Sometimes I wish I could swap my children for different ones.
Now, wait a second, before you assume I need a good roasting on an angry mums web forum, let me clarify this point.
I don’t wish to bring other children into the house and boot my ones out. Rather, I want my husband’s version of our kids.
What do I mean by that? Let me set the scene.
I’ve nipped upstairs to do a few things. Sort laundry out, have a shower, pretend to be doing important paperwork when I’m actually surfing the MailOnline right-hand column of shame, that sort of thing.
All is blissfully calm downstairs. There’s the odd sound as my husband answers my toddler’s questions or blows a raspberry on our baby’s tummy. But all in all the noises are like what you imagine one of those picture perfect Enid Blyton illustrations of playtime would sound like.
Then it’s time for me to return to the living room.
Enter mummy. The baby immediately starts to cry and angrily flap her arms. The toddler instantly calls out “mummy I wanted to play with the blocks,” as she tries to snatch them from her sister even though just seconds ago she was happily doing a puzzle.
Angels to devils
I swear, their attitude and moods change the second I walk into the room. They go from being little cherubs to being little devils.
It is so noticeable that me and my husband laugh and joke about it every time. Mummy’s back!
My kids save the worst tantrums for me, the default parent.
What is it about mum that inspires such whinging, crying and all-round irritating behaviour. Why can they play nicely for their dad, but when I’m around they turn into one of those nightmare kids from Supernanny.
I’m not saying my children complain and cry all day with me, I would have gone bonkers a long time ago if that were the case. Rather, it seems to happen disproportionately more often when I’m in the room.
So what’s the problem with a little crying? Just ignore it, right? Well, I can’t.
When my kids cry it is a total brain drain for me. I cannot focus on anything else but them. I guess this is a natural biological response maybe? I’m sure some scientist would explain it to me, but I’d be too fuzzy from my children’s constant interruptions to follow their explanation.
I’ve got a drawer full of odd pairs of socks that prove baby brain is a real thing. Sleep deprivation and the hormones you’re full of after giving birth wreck havoc on your ability to think.
Add crying on top of that and you’re transformed into a mombie – you appear alive and can walk around, but your vacant stare, dodgy hair and inability to make any sounds apart from grunts would suggest otherwise.
As newborns my kids cried no more or less than any other newborn, though my second was fussier in the evenings. I can’t imagine what parents of children with colic suffer.
Long-term crying is a serious problem. There are support networks and charities set up to deal with this issue because it’s such a test for parents.
Searching for a reason
So why do my kids cry more when I’m in the room?
Is it because I am seen as the nurturer? The one who changes most of the nappies, makes sure their clothes are clean, gets up to soothe them in the night and, perhaps most importantly, makes the meals.
Ultimately I guess I have to see it as a sign I’m doing something right. They feel they can demand more of me. It’s not that hubby is doing a bad job, it’s just mummy can be a bit more of a soft touch.
While it’s lovely to be so wanted, I would love to experience my husband’s version of our children. Even if just for one blissful, Enid Blyton-style afternoon.
Do your children cry more when you’re in the room? Or do they cry more around your other half? I would love to hear why you think children sometimes complain and cry more around one parent.