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I hate homecomings

The last few times I’ve left my children, coming home has been really hard. I am desperate to see the babies, and my spouse tells me they’ve been asking after me, leading me to believe they miss me too. But they have no interest in me, and Bun Bun actively rejects me and won’t let me cuddle her.

I had to go out of town for a couple of days this week. I did my best to emotionally prepare for the homecoming. I reminded myself that they weren’t going to be happy to see me the way I’d be happy to see them. I reminded myself that rejecting behavior doesn’t mean they don’t love me. I reminded myself that I would have to find a way to not reject them back, even if I really wanted to.

Then my flight was delayed, so I ended up getting home at one in the morning and then couldn’t fall asleep. And then Bunlet started screaming at 6. So instead of the thoughtful, controlled homecoming I’d visualized, I staggered into their room and picked him up and staggered back in the direction of my bed. And he pushed me away and cried and then before I knew what was happening, Bun Bun had crawled into my bed and wanted to lie in my spot and I was desperate to be lying down, and then Bun Bun pushed me away and cried and elbowed me in the breast and hurt me quite a lot and then rolled over to be comforted by her daddy and the next thing I knew was weeping with despair because my children HATE ME.

The logical part of me knows this is all normal and okay, and the fact that they feel they can push me away means that a) they have a secure relationship with their father and b) they feel they can test the limits of my affection… And it’s only the beginning. I certainly need to get good at dealing with this dynamic.

But I just hate it. Bun Bun is generally more into her father, which is hard enough. (I thought they were supposed to trade off favoring parents. When’s MY turn going to come?) And Bunlet is now in a daddy favoring phase, too, so I really feel like a useless member of the family. I have a very profound What is the POINT of me? Would they be happier if I just vanished? feeling. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Don’t ever want to leave again. Good thing I have to be gone for a week next month.



13 Comments Post a comment
  1. But they have no interest in me, and Bun Bun actively rejects me and won’t let me cuddle her.

    I am SO glad to hear it’s not just Gwen! I got back Tuesday in time to pick her up from daycare after having been gone for a week. She said hello but was utterly uninterested in coming over and giving me a hug. Yesterday when I picked her up, she saw me from a distance and shouted “Nein!” This is the third week I’ve been gone out of the last five, and I think she’s rather gotten used to me being gone. 😦

    June 19, 2014
  2. Oh bunny. I’ve read that this is normal, but I can’t begin to imagine how painful it must feel. I hope it’s your turn soon.

    June 19, 2014
  3. That just sounds excruciatingly painful, Bunny. For fuck’s sake: you gestated and gave birth to them, fed them, loved them and EVERYTHING. I wish they could align their behaviours with those facts at all times.
    But apparently not.
    I’m sorry it’s so hard.
    I think it will change, which must be of little comfort (if not completely egregious) to you right now.

    June 19, 2014
  4. That sounds so hard, and everything feels awful when you’re sleep-deprived and awakened by a screaming child at 6am. So no wonder you fell apart a bit. As you say, these kinds of shenanigans suggest that they are securely attached to both you and Mr Bunny. But it still sucks. I have similar moments when I leave work in a hurry in order to pick my son up from preschool a few minutes early so we can have a few more precious minutes together–only to have him berate me because he’d rather play at school!

    June 20, 2014
  5. Martha #

    Thank goodness I’m not alone in this! I’ve had that feeling– ‘Does it even matter if I am here?’ My older daughter (who is now 3.5) is now much more into me than she used to be (when she was 18 months I’d come home from work and she’d stare me down coldly and say ‘Go Away Mama’– great!). But I now get a lot of cuddles from her and I feel our relationship is especially close lately. My younger daughter (now 1.5) is often TOTALLY not into me! Her ‘surface’ preferences go: 1) Dada, 2) her nanny (argghhh) and 3) me. I say ‘surface’ because I tell myself that deep down (very deep?) I am at least equal with Dada. However, I do notice that after a weekend she prefers me to her nanny (ha!). And of course it would be awful if she disliked her nanny, so a deep affection is best in that department, and they love one another.
    It’s hard but I try to keep in mind that I will always be their mother, and they will not remember how they treated me when they were small. How sad if this affected my relationship with the little one! I can see that this sort of thing must be how weirdness between mother and child develops? I try to treat it like a joke and when the preference is thrust in my face I say ‘You little ingrate!’ and give her a kiss even if she squirms. I also find myself sort of ‘courting’ her with fun, because often my week-day time with her is all about the admin (you know, making dinner, dressing etc). It works.
    I have to go away for a week next month– my first longer separation from them. It’s a good prep to read this as I’d assumed my homecoming would be like when Dada comes home (adoration!!); he has had to be away for about a week every 6-8 weeks for the last few years. I hope that things with the kids improve as they grow as has happened with my older daughter… it has really given me assurance regarding my younger daughter.

    June 20, 2014
  6. Ana #

    I’m going away for 3 days on Sunday. Not looking forward to this part of it, it does seem to be universal. B goes through phases (he preferred my husband to me for over a year, then it was me for a while, now he seems fairly neutral, maybe 60% mommy) but L is firmly on Team Mommy no matter what. But I’ve never been away from him before, so we’ll see…

    June 20, 2014
  7. I am so sorry, Bunny. Regardless of normal stage status, it is awful to go through that.

    June 20, 2014
  8. Misfit #

    I have to say I feel like this a fair bit. When I ask E if she loves me and she says no, I say, I don’t care, because I love you anyway!

    I feel that the bad cop role mom plays doesn’t help. I had to work on that with the Mr. No fun being the unfun one. Hoping that you get some of the sweetness back. Traveling is hard enough without feeling like you are abandoning them. Nice to get punished for it too.

    June 21, 2014
  9. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of company in this regard- I’ve also been through this. Lovely that they are so bonded with their dad but hurtful nonetheless.

    June 21, 2014
  10. Awful. Sorry, bunny! This is the kind of thing I would not be good at. Well, who would, of course? I fear I’d be muttering bitterly about gratitude under my breath and stamping off in a huff. I do hope things have improved since.

    June 22, 2014
  11. I’m waiting around to be the preferred parent for reasons other than absolute biological necessity, aka, boobs. Still waiting. That scene sounds like every night with the Bean, only I’ve been with him all day. So on the one hand, okay, you’ve had enough of me and it’s not like this is our only time together. But on the other hand, since I have nothing to show for having worked what feels to me extremely hard all day other than whatever ways my children might have survived/developed, it’s FUCKING AWFUL to have every day capped with a big fat “go away.” I love ending the day (to the extent that days end in our household, which is a somewhat academic distinction, what with the being up all night part) feeling that my life is wasted. Wheeee!

    At least the cat seems to like me.

    June 22, 2014
  12. Roccie #

    Sucks. I used to bitch at Rocco for being Fun Daddy. It hurts like a mother. It passes but chews your heart out bc you KNOW it’s supposed to pass but why the truck hasn’t it PASSED yet?

    June 22, 2014

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