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My daughter only wants Daddy and—I have to admit—it hurts a little

There is plenty of love to go around in our house. But when she runs around me to get to my husband when we come home from a date night, it stings.

My daughter only wants Daddy and—I have to admit—it hurts a little

“I don't want you. I don't want you. I don't want you."

It's the phrase we fear in the deepest darkest pit of our psyches where junior high dates and first periods go to die. It's the phrase that spills angst all over our best laid plans for autonomy.

Now put that on repeat and blast it on your biggest 80s boom box and you've got a sense of my current mental state. No woman is an island. But can you just send me to one until this storm passes?

You know that phrase “Daddy's girl?" It's cute, isn't it? You picture a nightgown-ed daughter dancing on her Daddy's feet and field trips to Home Depot for dollhouse supplies.

Here's a behind-the-scenes for the Mommy in the Daddy's girl trio:

My 3-year-old kicks me in the sternum while I wrestle her into her pajamas while she screams, "I want Daddy to do it!"

"We have three kids, kiddo," I say and dodge a foot. "That means, luck of the draw, you've got me tonight."

Her response? A totally non-ironic kick to my uterus along her personalized C-section scar while she tries to scramble away.

I tap out at that point … I just lay back onto the hardwood floor and watch her scissor kick in circles with her Paw Patrol pajama pants halfway up like a little old lady stuck in her pantyhose.

Here's the thing. I love that she loves her dad. I love that they have a special bond and he "gets her" in all her stubborn toddlerness. I also get that this could very well be a phase—a phase that has lasted from birth to now—but here's to keeping that hope alive. I also get that she is just a kid whose ability for empathy is slim to none.

I am the grownup. I remind myself of this by the hour when she cries for her dad while we eat lunch and she asks how many hours until he is home again.

I remind myself again when she wants him to be the last one to kiss her at bedtime and again when he needs to be the first one to see her write her name and tie her shoes.

We try so hard as parents not to play favorites. I just wish they would do the same.

I want her to want me.

I want that feeling of being chosen. I shouldn't need it. Her twin brother loves everyone with an equanimity that even I can't muster. And her older brother is the same. There is plenty of love to go around in our house. But when she runs around me to get to my husband when we come home from a date night, it stings.

I tell myself that I am not in middle school anymore and this has more to do with the fact that she averages approximately 10 more hours a day with me than him. I am the old toy and he will forever be the new.

But man, those words "I don't want you" leave a mark. I try not to let her see me get upset more than the obligatory "that hurts Mommy's feelings, can you say you're sorry?" with the best poker face I can summon.

But I have walked away to grab a Kleenex. I have locked onto my Headspace meditation app like it's a personalized meeting with the Dalai Lama. And I have reached into my vault of affirmations and picked a few to carry me through:

"Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up." – Brene Brown

"I like you very much. Just as you are." – Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones's Diary

"Let it go." – Elsa, Frozen

And it works most of the time. Because the truth is, I know exactly why she prefers her dad. It's because I birthed a mini-me. She is a mover and a shaker and the very strong yin to her twin's easygoing yang. We are two waves crashing into each other more often than not. One day, if I'm lucky the tides will shift and we will roll together in easy harmony.

But for now, I'll hug the dog a little longer than necessary and continue to take up the mantle of second place. Because that's what moms do… we fill in the gaps. We are the mortar that holds the family together and everybody who's anybody knows it.

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If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!


A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.

$299.99

A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.

$14.99

A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.

$329.99

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Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!

$59.99

A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.

$319.99

A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.

$159.99

A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.

$146.99

A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.

$99.99

A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.

$59.99

A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.

$29.99

Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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