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My toddler daughter might love her daddy more

32 replies

itsafig · 18/10/2020 14:26

I feel stupid writing this, but I feel so sad about it and don't feel able to speak to anyone in real life about it.

I had DD2 a few months ago, and looking after her is very intense, particularly because she's EBF and a poor sleeper (she only really naps on me in a quiet room).

As a result, care of DD1 (who is 2) has fallen much more on DH. DD1 goes to nursery, DH does drop-offs and pick-ups, does her bath, naps and bedtime. I make a big fuss of DD1 at the weekend and try to get DH to look after DD2 while I spend some time with DD1, but the fact is, DD1 will see daddy as her primary caregiver at the moment.

This is fine except she'll often ask where daddy is if for example I'm doing her bath, or she'll say no I don't want you I want daddy. This absolutely breaks my heart. Prior to DD2 I worked 4 days a week and spent the fifth day with DD1, and we used to sleep together as well (DD1 was also a terrible sleeper), so I feel like things have really changed for us, and I hate that she might like daddy more. DH dismisses this and isn't very sensitive to my feelings on this. Often I feel like a third wheel when I'm following DD1 and DH around a park, carrying the baby while they giggle away.

Am I being too sensitive? Does/did anyone else feel the same? Will I look back and laugh at how precious I'm being? Any advice and thoughts would be gratefully received. Thank you.

OP posts:
itsafig · 18/10/2020 14:42

Hopeful bump Daffodil

OP posts:
RemyHadley · 18/10/2020 14:47

I remember feeling that way when DS1 was 2. DS2 was a very clingy baby (still a clingy 3 yr old). I really missed DS1, and worried that we’d lost our relationship.

Three years on, it’s all fine :) DS1 and I are still very close, I feel very loved/needed, and the kids have a nice bond too.

I think it’s common to worry about but honestly these things balance out over time, it’s great for your kids to have good bonds with both parents. DS1 seems to switch favourites a lot, I don’t take it persona!

BrieAndChilli · 18/10/2020 14:47

You ABU for feeling like this but it is just a phase. It’s natural for you to be focusing more on the baby and it’s natural for a toddler to prefer one parent over another. It’s a phase and in 2 months time your DD will probably prefer you over DH.
I have 3 children, all close together in age. When DD was born DS1 was 19 months and when DS2 was born, DD was 2yrs and 3 months and DS1 was coming up 4. DH obviously took on more of the baths and bedtimes and childcare of the older ones as I was ebf so easier for me to deal with baby and him the toddlers. They are now 9-13 and I’ve never felt that our relationship was impacted by that. I also worked evenings when they were young so DH did most of the bedtimes (and I did daytime childcare) and again it never affected anything other than they would go through phases of preferring one of us over the other.

BrieAndChilli · 18/10/2020 14:48

** sorry I mean you aren’t unreasonable for feeling like this - used the wrong acronym!!!

alittlehelp · 18/10/2020 14:52

It's completely normal I think. We had the same situation but it wasn't forever. They each now often have a favourite parent but it swings fairly frequently and we don't worry about it.

Fruggalo · 18/10/2020 14:54

I remember feeling like that. There have been moments in their lives when they’d rather be with me, and others when they’d be rather with their Dad, and when there’s a newborn baby around it changes completely.

But, I promise it doesn’t last forever. And you might mourn the family of three you had but life does get better.

itsafig · 18/10/2020 14:54

Haha Brie I did wonder but was ready for tough love!

Thank you both, that's really reassuring. If I know she'll be switching back and forth, and it's not personal, it becomes a lot easier to deal with. I don't have a close relationship with my mum, and the last thing I want is to repeat this with my DDs, so I'm probably too sensitive.

OP posts:
itsafig · 18/10/2020 14:57

Thank you.
I feel like the first two years of her life I was absolutely dedicated to her, she always cried for mummy when something was wrong, and I feel a bit forgotten about. Though swings and roundabouts - DD2 and I have a lovely bond 🥰

OP posts:
pinguwings · 18/10/2020 15:00

Will your baby nap in a sling? I found that the only way I could carry on as close to normal with DD1 when DD2 was a newborn. Maybe that way you could share some of the day to day tasks with your DH.

It is totally normal behaviour by the way !

JoJoSM2 · 18/10/2020 15:29

I’d just be happy that she’s got such a great relationship with your husband. DS, 2, is having a daddy day: when I was pushing him on the swings earlier, he just chanted ‘I love Daddy’. When all of us were together, he was only interested in Daddy and mostly batted me away. I just find it amusing and don’t take it personally.

AWryGiraffe · 18/10/2020 15:58

Same in our house too and there's not even a new baby! It does make me sad - but I'm hoping it's a phase that passes quickly.

BrieAndChilli · 18/10/2020 16:08

@itsafig I have a terrible relationship with my mother. Complicated by the fact that I am adopted and was adopted when I was 5 so I was very conscious of the fact that the first few years are crucial to bonding. I no longer speak to my adoptive mother.
I think I am a good mother, and have a good relationship with the kids. Obviously we are just hitting teenage years now so that might all change!!

itsafig · 18/10/2020 17:23

Thank you all so much - you've no idea how much better you've made me feel. I will try not to worry about this anymore, it's clearly not uncommon and will pass 

@BrieAndChilli oh goodness, the teenage years, I can't face the thought!

OP posts:
AuntyMabelandPippin · 18/10/2020 18:03

Three of my four were Daddy's boys. The fourth was a Mummy's boy.

They're all grown up now, and all love us both very much, it's lovely.

