Why Do My Kids Only Ever Want ME?
Have you seen my husband? I’m not asking because he has gone missing, I’m asking because I’ve come to the conclusion that he is invisible to everyone but me. He must be. There is no other explanation as to why every bugger bypasses him and comes directly to me to do the shittiest and dumbest of things for them. Including my children. Not a day goes by without me screaming – ‘Ask Daddy. He’s right next to you!’
Last week I was invited out to a friend’s 30th birthday. Not only was it exciting because I hardly have any friends left who are that young – and it made me feel slightly less like a decrepit mother – but because I rarely get to go out out. And this time I was going to bypass my ‘dab under the armpit and quick squat on the bidet‘ beauty regime and actually take a long shower. The kind where legs get shaved and hair gets washed and I’m in there long enough to actually steam up the bathroom windows. The only way I was able to do that was because my husband, aka my two childrens’ father,was home from work early and could keep an eye on his own daughters. Apparently.
Then this happened while I was hiding in the bathroom:
Child 1: Mummy?
Me: (Under my breath) Go away, go away, go away
Child 1: Muuummy!
Me: (Under my breath) Go away, go away, go away. I’m trying to have a bloody shower in peace. Leave me alone.
Child 1: MUMMY!!!!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!!
Me: (Addressing my other half) Darling, can you deal with it, please? I’m in the shower.
The bathroom door opens (I know, I know, I’m so used to not locking it that I didn’t lock it), my shower screen is pulled to one side and a plastic Dora The Explorer plate and a half eaten pizza is shoved into my naked soapy stomach.
Child 1: I don’t want any more of my dinner.
Me: Where’s Daddy?
Child 1: On the sofa watching the football.
Me: (In my head) THEN WHY THE FUCK DON’T YOU TELL HIM INSTEAD OF ME?!
So let’s take a look at what just happened.
1. I was gone 3.47 minutes and my child panicked.
2. She was allowed to scream my name three times, at no point did my husband stir.
3. My husband KNEW I was in the shower, but he didn’t think to deal with the issue.
4. He lets her take her half eaten food (the kind that stains walls and carpets), walk around the house with it, then pass me her unfinished dinner while I am standing naked in the shower, covered in soap suds, the one time I am meant to be getting a peaceful break.
5. All without looking up from the TV.
And yet our men are so very good at looking all surprised when quizzed about said occurrences.
‘But they were asking for you,’ he always says, looking genuinely confused, as if whatever our children want is too great a job for their mere father to take care of and could only be handled by SuperMummy.
Is it a clever ploy to get out of doing the multitude of scintillating tasks that parenthood thrusts upon us, like arse wiping and water fetching and remote control changing?
Or does he simply not look up when they are shouting ‘Mummy’ fifty thousands times because his name is ‘Daddy,’ so clearly the call is not for him? Therefore ensuring that he is free to carry on as normal.
This constant need for me over him happens everywhere. All the time, in any place…
We go to a restaurant and the girls have a full on fist fight over who gets to sit next to me. Why? They see me every single day, why is it such a treat to sit beside me?
They need ten wees and three craps in the time it takes to walk around the shopping centre, but can Daddy take them? No, it HAS to be me.
When we are on an airplane and there are four of us, guess who gets to sit on the lonesome single seat? Yep, Daddy. Guess who has to have kid screeching in stereo, sitting in the middle seat with a child either side? Yep. Lucky me.
Bedtime story choice? Mummy.
Child falls and starts crying. Mummy.
Waking up in the middle of the night and guess which side of the bed they want? Mummy’s!!!
Why am I so special? What kind of magical power do I posses that makes being close to me at all times so amazing? Why is my voice, my approval and the sight of me so much more comforting for them than their father’s?
My husband gets to enjoy his weekends without interruptions as I get shadowed around the house going about my daily pottering and tidying. An entire day can go by with him sitting there quietly, in the smug knowledge that he has gone unnoticed.
Although I do feel bad for him sometimes. He doesn’t get to see the kids as often as I do; he says goodbye to them as he leaves for work every morning then we have dinner together and he does bedtime in the evening. You’d think Daddy Time would be a novelty? A rare treat for them? They truly adore their dad…but I still seem to be the final prize.
And it’s not like he doesn’t want to have fun with them.
‘Come on girls,’ he’ll exclaim on a Saturday morning. ‘It’s a sunny day. Who wants to go on a bike ride with Daddy?’
‘No, I want to be with Mummy,’ they’ll chime back in unison.
‘But Mummy is going to stay home to mop the floor and do tax returns.’ I’ll hiss through gritted teeth.
‘But we want to help you!’ They’ll say, leaving my husband standing there like a bewildered spare part and me feeling exasperated and smothered.
Because that is what motherhood can be like sometimes – completely and utterly suffocating and claustrophobic. While sitting on the loo, there they are at your feet grinning up at you. Not Daddy, he gets a thirty minute uninterrupted poo. In the car they want you to turn around and look at them every two minutes, even if it means a head on collision. They don’t interrupt Daddy’s driving though. Out and about it’s your hand they want to hold, you they pass their rubbish to, mummy mummy mummy that has to join in.
For once I would love them to say, ‘No mummy, not YOU. We want DADDY!’
I wouldn’t feel upset or rejected, I would feel elated. I would be released from my duties for a millisecond.
In the meantime I will just have to just soldier on, take more deep breaths and try not to completely and utterly lose my shit with my husband when the kids are following me around like ducklings and he’s lying on the couch shrugging and saying, ‘What can I do? They don’t want me, they want you!’