Feb. 8, 2021

Ask Amy- Surviving The "Only Mommy" Phase

A toddler's "only mommy" phase is just that. It's temporary. But it's a struggle for Mom nonetheless, even if her toddler's devotion is adorable. Here's how to get through it.

This week's listener question comes from Rosie in our Facebook group:

My little guy is in the “only want mommy” slash “must be touching mommy” phase. Any advice on how to not go insane and to still get things done with a 26-pound, 17-month old attached to my hip? Disclaimer: of course i give him all the snuggles, and I know it’s just a phase. But I’m going a little crazy.

Yes, the "only mommy" phase isn't forever– and it's not something you have to train out of your kid. But it can be overwhelming while you're in it. It's okay for you to take breaks, and it's okay for your toddler not to like it. But understanding where it's coming from might make getting through this stage a little easier.

Toddlers sticking close to their primary caregivers is a biological imperative: if the cave toddler lost his parent, he wouldn't eat. These days, the stakes are more akin to "might not have my cinnamon raisin toast buttered to my exact specifications," but routine and structure and control over the little things are what your toddler is focusing on right now as he figures out his world.

If you have a spouse or co-parent, lean in to that person doing some of your toddler's very preferred activities. That partner might also be feeling hurt if the toddler is rejecting them; support them in that disappointment and reassure them that it's temporary. And if there's any small part of you secretly happy to be so indispensable to your child, that’s only human. Just make sure you’re not leaning in to it too much.

Hear more about this topic in our episode "When Kids Prefer The Other Parent Over You (Or You Over Them)":


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