When “Mommy & Me” Isn’t What You Expect It to Be

Ever since I saw two faint pink lines appear on a pregnancy test, my mind became consumed with my baby. I would feel for kicks and flutters all day long, distracting myself from the constant worry by planning out a gorgeous nursery and dreaming about future—first words, first steps, and all of the other firsts that moms swoon over. When my son was born, it was exactly what I had expected, from the sleepless nights to the hour long cuddle sessions with my mini-me and I loved just about every moment of it. Teething? Not so much.


But when my second son came along, I was left waiting—and waiting, and waiting and waiting—for our “Mommy and Me” bond to arrive. With the support of my husband and my mom squad, I am confident enough to admit that it took YEARS for us to have the strong connection that I yearned for. Yes, that’s right. It took me at least three years to bond with my sweet, smart and beautiful little boy and I must admit that it is still a learning process for both of us—and we are five years in today (happy birthday, my little love!).

So why am I writing this for thousands of people to read—and judge—my story? Because I know that there are other moms who struggle to bond with their babies right away and feel MASSIVE guilt about it. I know I did. Even though I nursed both of my boys for the same amount of time and raised them in the same house with the same wonderful husband, my youngest son and I struggled to have a connection. I was flabbergasted. I mean, I never had this issue with my oldest son. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me? Why was I such a bad mom?


My husband was the only one who could calm our little guy down when he couldn’t sleep at night, and when there was a “boo boo,” he always called for Daddy. It broke my heart every single time. While my oldest son wouldn’t leave my side, my youngest wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with me. And when people would tell me that they looked like twins, it felt like a sucker punch. Was that why he didn’t want me to hold him? Because I had soft features and he had more angular ones?


I would scroll through social media and see photos of moms happily baby wearing and cuddling with their sweet babies and I would be lying if I said I didn’t throw myself a pity party because my Instagram feed looked much different. I mean, those sweet moments were few and far between for us, and I soaked in every single second of them that the last thing I wanted was to disrupt our cuddle session just to take a photo.

How did things get better? Well, I don’t have a magic answer. Just like with anything, time helps everything, and it took YEARS for us to get into a “Mommy and Me” rhythm. It definitely helped when his older brother went to school so we could have time together, just the two of us. But as someone who works from home, I of course found it tricky to balance it all and found myself dealing with loads of guilt from all areas of my life. Until one day I came to a monumental realization after sharing my story with a trusted friend. She listened to me in a way that no one else had before. She didn’t share her insight, she didn’t compare her situation to mine. She simply listened. And just getting all of that out helped me came to a pivotal realization. No person—mom, sister, writer, teacher, etc.—is perfect.


Simply the acknowledgement of imperfection allowed me to relax and have more fun with both work and home life and I truly believe that this is what helped my sweet little boy and I have a positive breakthrough in our relationship. Now, I’m not saying that he doesn’t prefer to hold Daddy’s hand or sit next to him at restaurants (I mean, it just happened yesterday), but we now have our own special jokes and things that we love to do together, whether it is kicking the soccer ball around in the backyard, watching “Fixer Upper,” or toiling with puzzles for hours on end because I have truly let go of any expectations of what our “Mommy and Me” relationship SHOULD be like. I have embraced it for what it is and it has brought about a contentment and confidence that I never thought was possible.


So for all you moms who are struggling to have the “Mommy and Me” relationships that you dreamt about those nine months, I have one piece of advice: Let go of the expectations and simply embrace your time together. Because you know what? There is nothing like the love between a mom and her son.


And happy 5th birthday to my sweet little boy. I’m so lucky to be your mommy.


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  1. Karen Morse says

    This is perfectly understandable because every child is different. I think what’s even more important is that you kept being there, you kept making an effort until you finally won his heart.

  2. Jeanette says

    That definitely happens more often then it doesn’t. I bonded with my child but it was not like people were explaining to me words just instant overflowing emotions. Right now I am so close to that kiddo he is like the other half of me.

    • Amanda says

      It’s interesting how some relationships take off right from the start but some don’t. You are lucky you always had a close bond with your kiddo.

