When the children cry out for daddy, not mummy

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stay at home dad, children, cry out, upset
Who will this kid cry out for; mum or dad? Pic credit below.

When I explain to people that I’m a stay at home dad, one of the first questions I’m asked is who my kids cry out for when they hurt themselves or are distressed. People seem to have a genuine interest to know whether they call out for mummy, who works full time, or daddy, who is generally the one on the scene.

The answer? Although it is usually me, it can be either one of us.

My eldest, Helen, has generally always called out for me. Toddler Adams has historically called out for mum. As she’s getting older, however, I’ve noticed she is more willing to request assistance from dad.

I’ll give a couple of recent examples. Just yesterday Toddler Adams tripped over in her bedroom and nicked her finger. It was a tiny cut, but for the placebo effect it was worth putting a plaster on this miniscule flesh wound. As mummy was home from work, I carried her to the bathroom, washed and dried the cut and mummy applied a plaster. It was a superb joint effort and worked wonderfully. If we were to turn the clock back six months, I can well imagine Toddler Adams telling me to go away and that mummy was to help her (this happened many a time).

The other day Helen, our eldest daughter, had a nightmare. As she always does in these situations, she got out of her bedroom, came into ours and woke me. You should also have heard her the night a few months ago when the smoke alarm went off (there was no fire thankfully). Helen screamed out my name so loudly she drowned out the sound of the alarm! It was an impressive feat.

As the children’s main carer, what’s it like for me when I’m not the one they call out for? I have to be honest, that all depends on the situation.

When Toddler Adams would only call out for mum, I felt some pangs. I wouldn’t call it jealousy, but feelings that I’d like to help and wanted to comfort my child. I would also worry a little that I was doing something wrong because she didn’t want my support.

Even so, if either child is being comforted by mum, I’ll quietly check it’s not serious and take a step back. Mrs Adams isn’t around the kids as much as I am. To interfere in such a tender moment would be an interference, a violation even, of her relationship with the kids. My feelings have to go ice in these scenarios.

Perhaps it’s a very male and practical response, but my concern is always with the children. If they need assistance, I don’t care if they’re getting it from me or mum, just so long as they’re getting the emotional support they need. That has to be the most important outcome.

Who do your children cry out for? Are you the one that gets woken up a 3am when a little one has a nightmare? How do you feel if they request help from your partner?

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Pic credit; David Shankbone. Sourced from WikiMedia and reproduced under Creative Commons agreement 3.0.


Super Busy Mum

17 thoughts on “When the children cry out for daddy, not mummy”

  1. Hi John, My kids go through phases. It is generally me as I am home all the time but sometimes when Daddy is back they just want him and resent my presence because they want Daddy time. I think it depends on so many factors and like you I take a very practical approach, I don’t get offended (well a few pangs occasionally) and just feel happy that they want that time with my partner and see it as a sign that they need that. Great post. #MMWBH

  2. It’s really early for us to tell but generally our tot looks to me to entertain him when he’s bored but wants his other mum, who’s with him while I work, when he’s hurt or cranky. So far. I think I’m more willing to make a tube of myself in public to get a giggle.


  3. Izzie Anderton

    My husband was also a stay at home dad while I worked full-time – our daughters were always happy to let him deal with everything unless I was at home and then only mum would do. I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as the kids are OK.

  4. The Mother says – What a great post. As a working mum and my parents helping out a lot with childcare, I ‘ve found that Lucas actually started calling out for them and not me. This kinda kicked me in the gut!! As he’s gotten older, he’s certainly become my shadow and, especially during the night, I’m the person he wants. We’ve also noticed that he goes to his Dad for more ‘boy’ related injuries/issues. #MMWBH

    1. Ah, the whole calling out for grandparents hting. Yes, I’ve heard of this but doesn’t happen in this household.

  5. Interesting post and something I’ve never really considered. My kids have always cried out for me when they’re hurt, ill or upset. Although when my daughter is ill, she wants me first, then asks for Daddy and Grandma too! Like you, if my husband is dealing with a situation (usually involving my daughter and vomit, which I’m not very good with), I’ll take a step back. My sister is my 2yo niece’s main carer, yet my niece always calls for Daddy, even when he’s not at home, which my sister has found very upsetting.

    1. To be honest Sarah I wouldn’t have thought about it either but I keep getting aksed about it! SO long as the kids are happy, that’s the most important thing to me.

  6. It’s a mix of both with us, and the kids definitely go through various phases. As the oldest, Isaac is more even-handed and tends to call out for whoever’s more likely to respond. The other two tend to lean towards one or the other of us depending on what they’re asking for: waking up with nightmares tends to be mummy, tech-related queries is me and most other stuff can be either. I’m fairly happy with that mix.

  7. Something I’ve not really considered yet (as obviously as Baby L can’t talk), but it will be interesting to see what happens as she grows – we’ve not had any issues with me being the stay at home dad as Hayley has been at work this week, but she does sometimes cry when she sees Hay leave the room. I think that might be a bit down to the milk leaving though!

    1. I guess time will tell when L starts talking. Anyway, she’ll love you both regardless of htis I am sure.

  8. This is a really interesting post, Boo is very much me when she has hurt herself and I think at certain points it did upset my husband at times. I think it’s not jealousy like you said, but more wanting to be able to help. But as Boo is getting older she is more willing to be comforted by my husband. I am sure it will all go in swings and roundabouts.

    1. Yes Jenni, swings and roundabouts. There have been times when the kids have swung between the two of us.

  9. It sounds like your children have a very loving mummy and daddy! I have to admit I feel the same as you, if my son calls for his step-dad when he is hurt then I let them have that comforting moment. It doesn’t bother me. Thanks for linking up to #MMWBH 🙂

    1. Sometimes you just have to take a step back. It’s the correct thing to do! Thanks for commenting.

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