Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Competing for Mama

Today's behavior blog will focus on the relationship some children have with their mothers. In my home, the boys really like their mommy time.  I used to joke that when my oldest son was smaller, he was mommyfied.  (I know spell check- it's not really a word)  The competition for mom's time is fierce.  They are competing with dads, the television, the internet, the phone, and their siblings.  What is it about mothers?   More specifically, what is it about mothers versus fathers when it comes to competing for time?

Even as a stay at home dad, the boys competition over mama is much greater than their competition for my time.  For example, I could be on the phone 20 minutes without being disturbed.  My wife can't be on the phone 20 seconds before I am shooing a child away from her.  One may think I could be sore about this lack of gripping attention.  Quite the contrary.  I could have guessed this would have happened even before I had kids because I saw the same things at St. Joseph Children's Home.

There's something about moms and their ability to connect with small children.  One of my theories is that it has to do with affection.  It could be that mom is home more or that when she is home, more of her time is spent touching children (in appropriate manners).  At. St. Joseph's we had some strong willed women who could show affection as well.  They were dedicated and really knew their business. Children gravitated to them especially in time of need.  As a matter of fact, in our youngest department with kids ranging in age from 3 to 5, I would approximate women logged over 95% of the hours.  

What's interesting to note is that when I worked alone, the children would open up in the exact same manner when they needed anything.  But, they didn't compete for my time.  This also held true in the classroom where I obviously worked alone.  In other words, I didn't have children crying for their moms when I was teaching.  Although I wasn't out to win any popularity contests, most of my students really liked me.  This has led me to believe that while children will take affection from dad, there are times they would rather have it from mom if there is a choice. 

Bill CosbyBill Cosby performing "Himself."

These beliefs reminds me of an old Bill Cosby comedy routine which spoke to the power of moms.  Basically, he said he was hoping for a son to be a great football player one day.  Many hours would be spent working with the kid to be the best he could be.  Due to the time and hard work, the kid could go on to a major university, score a touchdown, stare into the television camera afterward, and yell, "Hi mom!"  The stumped look on Cosby's face will forever be etched in my mind.

I've always felt there was a lot of truth to be garnered from that skit.  Moms are special and I've never met a man who could really take their place. Even though the opposite is true as well, I've never actually witnessed children competing for a dad's time or at least not nearly on the same level.  Keep in mind I know there are homes out there where this precisely happens but with all my experience, I would have assumed seeing it by now. 

I believe my boys would perch on my wife's legs all day if we would let them.  The only time they have ever been disciplined for hanging on mom too much is when I can tell she's getting a bit tired of it.  (Even then, I'm not too hard on the boys).  The only thing that bothers me from time to time is with all the competition for mom's attention; I worry mom doesn't win often enough.  By that I mean if other mothers are like my wife, when do you carve the time and place all the attention on yourself?  At. St. Joseph's, it was different because the house parents were compensated employees.  All the house parents (outside of myself and a couple of other ladies) also had their own homes.

As a dad, I really feel one of my roles is to encourage and prop up my wife on the highest pedestal possible.  Of course, she will read this and get emotional (because her husband is so great) but the truth is I have an alternative motive.  I want my boys to have the deepest respect and love for their mom because in some way, it translates to being a good man, a good husband, and one day, a good father. If this means competing and /or clinging on to my wife for a small period of time in their lives, so be it.  These days won't last forever.  One day, the competition will be over and, in the end, all of us will hopefully be winners.

I guess the lesson in the end to all parents but especially to the dads- be patient with your kids.  Back away from time to time and let the kids have their time with mom.  But when you see your better half getting a little tired, be there to peel the kids away for a while.  This is a competition after all.  The kids do not get to win every time. (wink) 

All my best to parents and children who still cling to their momma's legs (figuratively and literally). I'll be interested to read the comments.  I'd like to know if there is a competition for mama in your home and how it is handled.

I read an interesting parenting question I would like to answer on Friday. The general topic concerns kids failing and how it has been handled on the children I have worked with.  I look forward to having you back on this road of tantrums, troubles, and treasures. (or as my father in law calls it: t-cubed)

One final note: If you know any parents who have small children who "compete for mama," please consider passing this blog along.  I certainly hope it helps by letting them know they are not alone. 


