Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I am including an adorable picture, because let's be honest - this post needs something happy in it. 
Yesterday morning, Travis had to leave extra early for work. As the door shut behind him at 6am, there came a little cry from the boys' bedroom. Anxious to keep Grey and Micah from really waking up for another hour, I crept in to rub backs and soothe them back to sleep.
Grey was sitting up in his bed, so I tiptoed to him.
"Shhh!" I said, rubbing his back. "Lie down, it's okay, I'm -"
And then he smacked me in the face. As hard as his little body could.
Soon Micah was awake, also screaming for his Daddy. They attacked me, attacked each other, were both screaming and screaming and sobbing. They began tearing through the house, toppling chairs, throwing anything they could get their hands on. Purposefully emptying milk on to the floor. All while screaming and sobbing for their dad.

I did not beat them. So. Congratulations to me.

They have a favorite parent. And that is no joke. It's frustrating. It makes me angry. But mostly, it hurts my feelings.
When Travis is home, I am nothing. 
I can't get them out of their carseats. (NO! Daddy do it!) I can't hold their hands crossing the street. (NO! Daddy do it!) I can't cut up their dinner, kiss their owies, read them stories. (Daddy do it!)

You might think this is liberating, but really it's just ... I don't know. The worst.

When Travis is not  home, the boys like me. Micah will pass me, and casually lean over to give me a kiss. "Love you, mom!" he'll say.
Grey will request that I hold him or his hand. He'll ask for extra kisses on his owies. We play and laugh and sing all day, and we're happy and love each other.
Unless they decide they want their dad.
Unless they're surprised by his absence, like they were yesterday. They expected Daddy, they got Mom. And that's the worst possible thing they could imagine.

I've heard that this is a phase that all little boys go through: wanting Daddy over Mom.
But the boys have preferred Travis to me since they were 6 months old. If this is a phase, it's been going on for 4/5s of their life.

Almost every day for the last year and a half (that's a LONG time, people!) they have cried when Travis left for work.
I mean, for a half hour or more. Every morning.
That's how we start our day: with tears that Daddy has to leave for work.

Throughout the entire day, every time they hear the sound of a car outside, they look up and gasp. "Daddy's home!" They run to the window.
Daddy is not home. Sorry, boys.

When Travis travels for weeks at a time, it gets so bad. They don't even want to look at me.
It's not so bad if we go stay with my parents.
My friends and family are constantly teasing me about going to stay with my mom every time Travis leaves, "When will you be able to take care of yourself?" they ask.
We're not going to my parents' so they can take care of me. We're going so my kids can be distracted by Travis' absence. So they can have a grandpa to temporarily replace their missing Dad. So they have new things to do and see and play with, so hypothetically they care less that their only parent is me.

Sigh. Yesterday was a rough day. I wish Travis were home now.

Also, Travis: Don't feel guilty when you read this post. Stop feeling guilty. You can't help it that you are the most fun and beloved parent, nor can you help traveling. I don't blame you.  I just wish our kids loved me slightly more.

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Unknown said...

Hi there! I just recently stumbled across your blog this morning and just started following!

I am sorry about your boys having a parental preference -- I could imagine how that would make you feel. Just hang in there! I wish I had better advice, but I don't have any kids yet so there isn't much I know on that subject as of yet lol.

Anyways, It's nice to have found your lovely little blog this morning, and if you feel like following my very new blog, please feel free! (balisbabies.blogspot.com.) Thanks!

tessa said...

oh heartache! That must be so challenging! My yoga instructor is about to have her third boy. She said after the second was born her sweet older son wanted nothing to do with her for over a year. NOTHING. But I cant imagine having to deal with this every day and keep your cool, it would tear me up. I cant give you any personal advice but one thing that may (who knows?) be helpful is writing a book with them that they help make that tells them what happens when Daddy leaves and then about his work and then coming home. They they could help color the pages and read it every morning when he leaves. I follow this blog. The Longest Shortest Time (also a podcast) and when her daughter Sasha broke her leg at 2 years old she stopped sleeping. This book is the only thing that helped and it helped a lot! It gave her control over the situation. Here is the link to the posts...http://www.longestshortesttime.com/tag/broken-leg/

oh best of luck Becky!

sienna said...

Maybe you should got out of town for a week and see how they miss you!

Betsy Reddoch said...

Congratulations on not beating them. Seriously.

Elizabeth said...

Uggghhh. I'm so sorry. Also, I am not one of those friends that make fun of you for going to your parents because I understand. As to the 6 am thing. This is explains it. I heard that and thought to myself, "Oh, I hope Becky is not up there by herself" and then fell back asleep. Sorry!! I should have come and help, though I doubt that would have made a difference, as I am not Travis or you. Also, if you did happen to leave for a week, they would miss you terribly. You are just always there and they take advantage of that and Travis is not.

It will be very different when ever you have a girl. Of course Elanor LOVES Tyler and misses him when he is gone, but she wants to be like me and copy everything I do.

Jo Schaeffer-Crabb said...

I'm sorry Becky. This is so hard. It makes me think of this song - http://www.lincolncrockett.com/?section=music
(scroll down to What Will You Come Home)
Actually maybe that will make you cry. Sorry.
If it makes you feel any better, I think its completely amazing that you take care of the boys by yourself so much. I have the boys on my own a lot this semester (more than I ever have since they've been born) and I find it incredibly intimidating. If I had family (or friends) I would run to them every night that I'm on my own with the boys.
Anyway, I used to tell people when they were feeling things that "it will get better" etc. I wanted the resolution. But the truth is, we feel things for a reason. They are a lesson and we shouldn't run away from those feelings in order to feel instantly resolved. You feel sad and your boys feel sad because of Travis's absence. That means something. I would dwell in that feeling a bit and figure out what it means for all of you and what you want to do about it. Can you have more male influence some how? Can they make something for dad when they feel sad? Can he change the nature of his work to be more accommodating to his family? I'm not suggesting any one of these things, I'm just saying simply that within the time it takes me to type this, I can think of proactive resolutions. The trick is to find peace in the meaning of them though (them being both his absence and your resolutions about it). Otherwise they are just coping mechanisms.
(long crazy comment. Sorry)

Jo Schaeffer-Crabb said...

*When (not what)
When Will You Come Home

Ling Ling said...

This is so sad! I don't really know you but I think you should totally go on a vacation without your kids or husband. Even if it doesn't work and they don't miss you, at least you got a vacation!

Sarah said...

I wish I could say this hasn't been a problem for me - but, it is just part of parenting. My daughter loves her dad beyond compare, he is her favorite person EVER. I just try to remember that it's not about me, it's about her. She loves us both, but likes him more. I would suggest changing the routine in the morning. When the crying jag over daddy begins, divert them immediately. Don't tell them you're doing it. Start singing a silly song or making cookies or go for a walk - something they would rather pay attention to until they just start realizing you aren't going to stop the presses while they cry. Show them on the clock the time when daddy usually comes home and show them how to watch it tick down. Make daddy's homecoming an event they are waiting on so that it's more exciting than the fuss about his being gone. (hope that made sense). Good luck!