Why does my child reject me?

Why does my child reject me?

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Taylor has always been a Daddy’s girl; from the moment she was born and I saw her on Dad’s chest – content for the first time in this new world – I knew that it was always going to be that way. And who could blame her? Her Dad is a special kind of guy – funny and caring, doting but also pretty cool at the same time. He’s the man I married and Taylor loves him for all of the same reasons that I fell in love with him.

But what of mum?

Why does my child reject me?

I’ve always laughed off Taylor’s disregard for me, preferring to brush it aside as a phase and convince myself that she just takes me for granted. After all, I spend every day at home with her whilst Dad’s a novelty, someone new to play with for the few hours that she sees him each day – it’s no surprise that my child rejects me when he’s around.

But when I look back, it’s often been this way.

In the first few months when all she seemed to do was cry, it was Dad who seemed to be better at comforting her. No matter what I did, she rarely seemed completely content with me. I would spend hours pacing the bedroom floor, singing lullabys, feeding, swaddling and then re-swaddling, trying to rock her in a different way, more feeding, but I was very rarely able to sooth my baby girl to sleep. In all fairness, both of us struggled, but Dad did seem to have a better ‘knack’ – I put it down to him being bigger than me, more reassuring.

We couldn’t get on with breast feeding (and trust me when I tell you that I tried). I was determined to carry on as I naively thought (or rather I’d had it instilled in me by the health service) that feeding my daughter myself would help us to bond.Β I felt like a failure when I had to give it up – going through all of the pain, yet still not able to produce enough milk to nourish my daughter. The switch to bottle feeding was a revelation for the two of us and we were both so much happier – yet deep down I was a little disappointed that my ‘mother duty’ of feeding my baby could now be shared by everyone.

why does my child reject me?

Taylor (like many kids her age) is pretty forward in her communication. It seemed that from the minute she came out of the womb she’s always been very vocal in letting us know what she does and doesn’t want – at first with incessant crying (i’m having trouble adjusting!), later with insistent gestures (I want another one of those!) gleeful clapping (aren’t I clever?) and now back-arching tantrums (but I don’t want to get in my car seat!)…

So her frequent preference for Dad over Mum is just as blatant. It started out with her holding her arms out for Dad to take her whenever I was holding her. Now she follows Dad around with her arms held up pretty much whenever he’s around.

Attempts by me to pick her up are met with her arms flying up in the air making it impossible. If I do manage a cheeky cuddle she’ll wriggle free within a couple of seconds. If I lean in for a kiss I often get met with a hand to the face…

Taylor’s also fiercely independent, and to be honest this is what I love so much about her character – she’s never been needy and she’s always been happy around new people. She’s highly sociable and she’s got a feisty determination.

She started at nursery just last week and she actually had a tantrum about leaving with me when I went to collect her on the second day. I had to man-handle her out of there, throwing her over my shoulder kicking and screaming like I was trying to take her away from her mother (oh wait, that’s me!) I’m thrilled she loves nursery so much, but surely that can’t be normal??

Google hasn’t helped to put my mind at ease. I (may have) searched ‘why does my child reject me’ on a few occasions, but all it had for me was that young children will have a preference for their primary care giver, since they’re the one who can better understand their needs. But I am the primary care giver!! Apparently, your child can change towards you when you go back to work. But Taylor’s only in nursery for two days, and anyway – Dad has always been at work.

Perhaps I’m not fun enough or haven’t paid her enough attention? I’m often busy dashing around the house, making beds, washing up, preparing dinner. But isn’t every mum? I make a conscious effort to play with her throughout the day. Seriously, I know I’m not a bad mother.

I don’t want this to come across as a ‘woe is me’ post – I’m not really one for feeling sorry for myself and believe me when I say that my daughter gives me so much more than the odd feeling of rejection. She’s such a happy, expressive and confident child and every day she makes me laugh out loud and feel so proud. I wouldn’t change a thing about her, and I guess this is a part of her defiant character which is just presenting itself in this way.

I suppose I just wanted to write it down to let other mums out there who may be experiencing the same thing know that they aren’t alone.

I know deep down that she loves me very much – I just have to look a little closer for the signs. She follows me around the house, shouts out for me to check I’m nearby, callsΒ ‘mamma’ when she’s particularly tired or upset, and always looks to me for approval after she does something that she thinks is clever, naughty or new (even if Dad’s there!).

I know that if she was particularly needy of me, I’d find that difficult too.

