Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mommy Dearest

My child hates me.

Okay, maybe she doesn't hate me, but I am certainly not her Most Favorite Person Ever. That title goes to HBF, aka Daddy, who can do no wrong. (Last night, at bedtime: "I love Daddy" "Of course you do, sweetie. Do you love Mommy?" "Nope. I love Daddy. And medicine." Don't ask.)

Me, on the other hand - I'm persona non grata. On a good day, she tolerates my presence with a polite firmness that makes perfectly clear that she has boundaries and that I am to respect them (NO, Mommy, just me and Daddy gonna play outside. NOT YOU. THANK YOU.) On a bad day, she wants me as far away as possible, and tells me so in the fiercest of terms. (GO AWAY MOMMY. GO. A. WAAAAAY!) Sometimes, she pushes at me with her little fists and furrows her wee face into a scowl and issues her command that I retreat in a terrible little voice that is somehow at once deep-throated and high-pitched. More than once, she's thwacked me with her Toadstool (aka Phallic Lovey), as punctuation to her commands. More than once, she's thrown her entire little being into the effort of getting me away from her now. More than once, she's growled and scowled and faced me like an enemy.




And, you know, even though I know that toddlers go through these phases, and even though I know that her behavior is probably even more understandable now that I'm in the late stages of a pregnancy that has taken me away from her - in spirit if not in body - far more often than has been tolerable for me, even though I know that of course she still loves me, even though I know all of this, it hurts, and the pain of it cuts deep. She scowls at me and tells me to go, go, go away don't stay here go away I don't want you here BECUZ and throws her wee body against my legs in an effort to just get me away and it's like a million tiny knives cutting through my skin and into my bones and it takes every ounce of emotional energy that I have left to not burst into tears right in front of her.

Do you want to give Mommy a kiss?


Do you want to give Mommy a hug?


Can Mommy sit down next to you?


She's not like this all of the time, of course. She's been quite happy to go out for coffee with Mommy on occasion and go to the bakery with Mommy and go buy treats with Mommy (which, you getting the picture here? If Mommy shoves cookies or candy or mock lattes in her pockets, Wonderbaby is quite happy to have Mommy nearby. Otherwise, not so much). But these remain exceptions to the general rule, which is Mommy go away. And that breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart because now, more than ever, I want to just snuggle up with her and really revel in these last days of exclusive togetherness. I want her to be Mommy's girl for just a little while, so that when her baby brother comes (she now pats my tummy and refers to him by name, loving him, it seems, a lot more enthusiastically than she loves me) all I'll need to do is grab her hand and whisper Mommy's girl and she'll know that ours is a special love and that we'll always, always have it, just between us. But she doesn't want that right now. She wants her dad. And she wants Mommy - slow, belabored, distracted Mommy - out of her face.

And that hurts. It really, really, hurts.

I almost didn't write about this - because, in part, I've been something of a cranky-assed downer of late, and am getting sick of my own bitching, but more so because I feared hearing anything, from anyone, that might suggest that this is not normal, that I must be doing something wrong, something to make her justifiably angry with me, something to make her want to keep her distance. Something beyond just being pregnant and distracted (which, if it is the pregnancy? Is bad enough, because whither our mother-daughter relationship when the baby comes, and I'm even more distracted?) Something wrong with me, something bad about me, her bad mother. And I just didn't think that I was up for hearing that, even as the gentlest suggestion.

But if it is me, I need to hear it, because I need to change it. And if it's not me - if lots of children go through this - then I need to hear that even more. Because I need some peace.

Mommy fought the Law but the Law won.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I can really appreciate where you are coming from. Those last stages of pregnancy, when you know how different life will become with another baby, and you jsut want to savour those special moments in time for just a little bit longer. Unfortunately toddlers have no appreciation over just how powerful a tool/weapon their love can be.

Hoping you manage to snatch a moment or two - even if its when she is asleep!

Thanks for posting this though, a timely reminder to all of us.

4:20 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

Whew! I teared up. I have so been through this. If WB isn't normal, than I have weird kids too. My third baby was born when my first babies were 23 and 21 months. They dismissed me as slow and boring before the birth and punished me for months after. Daddy reigned supreme. It does hurt. Two fabulous quotes helped. Our social worker (we've adopted) said that you have to really love and trust someone to show them your angry feelings. Also this gem: Once you have more than one kid, someone is always crying. So true. They have forgiven me - and they laugh all the time too, I promise!

4:30 PM  
Blogger S said...

