There's a question I commonly face as a stay at home dad: who do your children cry out for if they are distressed? Is it mummy, who works full time, or daddy, who is the one that does most of the childcare?
There seems to be an assumption that children will always cry out for mummy. I hate to break it to you, but that's not necessarily the case.
That said, if I look at my family, the answer is not straightforward. More often than not, the kids will cry out for me. Sometimes, however, they will call out for mummy.
Allow me to give you a couple of examples. Izzy, my three-year-old, tripped over in her bedroom and nicked her finger. It resulted in a tiny cut that didn't require attention. For the placebo effect, however, I placed a small plaster on this minuscule flesh wound.
On this particular occasion, mummy was home from work, so I carried Izzy to the bathroom, washed and dried the cut and mummy applied the plaster. It was a superb joint effort and worked wonderfully.
When Izzy was younger, she would almost certainly have run to her mother and insisted she do everything. Over time Izzy has warmed to me but in her younger days mummy was the only one who would be allowed to deal with such situations.
Whenever Helen, our eight-year-old daughter, has a bad dream she gets out of bed, comes into our room and wakes me. Wow, you should have heard her on the unfortunate occasion the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night.
Luckily it was a false alarm and there was no fire, but Helen called out for me so loudly she drowned out the noise of the alarm. I didn't realise a child was capable of such noise!
More often that not, it is me the kids will call out for. Sometimes, however, it is mummy.
Does it bother me when they want their mother? In a word: no.
When Izzy was younger she would always call out for mum. When I never got a look in, I confess I felt a little bad. Was I doing something wrong? Had I upset her in some way?
To call it jealousy would be wrong but I felt like I wanted to help and comfort my child. Having my support consistently turned down was a little rough.
That said, if either of my children is being comforted by mum, I'll quietly check it's not serious and take a step back. I have to respect the fact my wife isn't around the kids as much as I am. To interfere in such a tender moment would be an intrusion, a violation, of her relationship with the kids. I simply have to put my own feelings on ice.
It is ultimately about ensuring and knowing my children are getting the emotional help and support they need. Sometimes that should come from me, sometimes mum. So long as they get what they need, I'm happy.
Who do your little ones cry out for? Is it mum or dad? How does it make you feel if they request help from your partner?Suggest a correction