Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You're Mine....ALL MINE!

While at the convention, I attended a breakout session for those dads who had infants or toddlers. All of us had lots of questions but one in particular came up. A dad asked "How do you get your kids to pay attention to Mommy once in awhile?" While mom is at work and dad is staying at home, clearly the roles are reversed in who is the go-to person for boo-boos and consoling. I wouldn't say that I am particularly tender and I don't fawn all over my kids when they get hurt but when they are upset I do everything I can to console them. "Rub some dirt on it!" my dad would say. Just kidding. We put Band-Aids on for every and every ailment; from paper cuts to bruises, bandages have wonderful healing power.

While this is happening you are creating a bond that kids emotionally will attach to you. My daughter, who is 21 months currently is the worst offender of this. She constantly wants to be held, by me. She doesn't want anyone else to put her to bed. She wants me to hold her when I am sauteing vegetables. She wants me to hold her when her brother and sister are around. Essentially she is claiming me as her own like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant.

There is no doubt that within this dynamic there can be feelings of jealously between you and your spouse. Not getting attention from your kids is a terrible feeling. We know this because we see how our own kids can be when they don't get attention. That doesn't mean you should stamp your feet and stick out your bottom lip and demand a cuddle but it does mean that you will have to be patient.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that eventually. EVENTUALLY. It will all change. Just when you thought they would never roll over, they did it. Just when you thought they would never sleep through the night, they did it. Just when you thought that they would never poop in a bucket, they did it!

My wife and I try to make sure that there are special times that only mommy gets with each child. It may mean baking cookies together or going shopping for girl stuff or even going on a walk alone but make it a point to spend solo time on mini-dates with your kids. Your kids love you and cherish you. Just give them time and attention and I promise it will turn around.

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