The other day my daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, I love you this much (with her fingers super close together), and I love daddy this much! (With her arms spread wide apart)”. My first reaction, although I kept my internal dialogue to myself was:
“What the hell are you talking about? I do everything for you. I cook, clean, hairdos, wipe your ass, buy you shit, play dolls with you, art projects, listen to your whining, make milkshakes, hold you when you are scared or hurt, work at your school, EVERYTHING! What does daddy do for you? Tell me that! He gets to play with you for 1 hour a night and then on the weekends, where he mostly plays video games. And that is worthy of you loving him more than me?”
But I didn’t say that…. After I took a deep breath and carefully chose my words, all I could say was, “Well, I love you, dad, and baby brother all THIS MUCH (with my arms spread way apart over my head), and when you are in a family, you can love everyone the same amount.”
Since then, she has been giving little punches here and there. Saying shit like, “Well, if you and daddy weren’t together, I would live with daddy”.
Which of course I replied with, “Well who would wash and fold your clothes? Who would make you smoothies? Who would color with you? Cause daddy’s not.” Probably not the most “Positive Discipline” thing to say, but my feelings were hurt. And at the moment, I didn’t want to sit back and choose my words correctly.
A part of me totally understands where she is coming from. She loves her dad. She would do anything for him. She searches for his attention in any way possible. Don’t get me wrong… my husband is a great father. He is patient, affectionate, and loves his kids with all his heart. But handing out attention, free willingly? Get in line, cause we are all in it. His second love in life, after his family, is his video games. The man is obsessed with games. And sometimes, quite frankly, he puts his games in front of his daughter wanting to play with him. His solution is usually to include her in his gaming. But that can only take you so far.
So when daddy is available to hand out attention to his daughter in any shape or form, mommy is usually left with the dirty work, of dishes, laundry, cooking, teeth brushing, negotiating bed times, and arguing about the amount of screen time or candy eating.
I am her veggies she has to eat on her plate before dessert. I am nutritious, healthy and something she needs for her body. Daddy is the ice cream Sunday she gets to eat after her she is done with her healthy food. I mean holy hell, I have taken parenting classes for god sake! Why would she say, she loves daddy more than me?
In the end, she is being a kid. And frankly, she knows how to push my buttons when she is pissed at me. She could be saying this because she is upset I made her put her dishes away when she was done eating. Or took the iPad away when it was time for bed. But it is hard to not take it personally. I just hope when she is in her 20’s and out of the house, she can look back and think, “My mom rocks! And she took such great care of me. And I love her so much!”
I am patiently waiting for that day to come.