When growing up, I always heard the terms “daddy’s girl” and “mama’s boy” when speaking on the relationships of mother’s, father’s and their children. For me, it was always so hard to choose. I loved both of my parents so much I didn’t understand how you could be more of one than the other. As I grew older, I learned that being a “mama’s girl” or “daddy’s boy” wasn’t an intentional thing, but more of a natural connection. No one is intentionally choosing to grow closer to their mother than their father, it naturally happens.
When I became a parent the first time, I soon learned what it meant to be on the other side of “mommy’s little girl” and “daddy’s girl.” In the early years, maybe up until three, our daughter Taniya loved her some mommy. My husband was the love of her life and favorite person to play with, but when it came to me… I was the apple of her eye. As she grew older, my husband soon turned into her favorite person. Quick side note, her grandparents are on a whole different level when it comes to people she loves. My husband and I know our place lol. But when it comes to us as her parents, it’s “I’m daddy’s baby, mommy’s crazy.”
I thought it was cute and loved that she could see no wrong when it came to her father. My father was deceased when I gave birth to her so it was heartwarming to see her enjoy the love of my husband. Eventually, what I once thought was cute began to transform into irritation as the years flew by. I started to notice my daughter intentionally choosing my husband over me.
Since my baby had to spend a lot of time away from her dad due to work, I sympathized with her. For example, when he came home from the road I would put myself on the back burner in order for her to spend as much time with her dad as she could before it was time for him to leave again. Their bond would continue to grow while he was out on the road, but it was through their experiences with one another in person, that made them inseparable. It was beautiful to me! During this time, she and I had no issues. She and I were tight like a corset, and she was able to still have a strong relationship with her father.
Things began to change in October of 2017 when we gave birth to our second daughter. Although there was a six-year gap between the two, I knew the baby’s presence in the world would bring about mixed emotions and behavior from Taniya. She was an amazing help, loved Jayla dearly, but also had to share the attention. She was also growing and learning herself more since she was in her first year of grade school. I soon began to hate age six, while my husband loved it. Of course he did! She loved, respected him, played with him, and he didn’t spend all day with her. When it came to me? I received the back talk, terrible listening, shifts in attitude and more. I tried my hardest with gentle parenting and being super understanding to her having to learn the new dynamic in our household. I understood that for six years I belonged to her, but I grew to a point where I was fed up. I believe my daughter viewed me as inferior to my husband. Like he was the only person she needed to respect. It was upsetting because I thought that I would have this struggle when she was a teenager, not six!
Fast forward to June of 2018… After a year of being a local driver, my husband and I felt it was okay for him to head back over-the-road to drive long distance. Taniya is in her final months of being 6 years old at this point. He left on a Monday, we went to visit South Carolina with my in-laws that Friday. When I tell you my daughter LOST. HER. MIND!!! I mean literally lost it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. I kept censoring myself and trying to be kind since my in-laws were around. I wanted her to be able to enjoy them. But I soon learned that she thought she could get away with her disrespectful tone because they were present. It was so noticeable that my in-laws ended up addressing it also. On the last day of our visit, I almost turned Cracker Barrel upside down. Every time I corrected my daughter she had a rebuttal, and I had to repeat myself 7 times before she would finally do what I told her to do. I saw RED! In order to keep my cool, I let her sit with her grandparents while I went to nurse Jayla. I began to calm down as I nursed, but I felt myself shut down from my own child. I didn’t want to talk to or be around her.
I genuinely loved my daughter, but I didn’t like her. I felt disrespected, unappreciated and unloved. I know that sounds crazy. I’m the parent, and children will be children. But I was already in a vulnerable state. My husband just left and I was on my own with TWO kids this time. I was still battling bouts of postpartum depression, and I was honestly used to Taniya and I clinging and working together when it was just us. I was completely caught off guard and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to punish her for responding to the departure of her father, but I couldn’t let her continue to act out the way she was. I tried not to bother my husband with the drama because he literally just left 5 days ago at this time, but I called him and let him know everything. I told him very calmly that I knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy, but I had checked out. What was supposed to be a nice getaway was ruined. He was appalled. He immediately said, “Put her on the phone.”
My feelings were so hurt when I heard her responses to his questions. My daughter completely dismissed all that I did for her and sung all the praises to my husband. She would be willing to do the tasks, but would rather my husband told her to do them. I was flabbergasted! My efforts to make sure that Taniya respected and loved my husband when he came home turned into her thinking that she should only listen to him. I would never turn her against him, but how?! I did and do everything! I mean everything! When my husband isn’t home, I operate as a single mother for up to 2 months at a time. How dare she make me invisible?! To my surprise, my husband felt the same way. He was so disappointed in her actions.
It took me 4 days to gain back control of our situation. I was battling with having a pure dislike for my daughter. I felt like a bad mother for not liking my own child. But I chalked it up to this. Although I was the adult in the situation, my relationship with my daughter is an extremely important one. Whenever any person feels mistreated in a relationship, they feel hurt. I felt mistreated by my daughter. I had to let her know that although she is a “daddy’s girl,” it doesn’t mean she has to choose one parent over the other. I wanted her to remember that her mother and father were a team and she had to accept us as the duo we are.
I also learned that I had to change-up my day, and maximize the time that I would spend with Taniya. Even though I needed Jayla’s nap times in order for me to get other things done, I had to use some of those times just for Taniya and I. It’s an ongoing process, but she and I are getting it together. This phase really allowed me to see that there is a lot that I need to work on as a mother.
We don’t always get it right!