  1. Hello. I am your newest follower. I found you on a Wednesday blog hop. I would be delighted if you would follow me back.

  2. Hi I'm a new follower from Bloggy Moms and I am really enjoying reading your posts. I remember that Bill Cosby skit. It was so funny of course him telling anything is funny. I am a SAHM and the funny thing is I would say my kids really try to compete for Daddy time since he isn't home much. My daughter is 6 and she still wants me to tuck her in and snuggle her but for the most part they are huge daddy fans!


  3. Clay,

    Loved this pot. I have a draft saved on this very topic that I am working on!

    Bring the mom, I LOVE my girls and I LOVE that I am #1 in their lives - I am the first choice and sometimes the only choice. That is indeed special and indicative of our bond but as you touched on it can also be difficult.

    I won't go into too much detail here bc as I said I am working on writing it up but this is a wonderful topic and thank you for touching on it!


  4. Following you from TwitterMoms. Would love for you to stop on by and follow back when you get a chance. Love your site!

  5. What a great post Clay. One thing that struck me was when you simply said, "be patient with your kids". I grew up with parents who weren't always patient, and sometimes it is a major struggle for me to just take a minute and focus on my kids. (I actually wrote a post about it back in December.)I try with all my might to keep my "single mom status" from being used as a crutch in my parenting; as most folks have more sympathy toward someone going it alone; and honestly, the thing that has helped the most is just savoring those moments where I am in high demand, because I believe it will make all the difference in the long run. I heard a quote this weekend that struck me, "Listen to your children now so they will speak to you later." I think any of the many demands placed on a mother can become taxing, (we are emotional creatures you know), but keeping the right perspective, and recognizing support systems around you is key! Sorry this comment is so long. I really appreciated your words. Thanks. :)

  6. I love this post. You can really write well !
    great blog and I am your newest follower. Hope you are having fun with the blog hops. Drop by and follow me back.

  7. My kids are completely attached to me. I come home from school in the evening and they come running down the hall for me. My husband comes home from work and they barely register it. However, my youngest usually only wants daddy at night when it is time for bed. She will cry and scream if she is with me because he is busy. It is nice to see the reverse and I think that my husband likes feeling needed.

  8. Is this why I feel guilty when I try to take time for myself??

  9. Hi! I found you on today's Blog Hop! Thanks for the follow! Oh, and I LOVE Bill Cosby: Himself- Classic!

  10. Following from a "mommy" blog hop! It will be interesting to hear a daddy's point of view.

  11. Hi Clayton,

    This has been true big time in our house! I especially appreciated your comment, "Back away from time to time and let the kids have their time with mom. But when you see your better half getting a little tired, be there to peel the kids away for a while.” Sometimes, I feel bad because I do need a little space, but I don’t want the kiddos to take it personal, so it helps if dads swoops in to help!!

  12. I must say, I completely agree with this. My son is 11 months old and is attached at my hip when I am with him. Ironically though, I am the ONLY one he ever acts up around. I think sometimes he does it just to garner more of my attention, not that he isn't getting enough already. :) Love the post and love hearing the thoughts of a father, especially at stay at home father, which is very unique in this day and age!

    Following from Great Moms (and Dads) Think Alike
    Billie Jean

  13. I'm a new bloghop follower on Twitter and GFC - My current favorite band is from Kentucky [Cage The Elephant!]

    Our kids compete for both of us - I agree that I want them to have a deep respect for their Mom. Nobody can replace her although my kids compete for Dadtime too. I'll try to play with our (almost) 2-year old and my 5-year old will be trying to drag me away.

    Plz follow back

  14. Thanks for following! Following you back and I will check in a lot sinc emy son has som emajor behavior issues, I like to see all kinds of options! Thanks again!

    Z's Space

  15. Thanks for following my blog! I'm now following you back:) Have a great week!


  16. A great post and I completely agree with you. I'm now following you! Have a great week! :)

    Mother of 1 Princess and 2 Princes

  17. Hi! I'm following from WW. I love the name of your blog....hilarious! Come by and visit me at

  18. Competing for momma? Absolutely! Although it's not always clear in the way it comes across...I'd be lying if I didn't get a few bobs in the nose from a toddler feeling like he was losing the competition! (THAT doesn't feel like much of a prize!)