Well, it would be even lovelier if we could see them ...

LimpLettice · 18/10/2020 18:03

I'm there too, OP. I have a massive gap between DD and DS, but 20 months between DS1 and DS2. DS1 self weaned 2 weeks before I had the baby, I'm co-sleeping with the baby and he is co-sleeping with DH, who is wfh, so he is obsessed with daddy. Follows him round, cries when left with me, leaps up and runs whenever daddy emerges from office. DS2 is 10 weeks old and it's just building instead of decreasing.

Anyway it's totally normal. They go through phases of preferring one parent or another all the time, my DD did with her waste of skin father too. It is upsetting, especially with hormones etc, but it doesn't last. I'm also really glad he has such a good secure attachment to his dad so he doesn't feel abandoned by me. In literally a year they will be running around together and ignoring both of us anyway!

Sceptre86 · 18/10/2020 18:05

When I had my ds, dd was 18 months old. I had a section and as dd wasn't walking, I couldn't carry her for a while. We fell into an early routine of me taking care of ds and dh did more for dd. This continued till about 4 weeks postpartum when he went back to work and I took over caring for them both. She did look for her dad for the first few weeks and I did feel rejected at times. She is 4 now and definitely a daddy's girl but I make sure to have lots of one to one time with her which we both enjoy. I alternate doing bed and bath time between my two and their are definitely times when she wants me over her dad.

As a child I was always a daddy's girl and still he is my favourite person ever but i speak to my mum every day and have a very close relationship with her too, this has grown over the years.

Try not to be disheartened, next time get your op to hold the baby so you can run about with your dd. Make time to spend with her one on one also allowingbyour op to bond with the baby. Just because you are breastfeeding doesn't mean the baby always has to be with you. There is plenty your oh could do to allow you to spend more time with your dd.

JustCallMeGriffin · 18/10/2020 18:14

DD1 was daddy's girl as a baby/toddler. Now as a teenager she can barely stand to be in the same room as him.

DD2 was my girl as a baby/toddler and whilst she still relies on me for intense nurturing (when ill for example) will defer to my husband on everything else.

Both girls love us, it's just the ebb and flow of both relationships that's sometimes hard to predict...but we do find our rhythm. I'm sure you'll find your experience similar.

Sunshine1235 · 18/10/2020 18:37

It’s so normal given the huge changes she’s just had in her life. I had this with my oldest when my youngest was born and I found it really hard and sad for a while. But I did try to view it as a positive thing, their relationship blossomed and I was glad in a way that he was so attached to DH because I meant I didn’t have to worry about him missing me or getting jealous of the baby.

And it passed, in fact we went through a really difficult phase recently where he only wanted me all the time and it wasn’t possible for DH to do anything without huge meltdowns. Now we are back on a more even footing again.

Try not to worry or feel too sad, it’s not personal and it will pass

itsafig · 18/10/2020 19:14

Thank you all again, wise words, I feel a lot better

OP posts:
itsafig · 18/10/2020 19:15

DD1 said earlier this week: I don't want you I want daddy. I said to her oh that makes mummy sad, because I love you very much. She just looked at me blankly. Maybe I shouldn't bother trying to explain how her words make me feel...?

OP posts:
ShinyGreenElephant · 18/10/2020 19:18

My husband works away through the week so the minute he's home DD2 literally glues herself to his side and wants nothing to do with me. This is despite me spending the whole week with her, doing activities, playing endless games, taking her out most days etc etc. Minute he walks in the door I'm in the bin and she will literally scream if I try and take her off him, if he needs the toilet or anything. It does feel a bit hurtful at times but I also really enjoy the break to spend more time with DD1, and I know its because she misses him, not because she loves him more. And I know it will pass, like every stage does.

funtimefrank · 18/10/2020 19:27

My mum and I were talking about this earlier. I have twins so no gap but dd1 has been a daddies girl since she was born.

She has always shown a preference and thinks nothing of telling me she loves me but loves daddy more (she is 11 now). I am usually in her top 3 (sister comes first).

It has really hurt at times. As she's grown older though she's really needed me more and we are very close. She'll still say she loves daddy most but that's more habit I think.

Conversely Dd2 is 'my' girl and I was very much her favourite even though she was less vocal about it. Her and dh have got closer recently though as she's very sporty as is he so they've bonded a bit more.

I would say that like a pp says, when they need that intense care when ill or really upset they still default to 'their' parent.


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pastandpresent · 18/10/2020 19:30

The thing is, the reason why she says "I want daddy, I don't want you" is because she knows she will never lose you. She has massive trust in your love for her.
My ds was opposite, I spent so much time with my ds when he was small, and if my dh tried to do something, he wanted me. I was kind of smug. Fast forward few years, the bond between my ds and dh is so strong, I feel envy sometimes.

MrsBobDylan · 18/10/2020 19:36

Hi op, dd1 is only a baby herself - she was being literal when she said she didn't want you, she wanted Daddy, but she meant at that moment, not for ever and ever 😀.

All my 3 LOVED Daddy at 2 years old, I think it is a common developmental thing. It is actually bloody practical and considerate of dd1. She has recognised that you are very busy and rather than vying for your attention, she has very sensibly turned to Daddy as he looked way less busy.

She loves you and once her new sibling isn't glued to you 24/7 she will be right back to wanting you to do everything again.

MrsBobDylan · 18/10/2020 19:38

Also, toddlers don't 'do' feelings (other than their own of course) so explaining it makes you sad is as relevant to her as describing Brexit would be.

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