This weekend was a rough one, emotionally speaking. For some reason, Hannah started telling me that she doesn’t like me. In a very matter-of-fact tone, “I don’t like you Momma.” On the weekends, I’m pretty used to hearing her tell me, “No, I don’t want you, I want Daddy.” I got used to it. I don’t take it personally, because I know Daddy is special. He works all day long and so she only gets special Daddy time before bed and on the weekends. I know this and of course, I’m okay with it. In fact, it gives me a bit of a break; she’s busy chasing after Daddy. But to hear her say, “I don’t like you.” Ouch.
I know at 3 years old she doesn’t *really* know what she is saying, she can’t properly voice her thoughts. She can’t put to words everything she is feeling. That doesn’t really make it hurt any less though. I’ve tried talking with her about it, asking her why? Why don’t you like momma? I can’t get an answer, all I get is “because, because I don’t like you.” I’ve offered up other emotions, thinking maybe she is mad or sad or frustrated about something, but none of those seem to fit the bill.
Lance’s theory is that maybe Hannah is upset and a little jealous of the time I spend with Eliza. Maybe that is her way of letting me know that she is jealous. That may be. So, of course, I’ve spent every spare minute running through in my mind how I am with the girls. I thought that I have always been so aware and so careful to try and create a balance with them so neither of them feel they’re getting shafted on mommy-time. During the days, they each get equal lap time and snuggle time. When they’re both awake, we’re all playing together. When Eliza is sleeping, Hannah gets special coloring time with me or we play clean the house together, or we do stuff in the kitchen. Sometimes she just wants to curl up on my lap and watch Super Why or a movie. But, when Eliza is awake, I do have to spend a little more time carrying her, removing her from trouble, helping her eat. Maybe I am giving Eliza too much attention. But, Hannah has never asked that I put Eliza down or to stop feeding her. Actually, it’s when Lance is holding Eliza that Hannah loses it and demands he put Eliza down because he is “Hannah’s Daddy” and she doesn’t want to share him.
My theory is that I am the bad cop. It seems there is always a good cop/bad cop when it comes to parents. I read about them, I see them on tv, I even see them out in public, so I know between those two cop choices, I am the bad cop. I am frequently telling/reminding Hannah to pick up her toys when she is done playing with them. I am also telling/reminding her to be respectful of other peoples’ rooms. If you play in Mommy’s room, pick up your mess. If you play in Eliza’s room, pick up your mess. I also am strict about bed time. When it’s time for bed, it is time for bed. Sometimes I have to go back upstairs and firmly tell her to stop hollering about not wanting to go to sleep, but mostly she knows I mean it when I say it. Not to imply that Lance doesn’t enforce any rules, but he is just way more easy going about everything. He doesn’t spend every minute of the day with her and so understandably doesn’t want to spend what time he does have with her, disciplining her. When he gets home from work, Hannah is on him like glue and often times is plopped down in his lap helping him play phone as he un-winds from his day. When he leaves the couch, she follows him to help him do whatever it is he headed off to do, even if it is just to go potty.
So, I don’t know. Maybe she is going through a jealous phase and I need to stop picking Eliza up during the day and carry Hannah around more instead. Or maybe I need to stop trying to enforce the rules so much and just let her do as she will. Maybe I’ve been going about this the wrong way. I was raised with really strict rules and so that’s what I know and what I’ve tried to get Hannah to do. Maybe she’s too young for that though and just needs to run loose for a bit.
One little phrase from Hannah and I’m questioning my entire Mommy-system. Up until now, I was pretty confident that I was a good Mom and was maintaining a good balance of love and discipline. But, maybe I’m not and instead should look at what I can change and do differently. So, this morning I haven’t asked her to pick up a single toy and the house is a disaster, in every room, and it’s only 9:30. I haven’t told her no to any of her requests for snacks and so she has had some yogurt, apples, pretzels, and some milk. I’ve let Eliza mill about the floor at my feet hollering to be picked up and haven’t picked her up. When I told Hannah it was time to get dressed and she said no, I dropped it. When she asked if she could play iPad, I said sure. I could hear the surprise in her voice when she asked me, “Really mommy, really? It’s okay?” Because she knows, during the day time I pretty much always say no iPhone and no iPad. I know she’ll be playing it in the evening and I don’t want her playing too much of it. It’s hard to say how long I’ll be able to keep up this charade of good cop, but I’m going to try and see if it helps her stop not liking me or at least stop telling me she doesn’t like me.
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