Oh, honey, they ALL do it. When I came home from the hospital with Jack in tow, Ben refused to speak to me for about a week. And when I tried to walk into his playroom, he'd say, "Mommy, I do not want you in this room."

But they do NOT mean it. And they'll ONLY do it when they feel totally, and I mean totally, secure about the love you have for them.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to motherhood, dearest. It's all about heartbreak. It's the price we pay for all the joy.

Daddy reigns supreme because Daddy is not there all the time, so Daddy time is more valuable. My kid does this now and then, but it peaked at the 2-4 age range. By 6, he was pretty much over both of us, except as source of Yu-Gi-Oh card money.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

My little cousin would say to her mom, while pushing on her thigh: "Gao, gao, gao, gaowah!" I think our little monsters (I mean "dear children") just need to control their universe a little bit, and if that means making mom go somewhere else then that is what they'll do.

But maybe when those moments happen you can distract her with some other piece of the universe she can control. Play some Jenga or something :}

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have been through this(though my daughter is an only child...so far). She is always Daddy's Dearest and sometimes the only one that she allows near Her Highness. However, it's Mama she sticks to like Saran Wrap when she feels like puking (lucky me, I know)or is running a temperature.
It upsets me sometimes, but then I remember that I was the same way with my father and I don't feel as bad. It's just a stage (repeat as necessary)!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it hurts. But she only does that because she is absolutely sure of your love for her. Otherwise she would be to afraid to act this way.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will pass. Most likely while you are deeply ensconced in the every-two-hour nurse-athon. All of a sudden WB will decide YOU are the best and she must be within inches of you at all times.

And, when she whines, "NO, DADDY!" You can chuckle and stick your tongue out at him because, well because we are all very mature, no?

4:50 PM  
Blogger MissAnna said...

I don't have kids and in fact (at 25) have no friends with kids either. But I do remember thinking that Dad was way cooler than Mom growing up (Mom, who stayed home with us day after day). Enough that it's made me wonder if someday, my husband (currently, fiance) should stay home w/ the kids so that they're excited to see ME at the end of the day. Maybe that's the burden stay at home moms bear? Is it the same for the families that choose daycare? (And despite your current frustrations, know that you are most definitely a great writer! I'm certainly not visiting this site to find out the best diaper brands--your honesty and clarity are amazing :-)

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I think I'm the Bad Mother. Honey, by the 3rd pregnancy if my kids say they'd rather spend time with Daddy than me, I say Hooray! and go eat chocolate & watch television in peace.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They all do it. My niece went through a stage of all she wanted was me, to the point of calling me 'Mama' to my embarrassment and her own mother's anger. She still called her own mother 'Mommy' it's worth noting, but she had never once said my name before, and then just before age 2 popped up with calling me Mama instead. It lasted about 4-6 months... then she found new and more creative ways to frustrate her mom.

It will be okay.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Completely normal.

I KNOW that. But,still, every time Rosey says 'No! Daddy will tuck me in! NOT YOU, Mama!' it feels like she's tearing a little strip of skin off my already hurting heart....

5:07 PM  
Blogger GoMommy said...

Both of my boys went through this! They wanted nothing to do with me and only wanted "Daddy". I think it's because they spent all day with me- I'm the primary caregiver and disciplinarian. The husband gets to be the "fun" one.
Wonderbaby will come back from the dark side in time!

5:08 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

This is like an extension of how my son (2 yrs old this Fri) behaves for other people, but totally ignores my instructions and likes to hit me in the head with things. Then Daddy comes home from work and he is the best thing ever. I think what other people say is true - she'd only say those things if she KNEW how much you loved her and that you always would. Hang in there (now picture a kitten hanging from something).

5:13 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

It will pass. And she will always know she's Mommy's girl.

There was a time when I didn't ask Q to come give me a hug because the odds were that he'd refuse and I didn't want to feel rejected. Mature, huh? Thankfully, we're past that now and I get regular hugs and kisses.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

No, it's not you. When I had my son, my daughter was only 14 months old and she did all the same things as Wonderbaby, of course with far less words.
I was convinced she hated me. Daddy was her hero and I was chopped liver. She used to kiss and hug my belly, but if I tried to pick her up she would hit me. I would cry all the time about it.
After I had my son it took several weeks, if not months, for her to really warm back up to me and I was terribly emotional about it since I had the impression she and I would instantly bond again after I was no longer pregnant. But since I got pregnant again when she was only 5 months old, and I was miserable during most of my second pregnancy, she really didn't know her real Mommy. I was just some cranky, swollen emotional wreck who gave her cookies and changed her diaper on occassion.
My son is now 7 months old and both of my babies want to be as close to me as possible all the time. Of course, my daughter is still Daddy's little girl and they do have a special bond, but the bond between daughter and mother is unbreakable and always trumps Daddy.
You and she will get through this. Good luck.

