Wednesday, March 07, 2012

{Pour your heart out} When he went off me

We had a family photo shoot in November last year.

The kids were complete horrors and wanted nothing to do with me which I put down to the time of day (it was late afternoon and my kids get crabbier as the day progresses).

They only wanted their daddy and it was very embarrassing for me in front of the photographer because I had a vision of my family being loving and kind and ... they were not.

Anyway, the thing with that photo shoot is that Connor kept saying, "no, only want Daddy" and similar. Up to this point Connor had been more attached to me and Kendra was more attached to her father.

We each had a child that slightly preferred us which worked out nicely.

But then instead of things returning to normal, Connor continued with this behaviour of pushing me away, saying NO to anything to do with me and only wanting Daddy.

It was horrible.

Especially because I was ashamed that he didn't love me anymore.

D is great with this stuff. We agreed that we wouldn't make a big deal of it (well, in front of them) but would also not tolerate disrespect.

Same as I don't allow them to be disrespectful to other adults like V.

So if he screamed at me or pushed me, we'd say, "Connor, say sorry to Mummy" or do the 1, 2, 3 magic. Whichever was appropriate.

But it hurt me so much.

I cried a couple of times.

One day I emailed MandyE and told her, "what was the point of having IVF if my own child hates me?"

Mandy is one of the most encouraging people I know and she was so great then. Even though she hadn't experienced any of this, she was non-judgmental, had a listening ear and Mandy, I can't thank you enough for being there for me. I really, really appreciate it.

Then I read this post on Ask Moxie.

Our situations are very different but I related to that mother and after reading the comments, I realised something else - I am not alone.

Same as with my infertility, I kept quiet because I was ashamed.

But that post set me free and started my healing. You can go read the post and see my comment. It's all there.

It's going to sound strange but Kendra being in the hospital was good for Connor and me because we got to have some one-on-one time and bond again for long, extended periods.

We'd had mother-son dates over the 6 weeks which were fabulous for keeping me going but the minute we arrived back home, he was all into Daddy again and wanted nothing to do with me 95% of the time.

I wrote about some of this in my 2011 review post but just to say it's really hard making yourself vulnerable and admitting something so painful when everyone else's kids are perfect and nothing ever goes wrong. We know intellectually that it can't be so but still, Facebook doesn't help, now does it?

Our holiday was also good in that we had lots of family time together just being with the kids and I realised again that Connor is a quality time child and when he's being horrible to me, the best thing I can do is actually to spend more time with him, quite the opposite of what I want to do.

So that's my story.

There is no movie ending to this post because things are not perfect and we still have our moments but I can say things are 100% better.

One thing I need to remember is when I feel ashamed of something, the best thing for me to do is to share it in a safe environment (like with Mandy) so that I don't feel alone, because that just increases the shame and so it goes on and on.

I just had a prompting to say if someone out there needed to hear this today, please email me (or leave a comment if you're brave).

PS hope this post was worth waiting a week to read :)


  1. isn't it amazing how soon little children learn to manipulate their parents. He will always love you but he finds it fun to play the two of you off against each other.

  2. You are definitely not alone, and there is nothing to be embarrased about. Nicola sometimes goes off me and she doesn't even have another parent to gravitate towards. ;-) Usually that mean I get to hear her crying for Ouma quite a lot. It's not fun.

  3. Oh itmwas. Stunning post. We also go through ebbs and flows and I can assure you that little people are super manipulative and do not be fooled by how clever they are to get what they want ( which admittably is sometimes what they need)

  4. You are not alone! By a long shot! My oldest has always been a daddy's boy since day one. He isn't close to me. We are so much alike and we butt heads- but like Connor the more he pushes me away- that is my clue to actively seek him out for one on one time. Then my second son is always a momma's boy. Lately he has wanted Daddy because Daddy knows about cars and sports and he is really into that kind of stuff right now. Breaks my heart! I was okay with one child prefering daddy to me- but both my boys!! Heartbreaking. Then our daughter is a daddies girl some days- and other days is a mommies girl. When she is a daddies girl- I feel like the one picked last on for the team. But then when the roles are reversed and all three want me- I feel streached too thin and overwelmed!

  5. I had to laugh at "everyone else's kids are perfect." It's never really that way, though fb will have us think it!

  6. It does hit straight to the heart when they scream for the other parent. As a mom of a three year old and someone who has worked in education for 11 years I can confidently say that most often it's just a phase :). doesn't make it hurt any less.

  7. I love the honesty! It does hurt me a little when they don't want to cuddle or be close to me. But I can honestly say that I really don't care if they scream for their father. I enjoy it. Go have some daddy time! I think it's because I am always there so I enjoy the break. It tends to happen a lot when we're out. Especially with large crowds or restaurants. They both have to sit with daddy, daddy has to hand them their food, and on and on.

    DH feels bad for me but I he can take the terrible twosome for a bit! I also love how scatter brained he gets trying to handle them himself with me watching. I'm sure my disapproving looks REALLY help!

