Since Ted was born I have been a stay at home mum. I have thoroughly enjoy this part of my life but I have had a few heart aches along the way too. Ted, my son and Howard, my husband have a brilliant relationship and I love that they do. However, on more than one occasion I have found their friendship very hard to come to terms with. As their relationship has developed over the past few years I have felt like an outsider looking in.
Howard, god bless him, told me before Ted was born he wanted to do the bed time routine to give me a break. So being a new mum, who didn’t really know any different, I agreed to this suggestion but I now feel this was probably not the best idea. It was lovely knowing that Howard was coming home and I would get a break from our new little house guest. Daddy was like magic man to our son. He would suddenly appear through the front door and Ted would be at his side immediately. To be honest, Ted is still like this now.
On the one hand this gave me great joy to watch them together but on the other hand I would often wonder if he would do the same for me if I went out to work. A year or so ago Ted and I began to have a difficult time. When Howard went to work we were OK but as soon as he was home Ted would immediately turn to dad. It had gotten to a point where if Daddy was home from work Ted would go to him for everything. He would completely ignore me and I felt like he was pretending I was not there anymore. It really upset me and I felt like no one understood this situation. Other mums would always speak about how their children would cry for them and not their dads. So after a discussion Howard and I decided to put strategies in place to help us with the situation.
In the past, I hate to admit it but I have snapped when Ted tells me he wants Daddy. Although, when this started to happen I realised I wasn’t helping the situation with a negative reaction. When I feel like the least favourite person it can hurt but I have realised that I have to respond to my child with kindness and I have to tell him I love him no matter what he says. I really want to maintain a loving connection with Ted so I always tell him I will love and care for him even if I don’t like his behaviour at times.
If I feel like I’m in a situation where Ted is constantly asking for daddy I simply remember to breath, count to ten and let it go. Also, I have now learned not to dwell on the situation either and move on. When Ted would tell me he missed daddy, again I hate to admit it, I would react in a negative way. Nowadays when Ted informs me he misses Daddy I react with empathy and I tell him that I understand and that I miss Daddy too. I will reassure him that Daddy will be home before he knows it.
Howard and I agreed during our conversation to take turns to do the bedtime routine. At first it was really hard for Ted to understand but after a few nights he got used to it. Occasionally I think he even enjoys mummy putting him to bed. We now have a predictable schedule. Howard will also help with the cooking and general household tasks at the weekends. I cook on Saturday and he will cook on Sunday. We also take turns with toilet duty and we share helping to dress Ted when Howard is at home.
So we have formulated a schedule that works for all of us. Our son loves a routine and our alternative nightly bath and other schedules help us all work well together. By taking these small steps we are ensuring that Ted gets equal mum and dad time. Howard and I have learned that we have to work as a team to help our son understand that we are both here.
Today, it no longer feels like a competition and I’m no longer the outsider looking in. Ted and I have a much happier relationship now even when daddy is at home. After a calm talk my husband and I have come together to work as a team. Parenting is hard work but when my husband and I work together it makes all our lives easier.