  3. Lisa says

    My youngest was such a hard, hard baby. She only wanted me, not ever daddy or anyone else. And she was needy. It took us about 3 years to find a bond and a rhythm.

    • Amanda says

      My oldest has always been a mama’s boy and my youngest is a daddy’s boy. It is definitely ROUGH sometimes when they only want one of us.

  4. Amber Myers says

    This is such an honest post. I love it. I bonded with my son right away, but my daughter was trickier because she wasn’t as easy. Eventually when she calmed down we really bonded.

    • Amanda says

      So glad to know I’m not the only one who struggled with her second child. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  5. Nikki says

    I bonded with my son right away but I can absolutely understand women who don’t have that immediately. Our babies may have grown inside us, but they are literal strangers when they enter the world. There’s a get-to-know-you period for sure, even when the bond is there right away. Either way it’s totally normal and NOTHING to feel guilty over.

    • Amanda says

      Having two wonderful children and two totally different experiences, I completely agree with you. Thanks for your kind words.

  6. valmg @ Mom Knows It All says

    Happy birthday to your son! I was madly in love with my boys before they were born and after even more so, but that’s me. Everyone traveling to one place gets there in their own way. You got there and that’s all that matters, isn’t it.

    • Amanda says

      Are you suggesting that I didn’t love my son? Because if so, you are completely wrong. You can take your condescending comments elsewhere. Thank you.

  7. Alison Rost says

    This is why it’s never easy to be a parent. You never know what you need to deal with the moment your baby arrives. I think it’s all about the effort and love that we give them and that eventually wins them over.

  8. paula schuck says

    I don’t think I bonded differently with my kids, but I do appreciate this post for the honesty. We adopted both of our girls and bonded quickly. BUT I will say this my youngest is a much harder child. She is easy to love but so much harder sometimes. She had sensory issues early on but we tried and fumbled around for so long attempting to figure out what was going on. She would hit and thrash. That was insanely hard and we felt attacked all the time. Literally pick her up to cuddle and she’d thrash and push away. Our first daughter was easygoing and sweet and cuddly. So much easier to parent.

    • Amanda says

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Now that I think of it, my oldest son loves cuddles and tactile touch while my second son does not. Maybe that is something that held up our initial bond.

  9. Carol Cassara says

    I’ve never had a child but I do know that it’s different for each even if they all go through the same milestones and changes. You gave your best and it paid off! Now you’re bonded forever!

  10. Farrah Less says

    The baby picture is so precious I can’t help but smile. I hope one day I will be able to experience this wonderful journey of motherhood. I have so much admiration to parents who still manage to spend time with their kids despite of their busy life.

  11. Meeta says

    Being a parent is not an easy task! There are many ups and downs – but it is also a rewarding and wonderful role that I would never want to miss. This post is a beautiful honest one!

  12. Lisa Marie Heath says

    My son and I bonded immediately, and I was scared we wouldn’t. To this day (he just turned 12) he and I still have that strong bond. He never fully bonded with his father though, no matter how hard his father tried. He loves him, loves being around him – but they don’t have that bond.

    • Amanda says

      Isn’t it interesting how some people have a naturally strong connection and others don’t? It isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just different.

  13. Practical mama says

    Thank you for sharing this honest and heartfelt post with us. Parenthood is a complex equation with multiple variables including hormones, energy, sleep deprivation, other household members and even the extended family and the village. And it’s not constant, it evolves every day, every month, every year. Those roller coaster feelings come and go as we go through terrible twos, puberty, and adolescence (I’m almost there) etc. That said, most of that emotional responsibility is loaded on the shoulders of mothers, meaning mothers are judged for being perfect parents than fathers. The norms, moms “must” or “should” abide by, are way too many and strict whereas fathers are cheered for their minuscule effort. I’m all for father’s efforts but I think mothers should be given a little bit more slack than fulfilling these high expectations. And being able to share these vulnerable experiences like you did braving the fear of being judged, will help all of us.

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