  8. I am going to send this post to Jeremy to read! Our girls have gone through phases of showing a strong preference for me, and often refusing to let him do something for them. In our situation, I think it was mainly due to the fact that it is only me that feeds them, puts them to bed, etc. during the week, but I still hate when they get like that toward him. I know it really sucks to be on the receiving end of that attitude!! There have been times when A or M asks for one of their grandparents instead of me, and it stings a little.

    I have seen a lot of improvement with the girls' relationship with Jeremy in the last few months, and I think at least part of it is them gaining the maturity to realize that we are both their parents and we BOTH are in charge. Plus, he is able to spend most Fridays with them while I work, and it has done them a world of good...they realize he is a lot more fun than me sometimes. : )

  9. This post is so beautifully and honestly written. So glad that you feel better about this now and that things are improving. Thank you for sharing something that I'm sure many parents deal with, but don't share because they feel ashamed. I love that you realise that you need to love him even more when he is not being lovable.
    Love you.

  10. Katherine9:41 pm

    Thankfully I am the more popular parent with both our girls which does surprise me as they both spend so much time with me. They fortunately never push Chris away and never say that he can't do stuff for them, they will just choose me if there's a choice. Zoe is getting more and more fond of him which is lovely to see and both are 100% happy with him (or anybody else thankfully) when I'm not around. I have to say that I would find this really hard if it were the other way around, but sometimes wish that I wasn't so popular because I am with them all the time anyway and would love to be ignored when Chris arrives home from work. I am quite lucky in that neither of them have ever cried when they've had to be left anywhere (starting school or when they've been looked after by my folks or the nanny or whatever). We've never ever had even a single tear from either of them which is fantastic as I always feel so sorry for the moms that drop their kids off at school and the children sob their little hearts out, must be very distressing.

  11. It's never easy at any age. Our daughter used to cry for my best friend. Ouch!! We adopted her from Russia when she was four years old. Debbie was with me all the time, we lived a block away, and she got attached to her "Dobbie". Now,at 18, she still gives her dad sideways hugs and sometimes doesn't acknowledge him. It's not intentional, it's just an attachment thing. We know that she loves us dearly but this is something that we just have to live with, she is a very guarded little girl. It hurts non the less.

  12. Part of the reason I tolerate the twins getting in bed with us so often is because all day long they want Daddy- they play rough and tumble with him. But at night, they want me, to cuddle with.

  13. My children have all gone through this. Every single one except the 4 year old nate. he is a mommas boy. I know its hard on my husband. We try to remember it isnt personal and it's no ones fault

  14. I'm so glad I could serve as a friendly ear, Marcia. I hope you know I will always be there for you...that's what friends are for. :)

    And you're so right in saying, as hard as it is to do sometimes, I think the best thing we can do for ourselves is talk out our feelings. We're rarely alone.

    On a FB note, I have got to prioritize my "Truth in Blogging" post. I almost always blog about the sunny side of life, but I don't mean to suggest there aren't dark moments at our house. I just choose to minimize most of them, or allude to a "challenging day" or something. I was laughing to myself this morning, thinking I should take a picture of my master closet. It's atrocious!!! If anyone thinks I lead a sunnier life than I do, that outta show them...HA!

    I love how you can step back and think about the love languages for your kiddos. It's so neat for me to see how you factor that into your approach for each of them.

  15. I always think about how I wish Mellow would be more dependent on B for things - it is ALWAYS mama. Last weekend, though, I left for work Friday morning and didn't come home until Sunday afternoon. I didn't talk to Mellow all weekend (B was worried about dealing with a meltdown). If I'm not there, it's like I don't exist in their boy world - and as little as I want to admit it...that hurts my heart.

  16. Do you REALLY? want to know how imperfect my world is? Kids do tend to react to get what the need/want at this age. And they are very good at punishing too.

    But that is human nature coming out - being self centered.

    But by anticipating them ahead of these outbursts, we can teach them to love and think of others first.

    Of course, if you do and give too much, that can lead to a spoiled child. So there also have to be boundaries and the knowledge that No does mean No.

    My kids are more likely to do this to their daddy than to me though. But remember, I'm their world. I'm home all day with them every day, so when they prefer somebody else to me, that is fine. A chance to do something without a "leech". BUT it was really hard on me, when Joel started to prefer other people's company to mine - I hadn't had a problem with the girls, but this boy ... oh how my heart ached to watch him happily skip away from me without a tear or a goodbye. That boy of mine holds my heart in a way no other human on earth can lay a claim to.

  17. Matt is in a BIG TIME Daddy phase.

    He is always telling me how he "doesn't like" me.

    I refuse to let a 3.5 year old make me cry...although I could see how it could happen.

    I just tell him how much I love him and try to smother him with kisses until he hits me in the face. Then I get mad and walk away telling him how much I love him. My parenting is not proven, but at the end of the day, when I ask for a snuzzle (eskimo kiss for most people), he tells me he loves me and I believe him.

    It's the little moments I hold on to.


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