5:20 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

Every day I am going through the exact same thing. Except I'm not pregnant which is a good thing because she was kicking me yesterday. I can't wait for this phase to be long over. I'm ready for the next challenge.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I feel your pain. My daughter clearly does not favor me. First, since we don't live with her father, its almost like a treat to see him. Second, we do live with Grandma aka,. Let Me Spoil You 24/7. Hang tough.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

So normal...normal that she should do it and normal that it should hurt. Never let her know though 'cause then she's weilding some big guns! She'll use them, too, when she's 7, not that I'd know or anything. I find that I have to take on daddy's fun persona sometimes and be ridiculous! Then she realizes I'm ALLRIII...!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

My daughter hates me, too, but I've always attributed it to that cross-gender thing. Because my son adores me.

You're lucky you're having a boy. You'll see; as far as he's concerned, the sun will rise and set in your eyes.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

Lurker here,

I have two boys, 1 year,1 month and 3 years, 6 weeks and I was exactly where you are right now a year ago. It's not just you. My three year old routinely now comes up and says, "mommy I love you" and asks if he can hug me. He also tells me that he doesn't like me and that he doesn't like his little brother.

I think that they are just working these things out in their heads and are intensely moody little cusses.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

This was totally me not too long ago. My first son never went through this, my second though, a few months ago, started prefering anyone but me. It hurt so bad because he's my baby, he's been a mama's boy his whole life and suddenly he just seemed to rather not be with me whenever possible. Even two weeks ago he clung to his sunday school teacher as if I was about to ruin his entire life by taking him from her. He screamed "WANT MY SHAWNA" the entire way out of the church, and continued in the car, where I cried in silence and tried to convince myself I don't like him all that much right now EITHER so therefore it doesn't hurt. Ha!

Now I'm being paid back for all the tears. He suddenly has decided "me want youuuuu mommy" and takes help from no one else. He wont even stay with his beloved papaw, he cried when i dropped him off with his shawna at church, oh, and he's pretending to be a baby who has suddenly forgotten how to do oh everything. KIDS!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Yup, I heard "GO AWAY!" the other day. Fun times. I'm betting that as soon as you have a babe in arms, it will be Only Mummy that can do things. These kiddies have great timing, they do.

It's a phase. You're one cool mom. She's lucky to have you.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I PROMISE you it's completely normal. My son (who is now 11) hated my husband (yup, Daddy was the bad guy, not mommy) when he was almost three and I was expecting #2. I remember myself how much joy I took in telling my mother I hated her on a daily basis.

My boys are 11 and 8, and they don't hate either one of us. But I expect my 11 year old will start to any day now.

Rest easy HBM. Little Miss really does love you. She just doesn't know it yet.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

She can't help it! She's getting ready for that baby in between the two of you. Better now than when you're breastfeeding the wee one. But it's hard! My five year old is constantly telling ME that I hate him! However, this he gets from his 12year old brother. . . ah, love.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally normal, totally awful, and totally temporary.

Just you wait (Henry Higgins) until she sees the babe-in-arms and decides she wants YOU YOU YOU and you will look back on this with a bittersweet fondness.

And just you wait when you see the new level of bonding that comes when you can tell her "Let's do this, just us two, because he's a baby and too little and can't join us, too bad," and her face will light up and all will be well. For a few minutes. Until the next time. ;)

Hang in there, hon.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My girls did this to their Daddy when his work schedule changed. They didn't understand why he wasn't there on certain days anymore, and I think they felt rejected, and they dealt with it by pushing him away. His absence couldn't hurt them if they rejected him first, SO THERE.

We talked to them about why daddy needed to work, and how he still loved them, and so on, and it helped, but they still have the occasional bad day. This is definitely not just a problem for you.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, of course it's not you! All kids go through this! But did you think anyone would be so cruel as to say it WAS you?

7:23 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Although I have two boys, many of my friends have girls and are going through or have gone through exactly what you describe. It is understandably heartbreaking, but they don't really mean it. And it does pass although, like any bad phase, it seems much too long when in the midst of it.

7:38 PM  
Blogger vasilisa said...

Oh, they all do that, really. My son sometimes tells me "I don't like you", or "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to papa". I want to cry. But then sometimes he sais the same to papa. I don't think they mean it.

I also find that when I play with him and take him out (toys, playground, etc...) he "likes me more".

I know he loves me. I know I love him. That's all that matters. The rest is just semantics...

