“That’s because he lives with his mom. His parents are divorced.” In the simplest terms I could, I explained what that meant.
“Will you and Daddy ever do that?” I assured him we wouldn’t.
He thought about this a moment and then said, “Well, if you did, I would want to live with Daddy. He’s more fun.”
After I pried the dagger from my heart and picked up the pieces of my shattered ego off my dirty kitchen floor, I was able to see his comment for what it was. From his perspective, his dad’s the one who comes home from work and wrestles with him and his brother. Lets them play with his iPad. Laughs at their potty jokes. Makes up funny bedtime stories. On Saturdays, aka “Daddy Day,” he makes them pancakes, takes them to the gym, the playground, out to lunch, and sometimes to Target to buy a toy.
I started to protest, to make the case that I ALSO do all those things with him and his brother, but I let it go. From a 6yo boy’s POV, Dad’s the fun one and Mom’s the one who makes him eat his vegetables and change his socks.
I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t hurt my feelings a little. My worst nightmare is that I spend all these years sacrificing and slaving away for my sons – and not in a martyr, “after all I do for you kids” sort of way, but because I love them dearly and genuinely want them to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings – and then they grow up and leave me.
I’ve seen it happen a million times. What’s that saying? “A daughter’s a daughter all of her life, a son’s a son till he takes a wife”? How many women do you know who adore their mothers-in-law? Well, *I* do, actually, but I know I’m in the minority. And I certainly don’t call her or visit her as much as my own mom.
But I’m getting off track. Back to my son choosing his dad over me. I can see how to a kid, Dad going down the waterslide with you is more impressive than Mom packing the lunch and sunscreen and towels. (And I won’t even MENTION who forgot to put the bag of towels in the car and wouldn’t ask for directions to the waterpark, causing us to go AN HOUR out of our way!!)
Honestly, I’m glad my sons have a fun, involved dad who likes spending time with them. They’re lucky boys. And I’d like to think that someday they’ll realize they’re also lucky to have a mom who loves and takes good care of them, even if she does spend more time cooking, cleaning, and signing permission slips than wrestling with them. Laundry and grocery shopping may pale in comparison to soccer games and the arcade, but it’s only fun and games until you run out of clean underwear and Cheerios.