Have you ever had your child reject you? I’d love to hear your experiences x

A Cornish Mum
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21 Comment

  1. wendy
    April 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Aww hun, this sounds so hard for you. My toddler gas recently started to tell me to go away and leave him alone which hurts. He does love a cuddle with me and likes me picking him up so I can only imagine how hard it is for your little one to reject you in this way. My hubby definitely gets the biggest laughs out of our boy and is the go to guy if Leo wants to play and be silly, I must be rubbish at it! Hopefully in time Taylor will become more affectionate with you. .your her mum so she obviously loves you xx #picknmix
    wendy recently posted…Why parenting would be easier if I was the Mother of DragonsMy Profile

  2. RachelSwirl
    April 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Oh hun, I feel your pain. My first child (little boy) is definitely a Daddy’s boy, He has been since day one. So when my daughter was born I made a massive effort for me to become her number one but no matter what I did she still seems to prefer Daddy. It does break my heart but then again it’s me that they come running to when there is something of a serious nature to deal with eg. injuries

    Keep your head high and remember things may change as they get older x

  3. RachelSwirl
    April 22, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    oh I forgot to add #picknmixfridays
    RachelSwirl recently posted…#LittleLoves Each And Every Friday From Here On InMy Profile

  4. becca farrelly
    April 23, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    It sounds like your giving yourself a really hard time and I know its easy for me to say but I really do. I recently have gone through a similar thing with my 2yr old. I’m at home all day with her and her dad works away all week so she doesn’t see him until the weekends but Mia has recently started saying she doesn’t like me, doesn’t want me and kicks and hits me! It was funny at first but its not now! She loves her daddy and will do anything for him, he never sees her bad behaviour and it irriates me. I don’t think theres an answer for you but to know that your not alone in this may help. You will find that as she gets older, she will need her mummy for things more than she will her daddy and I wish you luck πŸ™‚

    #PicnMix
    becca farrelly recently posted…Weight Loss Post #7My Profile

  5. Coombe Mill - Fiona Cambouropoulos
    April 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I think they all go through Mummy or Daddy phases, I find now mine have grown up more they go to Dad on practical stuff and come to me for emotional support. #KCACOLS
    Coombe Mill – Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Padstow Tide Times for 23rd April 2016My Profile

  6. Tori
    April 24, 2016 at 3:57 am

    I completely know how you feel. My daughter and I bonded immediately after birth, and to this day she is all about Mommy. She’s even a bit overboard and has hurt my husbands feelings far too many times to count. And then my son was born. Of course with my second I was already worried that I wouldn’t have enough love for him, and I didn’t bond with him right away. It has been a slow kind of love, the kind that sort of sneaks up on you. He definitely has always preferred my husband, and he can get him to sleep so much easier than I can. But he is changing, and it’s beginning to get a bit easier. So there is hope!
    Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS. Hope you will come back again next Sunday!
    Tori
    http://www.themamanurse.com

  7. Michelle G
    April 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Completely understand where you’re coming from. In the early days, my daughter seemed to be all daddy – he was the one who made her smile and I felt like she preferred him (baby blues a lot of it I think). And when I went back to work and my husband stayed at home, I was convinced she’d bond with daddy even more than mummy – I felt consumed with guilt. But, it’s not the case at all. My baby lights up when she sees me and we have a beautiful, unique bond (I read somewhere that babies around 8-9 months have a unique bond with mummy). She still laughs most at daddy, he gets her biggest smiles but I don’t mind a jot because I know she adores both of us – just as your daughter does you and your husband x #KCACOLS

  8. Squirmy Popple
    April 24, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    This must be so difficult for you. My daughter definitely prefers her daddy for laughs and playtime – I think he’s more exciting to her because she only sees him on the weekends and mornings/ evenings, while I’m with her all day. People have told me that this can all change as they get older, so that’s what I’m holding out hope for. #KCACOLS
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Saved by the Bell and a suction cup: a birth storyMy Profile

  9. Petite Pudding
    April 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Kids can make you feel so low and rejected at times, my 4yr old can be such hardwork, he was never a smiley baby and still wakes up most mornings in bad mood. You can’t say anything to him somedays without him losing the plot! I used to worry that he hated me, but then someone once told me that he behaves like this with me because he is secure enough to know I won’t reject him. These days he is more able to vocalise things and there is nothing better than when he snuggles into and says ‘I love you mum, you are me best friend’ It can be hard when your child seems happier with other people, but just remember you are always the one they come back to for reassurance #kcacols

  10. justsayingmum
    April 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Oh I really understand how hard this must be but I’ve had three and they’ve all gone through this stage at some point but they have come through the other side and love us equally – my eldest daughter was the worst for it as she only wanted Daddy for a long time – daddy do this, daddy do that – i felt totally invisible sometimes – really upsetting but I promise it is all just perfect now! I hope this stage doesn’t last too long – we are going through it with the puppy now – all daddy, daddy, daddy – I hope that changes soon too! #KCACOL
    justsayingmum recently posted…Please Leave my Husband Alone …My Profile

  11. Pen
    April 24, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    This sounds really tough. I am sorry. My Mum and sister had a similar relationship when my sister was growing up. They are now best of friends. My Mum says that my sister was her greatest challenge and is now her greatest achievement. I was just easy I think.