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many anecdotes.

Like the fact that both of my children are giggling and roughhousing with their father right this minute, while Boring Mom sits alone in the living room. They will, begrudgingly, accept a Mama-administered bedtime, but only if Daddy is not available.

Like the fact that in almost every multi-person photograph, I am *taking* the picture and Daddy is *in* it.

Like the fact that when I left them home with Daddy, for a 10-day vacation last year and a long weekend this year, they announced, nightly, "I want my mama." They n-e-v-e-r day this when I am home.

But what it all boils down to? Yes, it's normal.

Freud was right about something.

I hate that.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

A lot of kids do this. A ton. I can't tell you how many parents came to pick up thier kids from the nursery and the kid would run to Daddy like Mommy wasn't even there. They cried for Daddy when they were dropped off and didn't care that Mommy was standing in the window waving.
Then one day, it would be over, either they would switch sides or decide that both parents were equally cool. Until they turned 13 of course, and then they hated them both equally...

7:55 PM  
Blogger A Mom Two Boys said...

My first thought was to say "Maybe it's because she found out you're exploiting her" but then I thought better of it, because you know how some things don't translate well on the internet and you might now know I was trying to make you smile and maybe that wouldn't make you smile and then I'd feel awful. Just awful.

Anyhoo, it's totally normal. My son does it and I feel the same way. Although right now he's going through a mommy phase and it's hurting my husband's feelings and I'm thinking, "Can't you want your damn father AT LEAST ONE TIME TODAY? FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?" Seriously. Their purpose on life is to TEST us. Yet we still love them and bring MORE of them into the world. We do it to ourselves.

Enjoy the solitude while it lasts!

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I treated my mom like that when I was twenty-two. I still loved her, of course, but I just needed my space. And my daddy. But then I got over it! And Wonderbaby will too.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

But it still hurts.
And that's normal too.
Hugs, sweetie.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It happened here too. And I hate to admit it, but it hurts even more now that she's older and she lurks behind him, peeking out at me, pulling him down so that she can whisper in his ear.

But she comes back to me. And WB will come back to you too.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh man, I see it now in Sage - a daddy's girl in the making. It's normal and natural and fine and still, it hurts like hell.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 2 yr old is doing the same thing. Papa is THE FUN and Mummy- not so much. I'm as pregnant as you and probably moving at about the same pace. I just don't have it to give. I know I'm not a bag of laughs, so really I can't blame her. But I know she loves me and certainly WB adores you in her heart of hearts.

I've been trying to respond to her requests for alone time or time with her Papa with an 'OK Sweetie,' in a tone that tells her that she's in control of her decisions. I figure it's probably really satisfying to her to think that she has the ability to make decisions seeing as that's most of the frustration in a toddler's life. I don't know if I'm imagining it, but I think it helps.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Crazed Nitwit said...

At least your daughter talks to you once in awhile. To see how it feels when your baby is now 17 check out my post today called Oh where, Oh where, Has my little boy gone? at http://janicenw.blogspot.com. Not trying to hype my blog honest. It's just that we wrote very similar posts except our children are different ages.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

NO! It isn't you!!! She is just trying to prepare you for the disdain she'll show you as a teenager!

My son, my youngest, my squishable/lovable/eat-him-up boy tells me "I ATE YOU!" at least once a day (he keeps the "h" silent).

8:54 PM  
Blogger ninjapoodles said...

Awww. Chin up. I agree with...well, everyone. It's not you.

9:26 PM  
Blogger polkadot said...

she's no dummy -- she knows what's comin' -- and she's making you pay in advance.

jealousy will bring her back, full force. we're going through the same thing over here right now, including biting and other ick behavior.

she loves you sooo much.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Nauntie Lush said...

Can I tell you the fact that you wrote this right now means the world to me? It does.

Which means you are not alone.

And I only have one living child. Daddy is God and I am some sort of evil barely tolerate thing that is ordered around and peed on. I can't imagine what would have happened if I could have had more.

I know that somewhere he loves me, just as she loves you, it just sure doesn't feel like it anymore.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Pgoodness said...

It's not you. Of course not! My kids both did this to me - and the second one? No new baby coming to use as an excuse!! It's that phase - and I hate to say, she'll probably go through it again, even without a new baby on the way!

Not you. And besides, she loves you more than anything, she's just going through a phase.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

SM is exactly right. She does and says those things to you because she's TOTALLY sure that you love her. Otherwise, she wouldn't risk it. It's that backwards logic that breaks hormonal mommies' hearts. The more they love you and know that you love them, the easier it is for them to push you away and test that love.

