Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Campaign Against the Mama Phase

About a week ago I complained about the over-the-top Mama phase Ava is going through. A very nice commenter, JR Morber, made some well thought out suggestions. She said that they used a combination of strategies to fight a Mama stage with her son. I'm going to summarize her suggestions in list form.

  1. Mama should be a little less effective at meeting the child's needs. Slow down. Make them wait.
  2. Refuse to respond to small requests unless Daddy can do it.
  3. "Pro-daddy praise campaign."
  4. Special Daddy-only activities.
  5. Re-arrange routines so that Daddy is taking the major role in care whenever possible.
  6. Resist stepping in during Daddy-child interactions.

It sounds like a thorough, well thought out plan. And it sounded like a lot of work. At the time I thought that things weren't bad enough to put that much work into trying to fix the problem. I was just hoping that eventually the phase would pass.

Well, things continued to get worse over the next several days. Then one morning Ava pitched a fit just because her Daddy said "hi" to her during a moment that she thinks of as a Mama time (getting her from her room when she wakes up in the morning.) That was it. We immediately adopted JR Morber's plan.

We're about two and a half days into the plan. Essentially, if my husband is home, he takes point with Ava. When she protests we make some excuse about Mama being busy and then I just leave the room so I'm not an audience for any complaints. Daddy has been making extra efforts to (although he's always good) be funny, nice, and entertaining. Daddy has dressed her, put her down for nap and bed, put her into the carseat and taken her back out, played with her during play times, helped her at the dinner table, etc. It's working beautifully. We're already seeing a big change and it is wonderful.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to JR Morber if you're reading this.

We'll keep this up for several more days and then hope that the good will towards Daddy lasts when we go back to taking turns with the children.


  1. Yay! I am so glad it worked! I just checked back here to see how Ava was doing with her speech (I just started my son on fish oil supplements and we are on our way toward starting speech therapy.) and I am so pleased that my advice has helped.

    My son and my husband now have a MUCH better relationship and my son even chooses him over me for tasks these days. You have no idea how happy I am that my experience has helped someone else with the same problem.

    Something that we do as well (that I forgot to mention) is to make sure that my son sees me greet, kiss, and act lovingly toward my husband. We were doing these things, but we realized that we were so focused on my son and getting things done, that most of our husband/wife contact occurred after my son went to bed. It IS a lot of work. Glad that it was worthwhile. Congrats to you all on your success!

  2. Wow! Has it really been two weeks since I wrote this post? So we're still working on Ava. She's improved significantly, but she still pitches fits occasionally when it is Daddy's turn to help. We are still trying to have Daddy do most of her care when he is home. We're not giving up, but she is so determined to have things her way sometimes.

    Funny story about mom and dad hugs. Any time my husband and I have a snuggly hug around the kids, Michael doesn't really notice. Ava notices and instantly drops what she's doing to come over and squeeze in between us. She just cracks me up that girl.

    Good luck with the Omega 3 supplements and the speech therapy!


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