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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have my bachelors degree in psychology. I worked with children. Since then I have raised and still raising 3 wonderful boys.
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My wife and I have a 17-month-old son- hes our first. We

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My wife and I have a 17-month-old son- he's our first. We have an issue that's becoming a serious problem. My wife complains that I don't look after the baby except when I'm alone with him.

It seems reasonable to me that we should each have some opportunity to work/read/cook/whatever else that's very difficult to do with him interfering. I really want to give her a break from time to time, but I find it impossible to accomplish in practice.

When she's around, the little guy only wants to be with her. Nothing I do can distract him, and physically preventing him from approaching her elicits screaming and crying- first from him, but soon after from her, too! Well... ok, so she doesn't usually scream and cry, but she gets very angry with me when I make him.

I have no trouble when I'm alone with him- a couple of hours most afternoons when she runs errands and 3pm til bedtime on nights she works. Additionally, I pay a nanny for weekday mornings. My argument, which my wife rejects, is that when she's around, he only wants to be with her, so it's impossible to keep him away from her unless I'm actually holding him the entire time. Furthermore, when he's alone with me, he behaves much better. He doesn't grab my food/utensils/me when I'm eating, he doesn't bite me, and doesn't always follow me to the bathroom/etc.

I maintain that if she were to enforce proper limits, being with him would be less stress for her, and distracting him from her might cease to be impossible for me.

She's certain I'm incurably selfish and lazy. I'm not sure I'm right, and whether I'm right or wrong is far less important to me than finding a strategy to reduce her stress. And if the baby were to behave with both of us the same way he does with just me, I think all 3 of us would be able to have a lot more fun together.

jenhelant :

Hi, Based on what it seems is you do watch your son a lot plus there is a Nanny. This may be why there may not even be a need to watch him while she is there since that could be her time with him. However, I do understand if say on the weekend you both are together and she would like you to have a chance watching him. I agree with you that both of you need to be on the same page with discipline. You may need to discipline him when your wife is there for your son to learn that he can not treat you like that just cause mommy is there and he needs to respect you regardless. An idea of something you can do is to discuss with your wife how you both will discipline in order to be on the same page that way your time all together will certainly be a lot better. Also, when she is there and you want to spend time with him try getting his attention with something he likes and go into a different room or even outside if possible. Put on some music or even a show he likes to start just to grab his attention. If he sees his mom he will want her so better out if site. This is quite normal since at this age children are attached to their mom. Wait until he is around 3 it may be the other way around :). I wish you the best and please let me know if I can further help you.

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