She wants to see that she's totally right that you love her even if she's being a little sh... uh stinker.

My daughter went through a big "Daddy's girl" phase too.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is The King Of The World. I think it has to with how Daddies are able to just PLAY without thinking about all that needs to be done.

Do not fret. You are not alone :)

10:04 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

It kills me, it makes me tear up, but I have to stiff upper lip it each time she says "I DONT LIKE YOU". Since this phase began I've been questioning my parenting skills. For real. Kinda makes me tear up typing this. You are not alone. They are trying to bring us down, and some days they are winning.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Velma said...

Ditto to everything above. The killer is that in a short while, when you are occupied with the new baby, she will change her tune and want nothing but you. And you won't be able to drop everything and give that time to her. It sucks, it really does, but just try to remember somewhere deep down that this pushing and pulling is valuable for both of you.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Lukasmummy said...

I normally only read your blog through google reader and never remember to open the page to comment but you really sounded like you needed a (((hug))) today. My 5 year old boy is currently only wanting his daddy too I frequently hear no I don't love you only daddy and you are a lot stronger than me because I have cried in front of him over it. It's hard not to show emotion about it especially since my husband is really abrupt, I never understand how come he would want someone whose not very nice to him over someone who adores him but that's kids for you, it's like when they pick out the ugliest damn outfit they own and refuse to wear anything else, they do it because they can not because they want to hurt your feelings or cause you hassle (well not all the time anyway lol) I hope it gets better for you soon, maybe you could take comfort from the fact that eventually daddy is going to do something that annoys her and she wont want him either. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy hugs Crystal xxxx

11:30 PM  
Blogger Muser Grace said...

We're not at this stage yet, but it's good to read about it and get a sense of what to expect and how to handle it well. Thanks. And your last post about fear was beautiful, beautiful. I have felt that way since they day my little girl was born!

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy, Im right there with you. My boy arrived 3 months ago, only now is my jboo (2) liking me again, suddenly she is referring to me as "My mummy" but she talks of her brother as "My Q". My pregnancy was as hard as yours has been and I was overjoyed when I finally went into labour. I had to always remind myself that they only push away the people who they trust and who's love they know is unconditional. Take heart, its not you at all.
Big hugs

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep. They all do it at one time or another.

NOW I know that when my darling daughter pulled this at age 2.5 upon the imminent arrival of her baby brother, it was really only a trial run. She's just about to become a teenager...and suddenly I am the most annoying creature on the planet again. She's screaming, slamming the door of her bedroom, and hollering "JUST GO AWAY!!!"

Only this time, there's no cute and tiny baby as a consolation prize.

I hope.

My mother just snickers and says that it's called "The Great Circle of Life or What Goes Around Comes Around"...Personally, I think she is delighted to see those threats of "I hope you have children JUST LIKE YOU when you grow up!" come true.

It's okay, HBM. We're here for ya.

1:20 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Even my Pumpkinpie, sweetie that she normally is, went through a LOOONG stage of saying to me, "I don't love you mommy, I only love daddy." I know you are not supposed to really let them see that this gets to you because then you are handing them a stick to beat you with, so the first few times, I walked out of the room to go tear up elsewhere. Then I grew a thicker skin and noticed that thre were other times when she was okay with me, so I now I just reply, "That's okay, honey, you'll love me tomorrow." And usually, she agrees. It still surfaces on occasion, but it really lasted a good few months back around 2.5 or 3, if I remember correctly. She'll move on some day, after she's tried it out for a while and it's lost its power.

But in the meantime? WE love you.

1:27 AM  
Blogger sophie thompson said...

The Beast did this to me today, while I was attempting to wrestle him into his carseat after kinder gym.
'I don't like you'
'I don't like you SopHEEE'
and my big comeback?
'well I don't like you either...'
But it still does tear you up inside just a little, untill they love you again cause you take them skateboarding...

1:57 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

Nature is kind of a jerk sometimes. I HAVE found that my current baby grew increasingly more pissy with me as each of my pregnancies wore on (and I think our kids are spaced the same distance apart), which I think is nature's rather mean way of helping current baby deal with the upcoming baby storm.

And in the meanwhile: BRIBERY WORKS. A few M&Ms while whispering "You are my FAVORITE girl" can go miles towards softening grouchy toddler hearts... and it's never remiss for daddy to step in with a stern "Do NOT talk to my wife like that", either. This is the age when lil' ones figure out the boundaries of decent behaviour and what they can and can't get away with.

