42 answers

15 Month Old Prefers Dad

Just wondered if other moms ever felt bad that their toddlers prefer Dad because he is the "fun guy" and I am the one who does the more unpleasant tasks like baths, diaper changes, toenail clipping, ear cleaning etc. In short, my husband works 60+ hours a week and is gone overnight 3-4 nights a week. While my 15 month old son and I have a wonderful time together when my husband is at work, when he gets home my son wants nothing to do with me! He will scream until my husband picks him up and if I try to pick him up he will scream for Daddy. My sweet baby boy who will spend hours playing with me when daddy is not home wont let me hold him or play with him. I have read about this in parents magazine but it is always the Dad who is left out and the children prefer Mom since she is the primary caregiver during the day. My husband is all "fun"and I know boys always like thier daddys but I thought at this young age I would get a little "mommy preference". Has anyone else ran into this or am I a big minority here? Today I had tears in my eyes when my husband got to spend the evening playing with my son and he completely wanted nothing to do with me. What am I doing wrong here? I know it is childish to feel this way but I cant help it. Also, my husband doesnt seem to want to help the situation and I get the feeling he actually finds it flattering.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi T.,
I have 2 daughters who are very much daddy's girls. In the beginning, my youngest daughter was closer to me...but as she got older (around a year old), she began wanting her dad too. I started feeling like the odd man out...

Now my girls are teenagers... and even though they have a great "fun" relationship with their dad... they know they can come to me for the things that matter most to them.

My husband still gets dibs for the fun stuff...but now I have a place in my daughters' lives that daddy doesn't fit.

Now...my husband on the other hand is a momma's boy still to this day (he's 40 yrs old!)... According to his mom, there was a time when he realized he was a boy and wanted to be like dad. So he would stick by his dad every chance he could. As he got older and there were other boys to hang out with...he didn't "prefer" his dad as much and remained his momma's...

Hi T.! Wow I am going through the exact same thing. My son is now 3 years old and it has been really hard to keep myself from crying. I feel like when my son's father is around my son is actually mean to me. I have also tried to talk to my husband about this and I think he too finds this flattering. I really have no advice. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and it really helped to hear that someone else is going through the same thing. There are times that because of this I felt maybe I wasn't a good mother. I have really just tried to enjoy the time alone with my son and look at the time when my son's dad is home as a break.

I think that if their dad is away so much, children tend to "cling" to them when they are home. It must be scary to not know when they will be leaving or coming back, so I often wonder if children cling to dad (those that work outside the home) rather than their SAHM because mom is "safer" and the child knows she is not going anywhere.

More Answers

There's nothing wrong, I personally think you might be over reacting. Your baby never sees his father, and when he is there your little one is so thrilled that Daddy is finally home, all your son wants to do is love and play with his Daddy while he can. You have your son all day, everyday., focus on the play time you and your son get and not the "chore" things you have to do for him. If you think about it, you might find that you get more one on one time with your son then your husband. Enjoy the freedom you have while your husband is home. Take a long bath, go window shopping for an hour or two. Let him deal with the bath and diapers a couple of times. Parenting is a shared job, if you don't share you'll burn out.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

suck it up T.. Let dad enjoy this. It won't last long. Enjoy the time you get with your child- one on one. You need to think about this from every angle, then it will become clearer.

Good luck.


1 mom found this helpful

I think it is fantastic that your son is so enthused with your husband. If it were me, and my husband worked that much while I was at home all day and some nights alone, I think I would take advantage of this situation. I would use at least some of the time to get some "me time" in. Go have a quiet bubble bath or go shopping all by yourself! Look for the positive in this situation. It could be like it is in my home when I am home all day with the kids while daddy works and even when he is home, they still expect everything to come from me, and so does he! Then you have everyone in your home demanding all of your time and engergy. Be happy that you have the opportunity to have a little break from being mommy and get some time to just be T. once in a while.

1 mom found this helpful


I know how you feel. My husband works a lot and is always busy. But you know it is all in how you look at it. My son is with me ALL day and Night before he goes to bed (minus 4hrs for work) But anyway. I have all day to be the go to person and i get to see all of his little first's and i get to tell my husband about them. If you think about how much they are missing out on really...then it makes it a little easier for them to be the go to person in the evening. Take that time to get things done that you just couldnt get done earlier in the day. Just try to think about what it would be like if your baby wanted nothing to do with daddy imagine how hard that would probaly be for him. One day it will change, so everyone says my son is almost 17 months, and his feelings may be hurt when it is. It doesnt make it any easier but maybe it will take the sting out a little bit. Well good luck to you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful

Since Dad is away so much, do not begrudge him the time with your son.
And cherish the time you have with him now when he is little.
Things will be different as he gets older.
Take a "big girl pill" TODAY!

1 mom found this helpful

It's a great thing that your son loves his daddy AND his mommy so much! If he didn't feel this way, then when would your husband get to have quality time with his son? And of course your husband is flattered by this behavior---that encourages even more bonding time, which is a win-win for everyone. You are a family of 3, and the hope should always be that your son feels happy, secured and loved equally by both mom and dad. My husband loved coming home at the end of the day to our 3 kids and YES every evening was daddy time--and it was just the way it should be. I guess the question is: What would you like to have happen? What if your son spent all day with you and then still only wanted you in the evenings? It sounds like your husband is away from home a great deal of the time; don't you want him to form a warm loving bond with your son? AND, you deserve a little break from being mommy too! My kids are all grown now, but during those baby/toddler years, I loved seeing my husband come home at the end of the day, because I knew that my kids would get the chance to spend time with him and I would get some relief from my hours with them.

1 mom found this helpful

I completely understand how you feel. There are times when my daughter wants nothing to do with me...only wants her daddy. And on the other hand there are times she only wants me...it does flip back and forth. One thing to consider...when your son is in the "daddy zone" take advantage of it. Take some time for yourself...get some stuff done that you put off while it's just you and your son. Get caught up on some scrapbooking, sewing, or whatever hobby you may have. Try to look at the other side of this as you having some ME time for a change :-)

It seems like this is the only time your husband gets to spend with your son so you should let him have it (you get to work on your relationship with your son all day and night, but your husband only has these limited hours). You’re lucky he wants to be with your son when he is home – some men would want to relax during their limited time off and not want to be “bothered” with their children. If I were you, I'd relish the break and use the time to catch up on reading or just to take a breath. You could also suggest that you take a night once a month (or more often) to go out and do something as a family. That way your son will get to do things with both of you and know that he can enjoy being with both Mom and Dad at the same time (plus, with your husband being gone so much you can’t have that much time to do special family things).

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