  19. Hi
    Love the blog, My daughter for years was attach to me ,I think she still is even at 19.
    Thank you for stopping by.I'm a new follower

  20. thanks so much for participating in my wednesday blog hop. following you now too!

  21. I think they prefer mommy time cause we're more comfy lol :D

  22. Thank you for dropping by, love this post & following your blog.

  23. I love this post! It's all true, even my step-son seems to be in the game for winning mommy time.....affection has got to be the key there.

    Out hopping around, looking forward to more of your posts! Come by Lucy's when you get a chance.

  24. Hi Clayton,

    Love your blog! its very helpful, thanks for dropping by my blog. I'm your newest follower on GFC and Network Blogs. Hope to see you again

    Fish lover of

  25. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm a new follower!

    Happy Thursday!

  26. I'm a new follower from Thursday bloghop. Please follow back!

  27. Love this post and find so much true about it! My husband is a stay at home daddy to two boys (26months and 8 months) and there is always mommy competition since I work strange hours (pediatrics) and am not always home all the time. I've set aside mommy dates with the 2yr old so he doesn't feel left out since I'm nursing the 8m old a lot of the time I'm home. I'm still working on the patience part, and winning some time for me. I know this age only lasts so long so I try to enjoy it as much as I can. I'll get mommy-time one of these days! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    New follower from Thirsty Thursday blog hop

  28. Hello! I loved this post. Dads are important, too... I do think that little girls put their daddys on a pedestal...this from a professed daddy's girl :)


    --thanks for visiting my hop! I will be hosting again next week if you'd like to join in! :)

  29. Hi!
    I saw your kind comment about the changes I was able to make to my blog. If there is anything in particular you would like help with let me know! I'm happy to help :)
    camerongruetzner (at) gmail (dot) com
    Love and Blessings

  30. Hopped over from Bloggy Moms. This is a great post. Both of my boys are the same exact way. They want my attention ALL the time, but I remember growing up being totally enamored with my daddy. Maybe you should have a girl...LOL

  31. Totally agree, my son competes with his Dad for mommy time. Thanks again for passing by.

  32. My little one NEVER leaves me alone! :)

    PS. Thanks for linking up to my blog to helping me test out my Mr. Linky. It worked! :)

  33. new follower from bee friendly friday blog hop.

    i'd love for you to stop by my blog and follow back!

  34. Hi Clay ,We love your blog and this post is so touching and your writing skills are Awesome! thanks for stopping by !
    Angela & Angelica

  35. I am so glad that i found your blog! I am now following your blog and would love it if you could follow me back at Thanks so much!

  36. This is such a wonderful post and my husband's number is... ;) Thanks for finding me! I really enjoy your blog!

  37. Love your thoughts here. Thank you for holding your wife up. You're right, in the end all will win. But oh, sometimes it is nice to have a minute without a child crawling on you.

  38. Found you on (you commented on my post about teaching kids about money). I really like this post, I always say I'm going crazy over how much my kids always need, "Mommy!"

  39. I learned almost as much from the wonderful comments as I did from your awesome post!
    Why do most young children crave and "prefer" the attention of their mother? Perhaps because we are "wired" that way...for survival...the mom is the one who had the instant food supply (in a time when breast-feeding was just about the ONLY way a baby could get nourishment and survive). And then there is the softer feel of a woman...and the more soothing voice. And perhaps the innate character of a woman to be more patient and nurturing. This is not to say that there aren't MANY men who are soothing, patient, nurturing, are probably a prime example of one of those. :)
    But you are SO right about the phone soon as a mom is on the phone...the little monkeys start jumping on the bed!

  40. I love that Bill Cosby show...and what a great post. I also love the phrase "mommyfied" -- I think we're going through that in our house too!

    PS - I'm following you back!

  41. Great perspective from the male point of view. I do agree that children, especially boys will follow your lead and learn to respect the women in their lives. Love Bill Cosby!

    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

  42. I'm a new follower from MBC...stop by and return the favor.