7:52 AM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

NORMAL. So, so normal. Doesn't make it easier to hear from your toddler, but take heart in it's nothing personal against you.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

God, this all makes me feel so much better. Not about the feelings provoked by my-child-the-hater, but about the fact that I'm not alone in it.

I asked whether it was me, because there was a fear that this behaviour was unusual, that this was just *her*, and that maybe I'd caused it. Knowing that so many of you have gone through the same thing calms my heart immeasurably.


9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just found your blog about a week ago and I want you to know I am trying to get pregnant with my 3rd, I have one set of twin boys so this is only my second pregnancy, and I am so dreading hearing those words too. I know every kid goes through this phase but I'll tell you I made my mom cry one time when I was little and I'm still scarred by it. I felt like such a terrible person and I still find myself apologizing to her for it when it gets brought up. Funny how life works out, isn't it? I absolutely love your blog. You are so honest. Your post about fear made me absolutely bawl my eyes out and I was at my desk at work having lunch. You rock girl!!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

this is the one occasion on which the whole "it's not you, it's me" rejection rationale is actually the truth. it's not you--it's her. separating herself from you, demanding her space, creating her own person. it's 100% normal. which doesn't make it suck any less, but it's still The Way It's Supposed to Be.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

dude. seriously.

she doesn't hate you. she loves you. maybe she feels a little uncertain about the new baby, maybe she's just going through a cranky phase, maybe she's just going through a daddy phase (M's been there and back a number of times). but it isn't YOU, i can promise you that. it's her processing changes in the only way she knows how.

hang in there. and needless to say, you rule. xoxo

10:34 AM  
Blogger Her Imperial Majesty said...

We know who we can push, and how far and indeed where to push them from a young age, we funny human types. just hold on tight and know that underneath, she's still your wonderbaby

12:36 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

This one somehow bypassed me, but I have several close friends with toddlers just like yours and they do grow out it. I have witnessed it with my own eyes!

Sometimes it goes the other way too and you have a Dad who is shut out for a while...it all goes around it seems.

Keep trying and she will come around again. Lattes don't hurt either.

12:36 PM  
Blogger LissaCris said...

I can relate, for the first second 1.5 years of my son's life (right after I stopped nursing) it has been all about my husband. "I'm Daddy's Boy" "I want Daddy to put me in the seat" Daddy has to do everything. I think as a mother you are needed on such a deep level that it's easier to be mean to you. At least with my husband, he is always at work or doing work at the house and maybe my son has a greater need for his attention because he feels like it's harder for him to get. I tried the bribery route too but ended up feeling bad about that. And then about 2 months ago I embraced it, of course you want Daddy. And then it changed. Now I have to do this and that. Not sure that helps but you are completely normal at least.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jenifer - the lattes are for me. I order her milk, and tell her it's a latte, just like mommy's, and then pray that she doesn't ask to check under the lids.

Which is maybe why she hates me. She knows that I've been swapping out her lattes.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

64 comments full of love, well hopefully. I thought you might need one more.

My niece is, well from everything you've said in the past few years, exactly like WB. Although, now that's she's six and in kindergarten, she's mellowed a bit with age. Still, she isn't really a mama's girl most days. There are moments where she is and she's gotten more tolerant of her mom, when she's not in a mommy mood, but she's a Daddy's girl through and through. Truth is, that's a great thing too. For her Daddy at least.

It's not just you and it's not just WB. She just seems to adore HBF. All you can do is be you and be her mother. She's still so tiny and ruled by the emotion she feels in that exact second. But she won't be two forever. Your special relationship with her will find it's way eventually. I'm sure you will, just as sure as I am that you'll find that parenting a second baby, won't really change your love for her. That teeny boy will just add too it and maybe even make everything with WB easier. Who knows for sure, but most second kids change a family in wonderful ways that you didn't think possible.

One thing though, keep hugging her anyway. She needs it and wants it, whether she knows it or not. Hugs to you HBM.

1:08 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

She cuts like a knife don't she? But she loves you HBM. And you have made her feel extremely safe and confident that she can show you her will in such a way.
And my guess is you will not be able to peel her away from you after baby comes.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

