• Wed, Jun 12 - 1:00 pm ET

My Baby Loves His Father More Than Me

toddler loving dadI’m actually quite proud of myself for not allowing my feelings to get (too) hurt. I know my son loves me. I just think he loves his father more (at least right now). Happy Father’s Day, I guess.

Most mothers know the term “Mommmyitous,” which is when your child refuses to leave mommy’s side, or if someone tries to hold your child they’ll just reach out and want Mommy, Mommy, and Mommy. But who ever uses the term “Daddyitous?” My son has Daddyitous.

When my fiancé comes home from work, it’s game over for mommy. I no longer exist. My son just wants Daddy, Daddy, and Daddy. He will not leave Daddy’s side, grabbing onto his leg and not letting go. When my fiancé tries to put him down on the floor, he starts to scream, so my fiancé has to pick him up again. My fiancé literally has to sneak out the door in the mornings because my son has such “Daddyitous.”

I’m not used to this. My daughter definitely had Mommyitous from the time she was born and I’ll admit, I loved it. She STILL has Mommyitous and I still LOVE it. Who wouldn’t? It’s so nice to know that you are the most important and wonderful person in your child’s life!

When my nephew was a toddler, he only wanted my brother. He even refused to let my sister-in-law put him to bed and many, many times I heard my nephew wailing, “I want Daddy! I want Daddy ONLY! NO MOMMY!”

Back then, I thought, “Wow! That’s got to sting for my sister-in-law. How can her feelings not be hurt that her own son doesn’t want her?” But now I’m living the same thing. When Daddy is around, Mommy is as good as a lamp, something that is in the room but not needed. Which if I really think about it should hurt my feelings.

I’m the one home with the dude all day. I’m the one that makes sure he naps, eats, has his diaper changed. I do the grunge work, the unappreciated grunge work that keeps him alive! Daddy just comes home from work and, um, Mommy is totally forgotten about. (I won’t get into the fact that Daddy didn’t have to carry baby for almost 10 months either!)

My fiancé does not like that our son has Daddyitous. He doesn’t find it endearing. He finds it kind of annoying. He finds it fucking annoying. I can see why. My fiancé, when he is home, can’t even go to the bathroom without taking our son with him.

I think my feelings don’t get that hurt because it’s a great excuse for me to have some Mommy Time. Hey, the kid doesn’t want me! He wants Daddy! What can I do? Literally, my fiancé will be chopping up vegetables for dinner and our son will be hanging off his leg for dear life. Even though I am WAY better at putting our son to bed, if my son starts to talk like, “I ONLY WANT DADDY TO PUT ME TO BED,” well, I think I’ll be just fine with that. Changing him, trying to get him into his pajamas, feeding him a bottle, reading him a book isn’t exactly my ideal of fun every single night. My fiancé may get annoyed that our son has Daddyitous, and I MAY pretend to be upset.

I have said, “Why doesn’t he love me as much?” pretending to be hurt while really thinking, “Thank God, I get a break!”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I’ll say to my fiancé. “He just really loves you. You should be so happy!”

Yes, I’m trying to get my fiancé to look at the positive of Daddyitous so he won’t get so annoyed and I can enjoy some free time. When Daddy is not around, my son DOES want Mommy. It’s kind of like getting a silver medal instead of a gold. But I think silver is just fine (except when it comes to jewelry.)

I’m going to enjoy this time while my son has Daddyitous because it doesn’t last forever apparently. And, as sappy as it sounds, I love seeing how much my son adores his dad.

(photo: MCarper / Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • SDA

    Sometimes I feel like my daughter feels this way about her sitter. It is all fun and games and she is completely spoiled rotten there. When she comes home, it is all high chairs, and feeding, and bed time (although I make sure to have an hour of play with her a night). I just try to be very happy she feels that loved there, but c’mon girl, throw me a bone!! (Of course, my Saturdays and Sundays are full of “mamamamamamas” so that does help)

  • Blueathena623

    Yup, this is the attitude to have. My son is seriously in love with my husband, despite me staying home with him. Mommy is no more once daddy walks in the door. At first it really hurt my feelings for him to literally push me out of the way once his dad got home. Its hysterical and heartbreaking how frantic he gets when DH even goes to the bathroom. But then, like you, I realized that its actually kinda great that I can go to the bathroom and not come out to a sobbing toddler. Its awesome I don’t have to hold him all the time so he doesn’t get hysterical. On the weekends we trade off taking care of him, and by the end DH is always exhausted. I also have a lot more freedom in my “off” time because my kid doesn’t care if I breeze in and out of the room doing whatever. With DH, however, we (I?) decided that during his “off” time, once he leaves the room he needs to stay out of the room because I am not going to deal with a tantrum every few minutes. So he’ll be upstairs in his office, texting me if its safe for him to come downstairs and get a drink, and when you think about it, that has got to SUCK.

  • Anne Cordelia

    Amen, sister! This whole “Mommyitous” thing is one of the many reasons I decided not to breastfeed my son. I’ve seen so, so many breastfed babies that can’t be comforted by anyone but mommy, who want only mommy, mommymommymommymommy!!! I’m certainly not saying that all breastfed babies are like that at all, but I certainly didn’t want to take the chance. My husband and I are partners in life, and it would totally gripe my ass not to have that reciprocity when it comes to our child. Who, incidently, most loves whomever is closest. It’s a win-win; time to myself, but with lots of love, too.

    • sparklesmcgee

      Wait, you chose not to breastfeed because you didn’t want your kid to be too attached to you?

    • LET

      I agree, WTH??
      I BF’d & was a single mom til my son was almost 3, but my son still loves my DH (adopted father) as much as me & sometimes more. The idea that one shouldn’t BF to avoid mommyitis is asinine.

    • whiteroses

      Yeah, that’s confusing. My son is formula fed and for the last month and a half nobody on earth has existed but me. He spends a ridiculous amount of time with his grandmother and grandfather as well. And I hate to burst your bubble or “gripe your ass”, but as your child grows he will occasionally prefer one parent over the other. Children aren’t really known for their sense of equality. Fairness, yes, but equality, not so much.

      Try explaining to a feverish three year old “No, baby, Mommy was here an hour ago and Mommy and Daddy are equal partners.” You know what that’s going to do when your child’s wanting comfort from whatever parent isn’t closest?

      I agree with LET. Not BFing to avoid mommyitis is asinine.

    • SDA

      Yeah, choosing to BF or not probably won’t affect if your child has “Mommyitous” – pretty much depends on the child and also their developmental stage in life.

  • Lashatumbai

    I wish mine would have a little more daddyitous sometimes…

  • LiteBrite

    For the first year, my son was all about Mommy. Then, right around age 1, he made the switch. Suddenly, Daddy was the shining star. Only Daddy could put him to bed. Only Daddy could read him a story. Only Daddy could fix the Lego tower. It went like that for a good couple of years, then just as suddenly he switched again and was all about Mommy.

    Right now, he’s in his Daddy phase once again, to a point where on a recent outing with just the two of us he refused to get ice cream because he wanted to check with DH first to make sure it was okay. (Seriously kid?) I admit I get a little jealous and annoyed over his Daddyitous, but it’s a great way to get some guilt-free Me time. Yeah, it stings a little when he wants Daddy and not me, but the boy has an awesome male role model in DH, and I’m glad he trusts his father as much as he does.

  • Margaret

    Really? “Most mothers know the term “Mommmyitous?” Huh. Four kids, never heard of it. If you’re trying to coin something here, maybe it’s Mommy-itis? Daddy-itis?