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I’m the Least Favorite Parent

leastI’ve changed most of the diapers. Taught most of the lessons. Wiped the most tears, and I’ve kissed most of the booboos. I’ve stayed up the most nights, and rocked them back to sleep. I’ve sang all of the lullabies, and dedicated the majority of the past 7 years to my kids, and still, they like their father more than me.

Maybe this sounds selfish, maybe it’s petty, or silly, or just flat-out stupid, but as the stay at home parent, the one who is here the MOST, it stings a little to know that I’m the least favorite. Every day when my children’s father comes home, it’s a celebration. They are elated. There are hugs and details from their days that I never got to hear. At times, it almost feels like they are relieved not to be stuck with me anymore. On the rare occasion that I get to go out without the kids, I come home hoping for the same joyous welcoming. It isn’t there. There are no hugs, no details, no celebration. Just a “Hi Mommy.” Punch to the gut. I hate that it makes me feel bad, and there’s seemingly nothing I can do to change it.

I know that they love me. I have no doubts about that fact- but they just don’t LIKE me as much, and why? It’s a question that has plagued me since the moment it seemed like they began to favor him over me. I’m not mean, or awful, or overbearing. I’m not always the “bad cop”, not always the enforcer. We laugh a lot. We have fun all the time. We cuddle and watch movies. We slack off together. I’ve gone above and beyond. I may have even considered bribery. I can’t help it- I just want to be the favorite for once.

……but I don’t think that’s going to happen. At least, not until they’re out on their own and realize how frickin’ awesome I am. Hopefully sooner, but maybe not. And I’ve had to learn to be okay with that, because I have no other choice. Still, I can’t help but to wonder, and all the wondering and head-scratching (and maybe some table flipping) lead me to one conclusion:

I may not be their favorite- but I AM their constant. That’s what we stay at home parents are to our kids. Constants. They know that, no matter what, we will always be there for them, for whatever they need. They KNOW that. They don’t question it, they don’t worry about it, and because they’ve always had it, they don’t really even think about it. They might even (frequently) take advantage of it. That’s how safe and secure they feel about our presence.

I’m not AT ALL saying the kids think the other parent is going to flee the moment they get the chance (even if it’s quite tempting at times!)- but those of us who may not be the favorites have something special of our own. We are there. We are their north stars- and that’s nothing to feel bad about.

Posted on February 11, 2015 by Holdin' Holden 4 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • it is the opposite here. My wife works and when she gets home after I have spent the day cleaning and cooking and other tasks, like you said it is a celebration.
    We are the expected, they are the favored. Its all good because I take those moments of celebration with a smile as I secretly think “get her!” so I can get a few minutes of peace.

  • OMG that is so normal. I remember feeling like that when my lads were small. They love you but at the moment they are with you day in and day out, which means us mums are sorta boring if you know what I mean. Trust me, as they get older they show their love for you and their gladness to see you when you haven’t been around. Mine even take me out for coffee or lunch now!! No matter what, they will always be your boys and you their mum.

  • Some of my best memories growing up are of time with my dad, snorkelling at the beach, camping trips, why? I mean Mum was there day and night, whilst dad worked 2 jobs so we didn’t go without. I guess those stolen moments, like holidays became so much more precious, but now as an adult I can appreciate that mum was THERE and dad worked hard for all of US. I can admire them both and thank them both for their roles. Now my dad’s retired we have awesome chats and he spends quality time with my kids, they adore both my parents, your kids will be grateful to you both!

  • I had a close friend in his 70s who gave his stay-at-home mother lots of grief as a kid. He didn’t seem particularly remorseful as he made this confession. When his dad died, he was sad. But when his mom died it hit him very hard.

    Maybe a mom is like your right arm and your dad is like an ice cream cone. Everyone screams for ice cream, but hardly anyone screams for a right arm (except those who have none).