A month ago, conveniently right after I gave birth to my second child, my daughter decided to make me her favorite parent. At first, it felt great – I was needed and she just loved me SO much! And then, very quickly, it became exhausting. Everything was “Mommy, mommy, mommy,” and my daughter would allow only me the privilege of changing her diaper. I felt terrible for my husband, watching his heart break a little every time our daughter pushed him away. But I also started to feel bad for myself. Here I was taking care of a newborn, and instead of sharing the toddler responsibilities with my husband, I was taking those on as well to avoid tantrums and tears.
Given the timing of this newfound favoritism, it was really hard to tell if this was due to some toddler phase, or the fact that we just welcomed our second child. So, as always, I did some research on the interweb. According to the powers that be at Google, it seems that most toddlers have a favorite parent at some point – it’s a phase that develops as they assert their independence and right to choose. It also probably didn’t help my case that now our daughter had to compete for my attention with our newborn (who was attached to my boob or in my arms most of the time).
Unfortunately, most of the articles I found were geared toward the jilted parent and provided tips on how to win your child over, but this was of no to help me because I was already winning. My favorite was an article that stated that when your child plays favorites, and that favorite isn’t you, it’s a sign they feel close to you and secure enough in your love to jilt you. That’s like when your boyfriend tells you he’s breaking up with you because you’re too good for him. Bull$h&#.
What I really needed to know was how to fix this favoritism and restore some balance in our household. Or, as I like to call it, how to lose at parenting. Basically by taking all the tips the articles provided on how to win your child over and doing the exact opposite of those recommendations, you can easily become the #2 parent in the house. Throw in a bit of insanity, and you’ll have your toddler hating you in no time. Here’s how:
1) Hide. If your toddler doesn’t know you’re there, odds are he won’t ask for you. And even if he does, he won’t have a choice if you stay hiding.
2) Be the disciplinarian. If you are normally the “good cop” in the household then it’s time for a role reversal. Think Miss Hannigan meets Darth Vader.
3) Take your iPhone, throw it to the ground in front of your child and stomp on it. Laugh maniacally. Alternatively you can just delete your YouTube app and save a few hundred dollars.
4) Serve bacon for breakfast. Tell your toddler it’s Peppa Pig.
5) Order a pizza, eat the whole thing in front of your toddler. Then offer him broccoli.
6) Offer to show your child Frozen, hit pause on the opening scene, and insist your DVD player must be frozen.
7) Take all the toys out of your kid’s crib at bedtime and scatter them around the perimeter of his crib. Say “night night”, close the door, and throw in some ear plugs.
In general, the idea is don’t be awesome, which is especially tough for me because I am, indeed, awesome. When I realized this might be too hard for me, I suggested my husband start a tradition of pizza and playground with our daughter one night a week and, soon enough, he won his way back into her heart. I only hope my husband remembers the above tips when my kids decide to turn on me.