My Mommy’s… er, Daddy’s Girl

Father and daughter laying downSome days, everything I do is wrong. My little girl, 20 months old, will loudly protest her outfit, her food, her diaper being changed, any sort of activity I suggest, and especially anything having to do with washing her hands or face. But when Daddy walks through the door, her sourpuss turns into bliss, and she’s dancing around in circles, chanting “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”

I admit that this stings a little. Especially since I was the source of bliss just a month ago. Everything was “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” She went to my lap to read Goodnight Gorilla. And I was the one telling Ryan that it was just a phase, and that some days she’d prefer him to me, and not to take it personally. Well, easier said than done.

So, what do you do about it? As far as I can tell, nothing. But you can change your attitude about it. First, recognize that this is completely normal. Some weeks your child will want Mommy more; some weeks they’ll want Daddy more. Your child may even switch his or her preferred parent every other day. It’s really nothing to worry about.

Second, think about the good things. For example, I really, truly am happy that Ryan and Norah are close and that he’s a great dad. I’m grateful that he likes playing and reading books as much as I do. It is good for her, and good for him. Another good thing that I didn’t think about until reading Elizabeth Gorski’s blog (http://www.examiner.com/stay-at-home-moms-in-cleveland/the-preferred-parent-the-mommy-and-daddy-phases) is that if the kid is having a “Daddy Phase,” this is a perfect opportunity for Mommy to actually do something else. Clean, read, watch TV, work on a hobby—think of all the things you’ve abandoned after becoming a mom! Take advantage of Daddy reading Goodnight Gorilla twenty times and take a nice bath.

And third, if you’re feeling a little blue that Daddy sings “Wheels on the Bus” better than you and makes mashed potatoes better than you, in your child’s eyes, just remember that it will switch again eventually. Then only your mashed potatoes will do.

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