When You Feel Like Your Love Isn’t Enough

When I thought about becoming a mom, I would have never imagined that one day I would deal with feeling rejected by my child. I’ve been struggling with this feeling for a while now and it sort of came to a breaking point over the weekend. From early on, Dane has pretty openly preferred Casey’s affection. Of course, I still get lots of cuddles, hugs and kisses. We play and laugh and I know he loves me. But when it comes to late-nights and needing the comfort of our arms, it is almost always Casey’s he chooses. In fact, he insists on it. During these times, I feel so sad and think, why won’t he let me love him?

We’ve always gently joked that this was a phase and surely he will grow out of it soon. But time and time again – for anything from a bump on the head, to being frightened by a loud noise, Dane chooses his dad. I haven’t stopped trying to comfort him, in fact – it’s made me jump up even more quickly when something goes wrong. I’m not sure there is anything else that makes me sadder. I’ve cried about it many times, mostly in private because even though I know he loves me and our connection is strong, it breaks my heart a little each time it happens.

When I found out we were having a boy, I had so many mom friends tell me that the bond between a mom and son is like nothing else. They would say it’s the most special thing, and it’s going to be amazing. Well, if I’m being honest, a part of me is still waiting for that feeling. Of course I love Dane more than anything else in this world and I would do anything for him, but I can’t help the aching feeling that he doesn’t “need me”, and it kills me.

Scooter rides are becoming a fast favorite for Dane

Over the past week or so, we’ve been dealing with between 4-6 new teeth coming in (I don’t know for sure because he won’t let us near his mouth to see.) It all came to a head over the weekend while we were up north – and at 1 in the morning to make matters worse. Because we had a full house, Dane was in our room in a pack and play and all hell broke loose in the quiet hours of the morning. He was closer to my side of the bed, so I jumped up immediately, trying to sooth him back to sleep but per usual, he shouted for Casey repeatedly. Everything I tried, failed so I eventually gave in and passed him over to Case – where his breathing slowed and he immediately relaxed. When he finally calmed down and fell back to sleep (thanks to grandma), I pulled him into bed with us – only to watch him snuggle in close with his dad. The sadness washed in like a wave, and I have never felt so out in the cold.

It’s hard feeling like that. Like your love isn’t enough. It’s so hard because I know that I’m doing everything the best way I know how. I’m careful to give him extra attention and love and my patience. It’s also so hard on Case too – he’s constantly on duty, even though I try to help – it seems like it’s always on him to be the superhero.

I’ve done a lot of Googling on this situation, and it seems like it’s a pretty common thing. In fact, according to a poll I found on Parents.com – 90% of moms and dads have experienced this from time to time.

Some interesting facts:

  • Research shows that if a child is showing favoritism – it means their imaginations are growing, and they are learning about relationships with individuals.
  • When a child jilts a parent, it means that they feel close to you. They can turn you down for affection, and know that you’ll be right there waiting again and again with the same warm welcome.

Sounds like a good thing, right? Yeah well the feeling still sucks.

Why am I sharing this? Because I thought I was the only one… and I guess it turns out I’m not. If anyone reading this has felt this way at some point, please know that you’re not alone and you’re doing the best you can. Keep on loving up those strong-willed kiddos and try to be kind to yourself, you’re doing the best you can. I honestly hope that this is a phase as we’ve always joked… but either way, it won’t stop me from being the best mama I know how.

Chin up!


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Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

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