My God, I'm scared about this part. Right now, my daughter is 8 months old, and I'm her universe. I'm so scared for the day when she pulls away from me and says those things, and I know they are coming. I know they are. I once told my dad I hated his guts (you know how mature 8 year olds are) and he said "Good, at least you don't hate me, just my guts". Looking back, I can see his heart breaking. Will I be able to handle it with such grace as my parents did? I'm not sure. It hurts my heart to even think about it.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yep, all normal...may I make a humble suggestion? You are doing nothing wrong, this is just a strategy suggestion on how to get through this time - in defense of your heart - avoid asking the pointed questions for a little while - it hurts your heart, goes a little ways towards teaching her that you think there may be some doubt. (try to) Rest confidently in her love, so that she will not see you sweat this (sorry, all toddlers love power), but rather experience her rubber-banding away from you as just one of many possible directions to take in life, always to return back to the safety of your love.
You are giving her a gift in letting her have the power to choose you (and she will every time you sit down to feed her brother) so she knows what it is like to have relationships by choice. Also, she'll reject HBF later, but that's good schooling for when she needs to break up with a boyfriend! They usually break up with mommy first to figure out that they really do just belong to themselves first, then to us. That hurts, but I think you knew that about WB all along.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall my Mother telling stories about how I did the same types of things when my brother's arrival was imminent. I think it's perfectly normal. The Dads get off scott free, because hey they aren't pregnant, it must be Mom's fault this interloper is arriving. She'll get over it eventually.

2:47 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Oh those bugger toddlers! Totally have been there. It's not you. It's HER. HER. HER. And she will come around. I'm sorry she's bumming you out. I always take it so personally too.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

It's not you at all. You're doing nothing wrong, I promise.

She's at that stage where she wants to push boundaries, try out some independence, and see if she can throw her weight around and make things happen.

You are the one she is closest with. You are the one she's bonded with the most, and as a result, you're the first one she wants to try pushing back against, because she knows she still has your love if she wants it.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but telling you to go away is telling you that she trusts you the most with her emotions. Toddlers love trying out their voice (and it sounds like she's going to be a woman with a strong voice!), and they're going to try it out in a "safe place" before trying it out with someone who might not react as well.

It hurts, and it sucks. But try to look past the hurt and take it as a compliment. She trusts you, she loves you, and she feels safe with you. (And I promise they grow out of it - Cordy went through that phase, too.)

3:23 PM  
Blogger Nic (NotPerfect) said...

Well, I'm not a mother and I'm too lazy to read through all of the other comments, but it sounds to me like she is just pressing her boundaries. The only reason she's able to do it is because she actually feels secure and loved.

But if she keeps it up, you can always put her on ebay.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Karen, your strategery suggestion is actually really, really helpful - I have been acting a bit like a needy girlfriend, which probably just stokes the fires of whatever little pot of bizzatchness she's brewing.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Nic - don't think that I haven't thought about that.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Maman said...

Oh fuck it! No one likes me at my house because someone has to enforce the rules and it sure as hell won't be Fun Daddy..

I am swell when I give gifts or hold their hair out of the toilet while they vomit... the rest of the time I am despised. And I think that is normal. For toddlers and teens

4:42 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I never, ever comment here, but I have to tell you that my son is doing the exact same thing. He is almost two and a half, so he is close to WB's age. It is only really bad when Daddy is home for me to be compared to. I am not pregnant, so it's not just the pregnant thing, and it's probably not you. My son's thing is to tell me to go into whatever room he is leaving. "Mommy go in kitchen, I go in living room." "Now I go in kitchen, Mommy go in living room." If I try to follow him, he will push me back into the appropriate room (or try to), or stomp his feet and cry. Everyone I have talked to says it is normal, but it's hard when they tell you how much they love the other parent. I don't know how much your husband is home, but I think my son gets bored with me because I am around all day, while Daddy is gone at work, so Daddy is just more exciting than boring old Mommy.

4:52 PM  
Blogger DivaDunn said...

My 18mo is still in the clinging "mommy do it!" phase, but I have six neices and they ALL did this. I'm also pretty sure I hated my mother in varying degrees till my late 20's. Now at 37 she is truly my best friend. Hopefully you won't have to wait that long!

I'll send you a mental hug when my little diva is telling her dad "no - mommy bath" "mommy juice" "mommy diaper" "mommmy - mommy - mommy!" Oh, I sorta long for the day when I get to sit on the couch watching TV while he runs around all night looking after her...but... maybe not...

5:10 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Even KayTar does it sometimes. Totally normal, Cath. Totally.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe it's because I too am in the late stages of my pregnancy and a bit emotional these days but your post has brought a tear to my eye. My daughter has given me the occasional "cold shoulder" (usually when I've been gone a few days on business) which is devastating even for a short period of time so I really feel for you. I hope it's just a phase that she'll grow out of soon - and one not to be revisited until the teen years!

5:43 PM  
Blogger ScientistMother said...

