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Mum working full time and baby wants dad not me.

(21 Posts)
Cloud10 Tue 23-Feb-16 08:37:38

Just that really. I have a 14 month old daughter who I love more than anything, she's wonderful. I went back to work 4 months ago, doing 4 days a week, so she's in nursery those days, and we get one full day a week just the two of us. I also have quite a lot of travel in my job and can be away for up to a week every couple of months. Her dad works full time.
My problem is I feel like I'm damaging our bond by working so much. She isn't that interested in me, but as soon as daddy comes in her eyes light up and she dashes over to him for a cuddle. If I'm holding her and he's there she pushes me away and wants him instead. The other day she started wailing just because he left the room and she was stuck with me! I play with her lots, take her out to places and give her lots of love but it doesn't seem enough. I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance, I can't help but think I have messed everything up by leaving her so much. I don't want to leave her, I've tried to cut my hours at work but they won't let me, and we'd struggle financially if I quit (although I am tempted). I just wonder if this is a phase and if she'd be doing this regardless of whether I worked. I just feel constantly guilty, either because I'm not giving her enough because I'm working so much, and then if I take time off I feel guilty for not doing enough at work. I don't care about work and would much rather be with my daughter, but it's a good career so I need to put the work in to keep it going, and it would be difficult to get back into if I left. Any (preferably non-judgemental, I'm struggling to keep it together as it is!) thoughts much appreciated - do all toddlers do this or am I really damaging our relationship?

BigSandyBalls2015 Tue 23-Feb-16 08:43:07

Was discussing something very similar with my closest friend yesterday. She has a nearly 14 month old DD, but doesn't work. Her DH works full time. Their DD is exactly the same, despite mum being there all the time, she just wants dad when he's around. So it must be very normal for this stage. I'm sure she adores you.

TheCokeMachine Tue 23-Feb-16 08:58:56

Don't feel guilty, I went back to work at 10 months with both of mine. I worked long hours and often just got home at bedtime. DH was working too, but he always picked them up from nursery. For some reason they both seemed to prefer him when they were babies. My eldest girl was the worst, she seriously favoured my husband.

They are now 2 and 4 and it was a phase (actually it still goes in phases). The eldest child prefers me at the moment, the youngest will go to whoever is offering food or cuddles but will only let DH bath her and settle her to sleep.

Don't beat yourself up, it used to upset me when the eldest would only want DH and people used to comment that she was a Daddies girl. Now those same people (MIL I'm looking at you!) say she's such a Mummies girl. By the time I'd had my second I was able to shrug it off more easily because I knew that children 'just do that'.

You are not damaging your relationship with her, she loves you both equally I promise.

northdownmummy Tue 23-Feb-16 09:07:09

Definitely a phase. My DD was like this for ages, a proper daddy's girl. Recently (she's just turned 3) only mummy will do and she's quite vical about rebuffing him which i can see is really difficult.

vichill Tue 23-Feb-16 09:08:31

I'm a SAHM and my toddler eldest prefers her dad. It ramped up a gear when I had my youngest. Short of staying at home with one for ever more I don't think it can be avoided with some children who have awesome dad's. I've read they go through phases of favouring others to become independent. The fact she has such a positive bond with her dad means you nailed the primary bond partsmile.

duckbilled Tue 23-Feb-16 09:14:29

I am on my own with my two dd's all day, but as soon as daddy comes home I am forgotten about hmm.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Tue 23-Feb-16 09:17:21

I even get this with the dog - I feed him, walk him etc. Daddy comes home and he's delirious!

mimishimmi Tue 23-Feb-16 09:22:17

It's not because you are working. I stayed home with DD and she was similar at that age. It's called 'Daddy's little girl' for a reason. Try not to take it personally... they just go through phases of preferring one parent over the other.

ODog Tue 23-Feb-16 10:57:34

My DS dos exactly the same at that age. I went back to work when he was just a year but only 2 days per week from home and pretty much dropped him at my mums at 9.30 and picked him up at 3pm. So very very part time but didn't seem to make any difference to the daddy phase. It lasted a couple of months but the wailing when daddy went to work/left the room etc was a bit hellish for that time.

howabout Tue 23-Feb-16 11:07:16

I am a SAHM and DH worked away a lot when DD1 was small. She still preferred him at that age, especially after DD2 arrived. When she got a bit older she started to get upset if DH and I sat together or showed any affection towards each other. Until they are about 7 it is perfectly normal for DDs to want to marry their Daddy.

