The joys of the “mom effect”

When I’m alone with my 16 month old son, I can NEVER get anything done.  My husband comes home from work and the dishes are still in the sink, the laundry hasn’t been folded, and let’s not even mention my whole showering (or lack of) situation.  My son is always all over the place and it’s a full time job just making sure he doesn’t nose dive off the couch or keeping him overall injury-free.  Add on to that whenever I step out of the family room (even in an open concept house where he can see me at ALL times) he has a complete meltdown.  Not only do I need to be in the family room with him inside the confines of the safety-gate, but I also need to be on the floor.  All.  Day.  Long.  This, combined with carrying a squirmy toddler around, is why I have back problems.  Even when he’s quietly playing by himself, the second I stand up he drops everything and runs arms raised whining and crying for me to pick him up.  So again, I’m stuck in the family room until the golden nap time or bed time.  This is what I lovingly call, the “mom effect”.

Whenever I try to explain this to my husband, he never understands.  I always get the same response, “He never acts like this with me so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I never believe this because how can my son be so attached to me but so laid back with his dad?  I come home from work to find the kitchen cleaned, laundry folded and put away, and dinner is being prepped.  I walk in the door and question how he gets everything done.  His answer?  “We had such a good day today!  He sat in the family room and played while I got all my work done.”  To which I always say, “I don’t believe it.”  When I’m at work and our son is alone with his dad (we work alternative shifts so it’s always one or the other staying with him while the other is at work), he takes three hour naps, I get videos throughout the day of him being this cuddly adorable toddler.  When I’m with him?  I’m lucky to get an hour and a half, maybe two hour nap.  So by the time I’m done cleaning up and getting his lunch and dinner prepared I don’t have time for anything else.

My husband and I got into this standstill.  He never believed how our son was such a menace when he was at work, and I never believed how well behaved he was when I was at work.  Until one day I decided to shower while all the kids were still awake (as opposed to waiting until everyone was asleep so I could shower in peace).  That day I had a long day at work, then came home and made dinner and just needed a break to be able to finish out the evening.  So I told my husband, “I’m going to shower.  I’ll be down in an hour.”  To which he totally understood my code for “I need an hour alone or it’s not going to be pretty.”  Him being the trooper that he is replied (smartly) “Take your time.”  So as I was sitting on my bed unwinding (really, I was checking social media mindlessly), the same toddler who was just whining for my attention had gone silent.  I stood at the top of the stairs and I heard him laughing and playing.  So after I finished my shower I went downstairs hopeful that it would be a semi-quiet evening.  Only to have that hope quickly squashed.  The second my son saw me he dropped everything, ran up to the gate, and threw his arms up and stood on his tippy-toes for me to pick him up.  My husband stopped and looked at him, then looked at me and laughed and said it’s only me he acts like that around.  And sure enough, I had my proof.  To which I replied, “Why me?!”

At least now we have an understanding.  And if I’m being honest, it really makes it easier for me to go to work leaving my son at home.  I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not because I get away from his whining and crying for a little (although that definitely does help).  When I’m at work, the last thing I want to be worrying about is if my son and husband are having a rough day without me, and if my son is miserable and missing me.  So in a way, I’m glad they have the relationship they do.  I feel more at ease and relieved knowing that they’re at home playing and I don’t have to stress about what’s going on at home while I’m at work.  Now, if I could get some more quiet time and less whiny time I’d be even more relieved!

**Note:  my son is really not that whiny of a child.  I just compare the behavior between mommy-time and daddy-time and it makes me jealous.  But seriously, I can’t be the only one experiencing the “mom-effect”!  I would love to hear from you and your “mom effect” stories!

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