Dear Bundoo: My husband prefers our daughter to me!
This week, we hear from one mom who is jealous of the attention her newborn is getting from her husband and another mom who has been labeled a “helicopter parent” for how she handled her child’s bee sting.
I’m lucky to be married to the perfect guy—or at least that’s what everyone tells me. Ever since our baby was born (she’s seven months old now), my husband has transformed from a normal guy into some kind of Super Dad. Since the day our daughter got home from the hospital, he sits up with her at night (we’re formula feeding), changes diapers, burps her, and spends pretty much every waking minute with her. Whenever I hear, “Oh, you’re so lucky your husband is so involved!” I just smile and nod along, but the truth is I can’t stand it. I’ll admit I’m totally jealous. I figured our marriage would take a little bit of a backseat after the baby was born, but not like this. I’m not sure my husband even knows I exist anymore. I can’t remember the last time we had sex, and he basically acts like I’m invisible on his way by to the baby’s room. What can I do? I tried seducing him, and that backfired. Now I’m just angry and bitter and feel like I’m being replaced by my own daughter. Help!
Dear Bitter Mom,
I certainly hear your frustration and concern. This phenomenon is not uncommon, though it is typically the mom that is absorbed in everything baby. All hope is not lost. In order to reconnect with your husband, it is necessary to create more balance in your relationship. It is extremely important that you articulate your concerns to your husband, both how you feel neglected relationally and how you feel that your daughter is starting to prefer him and his care. It is important that you find ways to connect with your daughter. It doesn’t have to be the same way he does things, and it shouldn’t. There are several things you can do to establish more balance. If you are home with her during the day, you can find ways for special time and activities only you share. Then when dad gets home, you can come to an agreement that you will care for her together. Displaying your appreciation toward your husband and encouraging balance in all responsibilities is the best way to prevent resentment from building up. Refrain from calling each other “mom” or “dad” in the presence of your children. Use your names or go back to pet names you used to call each other. Make time for a regular date together. This doesn’t have to be out or fancy, just together. During this time, don’t talk about “family business.” No talk of kids, cars, or cash. It’s imperative to talk openly and honestly. Don’t assume he will pick up on your cues or hints. For him to recognize what is going on, it will require you to respectfully and gently discuss it and point it out when it happens.
—Answered by Raquel Anderson, Bundoo Behavioral Health Specialist
I’m having a disagreement with my mother and wanted to see if I could get a real opinion. About two weeks ago, my 1-year-old daughter was stung by a bee. She cried when it happened but then seemed to forget about it. The next day, though, she had a welt on her leg where the bee stung her, and there was a big red spot that got bigger all day then seemed to go away. I was really worried at first because I thought it was an allergic reaction, but then the spot went away. Still, I feel like I should take her to a doctor for allergy testing, but my mother-in-law thinks I’m being a helicopter parent and that kids get stung by bees all the time. What to you think? Is this something I should worry about?
Dear Bee-side Myself,
Your daughter experienced a moderate local reaction to the bee sting. Bees inject venom that causes our body to react leading to a welt and a red spot that can appear immediately after the sting or over the next 24 hours. Because the reaction was limited to one spot and went away, it does not indicate that your daughter has a severe allergy to bees.
In the future, the keys to managing a bee sting are:
- Removing the stinger with your fingernails or a tweezer ASAP to limit the amount of venom injected;
- Using a cool compress on the site to decrease swelling;
- Considering topical hydrocortisone cream to decrease the swelling and itch;
- Considering an oral dose of an antihistamine, like Benadryl. It may help prevent the larger local reaction that she experienced.
The trouble with bee stings is that people can develop a true allergy at any time, so one reaction cannot predict the next. Symptoms of a severe reaction include: shortness of breath, vomiting, or becoming pale and listless. In these cases, call 911 immediately. Discuss her reaction, the correct dose of Benadryl, and what steps to take if it happens again with her pediatrician at her next well child visit.
—Answered by Sara Connolly, MD, Bundoo Pediatrician
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