Your DD sounds very well bonded and normal if she completely takes you for granted. I now have 3 DDs doing this and 2 of them are teenagers. I sometimes wish I had kept my career just for a bit of appreciation.

Cloud10 Tue 23-Feb-16 14:15:46

Thankyou so much everyone! I'm reading this in the office and am nearly in tears, I really thought people would say I should be spending more time at home. It's just so hard to know what to do when you're pulled in so many directions! Good to know it's probably just a phase though - hopefully I will get a turn soon!

HeyYouGetOffMyCloud Tue 23-Feb-16 14:23:15

Oh yes. Nothing to do with working. Some dc just favour one parent for a bit and then switch.

It's lovely when you're favourite parent but I think it's the responsibility of the current favourite to foster good relationships with the other parent. If daddy really loves mummy then she must be pretty cool too!

onedowneleventogo Thu 25-Feb-16 15:57:06

My 2yo dd plays the same game. I choose to consider it a sign of affection. If she wasn't so secure in my love she wouldn't treat me so flippantly. In fact, when I was working full time and dh was the sahp she was much clingy-er with me which is a little sad. Now I am p/t and he is full and she is back to her Daddy's girl ways. Her latest game is feeding dh blueberries and then offering me one only to snatch it away when I come close.

KatharinaRosalie Thu 25-Feb-16 16:17:22

Her dad works full time, you say - so she simply prefers him as she sees less of him.

Honestly, just a phase.

DontKillMyVibe Fri 26-Feb-16 18:04:54

Not sure if it's just a girl/dad thing? My SIL is a SAHM but by niece seriously preferred her dad for the first 3 yrs

Earlyday Sat 27-Feb-16 23:27:30

When DS2 was a baby he only seemed to like DH. This kind of suited me as DS2 was very high maintenance. Only DH was allowed to push his buggy or lift him and he cried and got distressed if I tried. If DH wasn't there then he was perfectly happy with me. We both spent an equal amount of time away from him at work but there was something about DH he preferred.

DS is 4 now and likes both of us equally - actually I think he likes me slightly better than DH now.

MissBonanza Sat 27-Aug-16 14:00:16

I know this is an old thread but I wondered if the OP had an update as I am going through the same thing right now. My 13 month old just wants her Dad when she's tired or upset and screams and hits me if I try and hold her. We do equal childcare so it's nothing to do with not seeing him as much. It's heartbreaking though

Chattycat78 Sun 28-Aug-16 03:58:19

I'm having the same issue. Ds1 who is 19 months massively favours daddy at the mo. This could be connected to ds2 who came along 11 weeks ago or maybe he would have done it anyway. He screams when dh leaves for work or if he leaves the house and spends all day saying "daddy" "daddy". I take it personally toosad and it's actually infuriating when you're the one doing all the work/looking after them all day and yet all they want is the other parent!

user1471462209 Sun 28-Aug-16 12:36:52

I wouldnt say my 14mo prefers DH but hes certainly become much more equal in her eyes since i went back to work. She also really likes my mum.

She used to be a proper mummy's girl and It does make me feel sad sometimes. Daddy always gets big cuddles but i hardly ever get them!

But i think its a good thing that they can start to form nice relationships with other people. When they are dead clingy to mum i think its when they are not as confident.

Heloise1982 Sun 28-Aug-16 15:35:06

My daughter went through a phase like this at almost exactly the same age. It didn't help that I had terrible pregnancy sickness at the time and it was all I could do most days to lie on the sofa and periodically throw toys in her general direction. It passed though, and now she's scrupulously fair in sharing out her kisses and cuddles (to the extent that if one of us gets one, she has to go and find the other one to cuddle straight after!)

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Sun 28-Aug-16 15:40:03

It's a phase. Promise.
But it still feels hard for you X

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