Why Are You The Favourite Parent In Your Household?

Have you ever felt as though your child has a favourite parent? It could be you.

Have you ever felt as though your child has a favourite parent? It could be you. Is there a parent that your child tends to gravitate towards and seemingly prefer when it comes to who they sit beside, who they will want to go places with and, more importantly, who they will listen to? Don’t worry, it’s actually very normal.
It has its pros and cons believe it or not. Being the “other” parent can mean that you end up doing less of the difficult parts of parenting from time to time. Many children, for example, will insist upon a certain parent to put them to bed or bathe them. This can work out well for the other parent when there are other children involved as logistically it frees up their time to do other things. Of course, the heart is not concerned with logistics though so feeling as though you are not the favourite parent can be quite upsetting for a lot of people.
Have you ever uttered the words “he’ll listen to his father” or “I’m calling Mammy” knowing that it will instil a certain reaction? In my case, I know that my son takes my husband’s discipline more seriously and I think I have a pretty good idea as to why. On a basic level he experiences a lot less of it and for that reason, it seems to have more of an impact. It’s almost a shock when my husband says something with a tone of authority.
My son has been known to look pale if my husband tells him he shouldn’t have done something or that something wasn’t a good idea. If I say the same thing he is very likely to ignore me and seem completely unaffected which can be extremely frustrating.

I am the parent that my son spends more time with. I work from home so I do the school runs, provide all the snacks and 90 percent of the disciplining by default. The simple fact that we are together most of the time means that I am exposed to more “opportunities” to tell my son he can’t, shouldn’t and won’t be doing X, Y and Z.
Naturally, this is not the kind of thing a child likes to hear and it is often met with resistance. It can sometimes feel like after a particularly difficult day my husband sweeps in at 6.30pm as the provider of all things fun in comparison to me – the “strict” one. I never wanted to be the strict parent and while I know I’m not it can be difficult to consider that my son might see me as that force in the home.

If someone was to ask me who the favourite parent was in our home I would say my husband off the bat. He’s the parent that my almost-five-year-old associates with fun, silliness and laughter. Watching their relationship grow and blossom is a really beautiful thing for that very reason. In his little world, I am the one who interrupts his play to tell him that we have to get dressed for school.
I am the one saying no to another treat and the one telling him that tonight is bath night. I seem to always be delivering the information that is met with disappointment on his face and I really struggle with that. Sometimes it would be nice to be the “fun parent”. I automatically associate that as being the favourite parent because in my son’s world fun is everything whereas in my world keeping him safe, healthy and protected is everything.
And in the midst of it all he’s actually a massive fan of me. Deep down I know that. We had about two years where, as a baby, he most definitely gravitated towards me. I was the source of food and comfort 90 percent of the time. He always wanted to be physically close to me. He associated me with safety. He also associated me with milk which was pretty much the most important thing in his world back then. It was his greatest source of joy and I was the sole provider. That felt pretty special.

And then he got older, discovered rough-and-tumble play and that just isn’t my forte. That’s where my husband came in. In our case, I’ve learned to look at it with logical eyes. Feeling like you are not the favourite parent can be a tough pill to swallow – especially when you give so much. But it isn’t personal, it isn’t forever and it definitely has it’s upsides.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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