Favoring one parent over the other

“I want to sit by daddy,” my daughter declares.

“No, I want to,” my son says.

This is a conversation I hear all the time. It doesn’t matter if we are sitting on the couch, eating out at a restaurant or going on a ride at the amusement park. While with the first two, there are two sides to daddy so that both kids can get their wish but on the last, they have to take turns. Someone must sit with mommy.

favorite parentI know that the kids’ excitement about their dad is just because they don’t see him as often as they do me. I am the one to get them ready, takes and picks them up from school, makes their meals, helps with homework and all that stuff. I am also the one that takes them to the zoo, the library, the pool, and any other fun activity to fill up their days off during school breaks.

Many times I am happy when my husband comes home and they swarm over him. I know they have been missing him, and I am glad to have a break. But after so many times of them arguing on who sits next to him at the restaurant, I am sometimes tired of it. They once all sat on one side of the table in a booth. I had the other side all to myself. Talk about feeling unwanted, I sure did.

I know the kids aren’t trying to hurt my feelings when they continually want daddy, but it does sometimes. I also know that this is perfectly normal. One day when I was upset by their actions, I went online and read other parents’ accounts of having the same thing happen to them. And it helped that a few experts suggested the kids would only do this if they felt comfortable that I would always be there for them no matter what.

But even with knowing that, it does drive me crazy sometimes. Last May, we had a trip to Disney World planned, and I told my husband we would have to make sure they understood they would need to take turns riding with each of us.

Of course, my husband unexpectedly started his new business about six weeks before our trip and decided that he couldn’t go. My mom stepped in and took his place. But on the trip, all of sudden it was like I was “daddy.” Both kids wanted to sit beside me at the restaurant, on the bus and on the rides. It was nice to for once to be the preferred parent – even if it was only be default.