    I sort of have a similar thing. I separated from Cygnet’s father when Cygnet was 5 months old. Cygnet sees his Dad regularly and it tears me apart to see the massive smile on Cygnet’s face when his Daddy (who I think is a mega arsehole) arrives. I am always sweet and nice to his Dad because Cygnet deserves that, but God it is hard. I know that Cygnet loves me though and that’s great. Sometimes it is tough though. Pen x #KCACOLS
    Pen recently posted…What women REALLY wantMy Profile

  12. Allyson Greene
    April 25, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    My husband reveled in the fact that our daughter was a Daddy’s girl. Note the was. Even though I have stayed home and he worked over the last year or so the pendulum started to swing. Sure she enjoys the time she gets with Daddy but she has shifted to being a Momma’s girl of late. And I tease him endlessly. Don’t stress it too much Mama your time will come. #KCACOLS
    Allyson Greene recently posted…Bacon Fontina Arugula Grilled CheeseMy Profile

  13. To Arizona and beyond
    April 26, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    It’s a tricky balance isn’t it between wanting to be. needed and wanting them to be independent. Our baby screams at the moment unless I’m feeding her, she doesn’t want to be comforted or calmed by me, just daddy even though I’m at home with her all day so I can relate completely to this post and it’s nice to know I’m not alone, thanks! #KCACOLS
    To Arizona and beyond recently posted…I AM 1 MONTH OLDMy Profile

  14. A Cornish Mum
    April 27, 2016 at 7:35 am

    First day of playgroup on of mine cried as they didn’t want to come home…. I was embarrassed but also strangely proud of his independence.
    My other son suffered with separation anxiety and other issues that are still ongoing… I know which I’d prefer to deal with. Just take heart that she’s independent, they tend to take us for granted at times but they realise as they get older just how much they need us.
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

  15. Mrs Tubbs
    April 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    It’s so hard. You want them to be independent but you still want to be needed … And you want them to express their personalities, but not at your expense! I often think these things balance out as they get older and understand more what each parents brings to the party. Sending hugs anyway. Just because these things are hard. πŸ™‚

  16. Renee @peonieandme
    April 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Henrys a mummy’s boy Monday – Friday and during the night when he wakes screaming. Come the weekend when Daddy’s home from the weekend, I don’t even get a look in.

    I’m putting our experiences down to the fact our babies don’t overly need us, because we’re just there. I think they just miss their Daddy’s and never have time to miss us. The nursery tantrums I’m also putting down to them being overly stimulated and tired and it just happens to be is picking them up. Failing that, when it comes to dishing out pocket mummy we can always say, where’s daddy? #bestandworst Renee @peonieandme X

  17. Nige
    April 27, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I feel your pain our four year old twins have without question gone though favouring mum or dad and at the moment definitly prefer mum like you I just it aside it will get better #bestandworst

  18. MMT
    April 27, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Hey Nat. This made me smile because I honestly could have written it myself about our little dangermouse. It makes for an interesting dynamic in our house because her older sister (who has always adored her Daddy too) is now my shadow. Her baby sister however is just like your Taylor.
    I have always put it down to the novelty factor – after all, I am with her all the time. BORING.
    To be honest, what gets me through it is that a lot of the time, we both need a break from each other, so I smile to myself as I say ‘she wants you daddy’. That girl is full on so I just take it as a gift that it’s not me she’s clinging to when he’s around! We have plenty of ‘us time’ to enjoy – laughs, tears, fun, stress… Xxxx
    MMT recently posted…#Hidethebags: House of Fraser Spring wish listMy Profile

  19. helen gandy
    April 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Yes!! I went through a whole phase with my son being like this with me, it was heart wrenching at times when all I wanted to do was hug him close but thankfully now he’s older he’s a snuggly bug at times and I love it πŸ™‚ He does still love to mess around with his Dad though! I’m sure she’ll be giving you loads of attention, probably when you least expect it. Lovely post and keep smiling hun, thanks for linking up #bestandworst
    helen gandy recently posted…Finance and Babies.My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Helen – sometimes I feel like I’m the only mum, so it’s nice to hear from others with a similar experience xx

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