I hate to be the only one to say this, but it sorta is your fault. What were thinking would happen when all you do is encourage WB to be a strong, independent, creative thinker / person? Sorry was that too tongue in cheek? I agree with the other comments, its only because she is secure with you that she doesn't cling to you. She knows you love her, therefore she can be that way. Have you tried giving in to her? leave the room, don't give her a kiss or a hug? I know it sounds horrible to pull away, but it may enable her learn that words can be hurtful - she's a pretty preceptive girl especially for her age, so it just might be a good lesson. If it makes you feel better, the monkey is only 16 months, but he is already refusing to give me kisses, happily says buh bye when I drop him off at daycare and now does NOT come running when I pick him up. He only wants me when he is sick or hurts himself or at 2:30 in the morning.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. A delurker speaking up. Mine went through this, too, and I was beside myself. Honestly, though, she's still a Daddy's girl. It's tough to be seen as the "fun one" when you're running the business part of raising your children--mostly due to exhaustion!

9:30 PM  
Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I blogged about this last week or so. Wait until she comandeers the loyalty of bubs away from you too, once he's old enough. Both of mine now stand against me sometimes, clutching hands and acting strong in sibling defiance.

'Tis quite draining. :(

11:49 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

It's a spring thing. They are all psychopaths for a bit it seems.

Christ you have a lot of flagellation going on. I wish it was other sweetheart.

Especially Tanner. Oh dear ones. What kind of reality can be had around that.

12:33 AM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Hey I just had an idea. You should start watching the SuperNanny show 3x a day. That will give anyone a new lease on not sucking, any day.

12:37 AM  
Blogger OvaGirl said...

God this post made me cry. Mine bit me, hard, when I was carrying him and he wanted his daddy instead. Hang in there.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Bri said...

I was a total daddy's girl and I can't remember having any real connection with my mother until I was a teenager. This may not be much of a comfort (don't panic and think that she'll continue this way until puberty!) but I thought it was important to say what I'm sure everyone else is saying. It's totally normal. Heartbreaking, but normal.


3:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I call it the chopped liver stage and for us it last, oh, about 18 months. From 18 months to 3 years old. Now it is tapering off and I get more snuggles and I love yous than Go Aways.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mo-Wo - watching Supernanny terrorizes me. Yes, in theory, it should make me feel better, but really, it only makes me feel better in the same way that Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes me feel better that I don't live in Texas with a chainsaw-wielding neighbor.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Melanie D. said...

My sister stayed home with her kids and they all preferred her husband. He was the hero, she was the bi-otch. It just goes that way sometimes. Just keep offering the love, she'll take it when she needs it. I think it's just important that she knows it's there. That it's unconditional. She wouldn't treat you that way if she didn't know.
It will get worse before it gets better. She'll be pissed when you bring baby boy home. My girl was almost three when we brought home her brother. Now he's two and they're happy and we're a family. It all works out.

But when I brought him home and she punished me, I cried. I told my Hubs that we had ruined it. That she didn't love me any more. But she did.

This too shall pass.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a reason that my Trooper was referred to as "Darth Toddler" for about two years of his life! It is discouraging when they go through the "I only love Daddy because he doesn't tell me 'no' nearly as often as Mommy" stage but they do grow out of it. I promise.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, two things to think about...
as soon as you have your new little one- she will want your attention back.... it's temporary and inconvenient.
Maybe more useful, little ones her age want to feel like they have some control, even about when they get attention/affection, so try giving her space (even though it's hard knowing baby is around the corner) but she may just want to hug you and kiss you when she feels like it not when you do.
My little one (3) will not tolerate being hugged and kissed unless it's his idea, being all grown up and not babyish anymore, but still wants to snuggle between star wars battles and important construction work.

1:14 PM  
Blogger gwendomama said...

This is nature. This is the continuum concept.
This has happened with my daughter each time I have given birth to her baby brothers.
IT broke my heart. But when the baby was born, I saw the necessity of it and the magic in the ability of a toddler to self-protect.
If she breaks away from you through her autonomous instincts, then it won't be all about YOU pushing her away when OMFG she has to share you.


2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went through the same exact thing with my 3 y/o daughter. I had my baby son last Friday. For the last couple of weeks and even to this very minute, my daughter is "daddy's girl". She left me in tears at the hospital when she was leaving I said "I miss you", and there was silence. "I said "do you miss Mommy?", she said "no". And the entire time she wouldn't even come near me, let alone look at me. She's made me cry more times in the last month than I've cried in 5 years.
You are doing nothing wrong. This is the way it is for now. For now. Then one day she's going to relate more to you and copy everything YOU do.
xoxo Good luck!

6:49 PM  

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