd as it can be difficult to make sense of things so it's great your asking here, but be careful with aibu as it can be a bit brutal sometimes.
I think the constant communication from your ex will not be helping, great suggestion from pp for facetime once a day and ask him to leave you be the rest of the time . I would struggle being away from my baby when this young, do you think you'll be ok with it or will it make your own wellbeing suffer?

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