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Daughter preferring DH to me

(13 Posts)
SouthDownsSunshine Tue 24-May-16 19:09:05

DD is 2.4. For the first year she was clingy with me, and would always seek me out over DH.

I went back to work last February, and DH has done the majority of the childcare since. I work a 2.5 hour commute away - so 2 days a week he does mornings, nursery drop off and bedtimes. One other day I work from home, and the other working day DH has her all day. I have the weekends and one weekday with her (and DH).

DH is a brilliant father, very affectionate, considerate etc. He's more lenient than I am.

For the last 4 months dd has increasingly preferred my DH. At first it was small things, like bedtime. Which I can understand in terms of routine as DH does bedtime 4/7.

But recently she's actively pushed me away. E.g. cuddles on the sofa are with DH. This morning she had a tantrum because I was going to take her downstairs for breakfast. She'll tell me to go away, cry if DH leaves the room.

I find this really upsetting. I don't think I'm a bad parent: I give her cuddles, play and read with her 1-1, I am gentle but set clear boundaries, I'm the one that does crafts etc with her.

DH is being clear with her that it's not ok to push me away, and in the last week has been more proactive at encouraging her to let me do things like bath time.

This situation is really upsetting me. I'd welcome practical steps to help reconnect with her. I'm happy for her to love her daddy this much, but I wish it wasn't accompanied by her pushing me away.

gamerchick Tue 24-May-16 19:13:20

It's normal, very normal and at some point she'll either switch again or let you back in.

In a way it's a good thing as she's very secure in your love for her and knows you're not going anywhere.

I enjoyed the peace me.

gamerchick Tue 24-May-16 19:14:01

And don't take it personally no matter how much it stings.

Gazelda Tue 24-May-16 19:16:02

I promise, promise, promise you that this is just a phase. I've been there, and it was heartbreaking. Try not to take it personally, she is too young to realise how it hurts you.

I got some great advice on MN when I was going through the same. Keep on doing what you're doing, try to introduce a few little Mum/daughter rituals (we started doing funny things while brushing our teeth such as wearing sunglasses, synchronised brushing action etc), show her you love her, show her you love her Dad, do things together while Dad is busy eg baking.

It's tough, I know. But it does get better.

AnnaMarlowe Tue 24-May-16 19:16:48

It's a phase- it'll pass.

Mine were all about Daddy as babies. Then all about me as toddlers then back to Daddy again.

It's fine. They love you both. Don't stress.

Baconyum Tue 24-May-16 19:20:05

Totally normal at this age, she's learning how to relate to the opposite sex.

StopShoutingAtYourBrother Tue 24-May-16 19:20:07

Don't take it personally, even if you do, or let it distance you from your daughter. My relationship with my dd ebbs and flows. Even though I do the lions share of taking care or her she would choose her father 99% of time over me. It doesn't mean she loves me less but she adores him, and at this point in her life he gives her something I'm not. I believe for her to so much choose him over me she feels secure enough in our mother daughter relationship to do so.

I've found depending on her age it fluctuates between me and her df. I'd also say we make it clear that while it's ok to want to spend more time with one parent its not ok to exclude the other.

CityDweller Tue 24-May-16 19:20:47

We've gone through exactly this (and have a similar arrangement re DH doing more childcare). Exacerbated by DC2 coming along, so me being occupied with bf baby, etc. At its peak around 2.8 and now at 3.1 she's finally stopped crying when DH leaves the room! Harder on him than me, I think.

Stuff that helped was me actively making an effort to spend 1-1 time just with DD. Special outings, etc. Also helped me 'reconnect' with her after the baby.

lottielou7 Tue 24-May-16 19:22:52

It's definitely a phase - she's still very little. Don't worry - it will get better.

SouthDownsSunshine Tue 24-May-16 19:25:12

Thanks for these responses, they're really helpful and encouraging.

I will do more 1-1 activities. As all my time with her is shared with DH, I think I need to more proactively seek her out. And send DH to the gym/pub!

AllChangeLife Tue 24-May-16 19:36:23

Or... enjoy the peace while you can!

Mine shows no preference this week - last week it was Daddy, then before me again. He chops and changes.

Totally normal! :-)

StopShoutingAtYourBrother Tue 24-May-16 19:42:39

I'd also add my ds is the opposite of dd - our son would choose me 99% of time over his dad, although I think it's beginning to change. Again dh doesn't make a big deal of it although I'm sure he must find it hurtful. I think children just seem to go through these phases of choosing one parent over another, and it doesn't always seem there's much rhyme or reason behind it.

I'd say your daughter obviously has a great role model in her dad, and his taking care of her and your continuing to be there as Mum will really shape her positively as she grows up. I tease my daughter about how she keeps choosing her dad. It makes me smile - she knows I'll be there for her when she's changed her mind!

Imnotagilmoregirl Tue 24-May-16 20:36:38

Horrible for you. A phase, and a very normal one, if that's any consolation.

Also, high five your dh for being a good egg and backing you up. The tide will turn soon enough, and she'll be asking for you!

In the meantime, sneak a little cuddle whenever you can and try not to take it personally (easier said than done).

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