My daughter does not always enjoy my company

Abhishek Lahoti
3 min readJun 30, 2023

As my daughter nears her 8 month milestone, my wife Lauren Lahoti (née Bennett) and I have noticed a tricky trend at the end of each day. (I say that we noticed, but it’s really hard to ignore a screaming child at any moment.) What we’ve learned is that our little one does NOT like me. Better put, she wants to be in the arms of her mother only. If I am around, I’m entertaining, but not someone in whom she finds comfort. This version of our child roars into being like clockwork; what was once the “witching hour” is now the “mama not papa hour”.

I’m sure I can pinpoint the exact few reasons for this behaviour. I’m not as “known” an entity as her mother, having gone back to work whilst my wife is on maternity leave. She’s very tired, and you can’t argue with tiredness, ever. And it’s getting late, where “nighttime scaries” come into play. I’m told not to take it personally, but when you spent a large amount of the last year caring for this tiny human, it’s hard not to.

I know I can’t “force” her to like me, and that this is part of growing up and I need to lean in, spend more time with her, and let her grow into familiarity. There’s really no way to “win” her over, our relationship just has to mature with time. As much as I want to speed up the clock, patience is the virtue that’s winning this game. I know that she does not dislike me, I just can’t provide the comfort that she seeks.

I can get into the larger reasoning in our society as to how this happens for dads more than moms. Because of the inequality that underlies so much of the world, we were forced to have one parent spend more time with the baby at a very young age. It is not odd to most people that I went back to work whilst my partner stayed home to take care of our child. Ideally we could both be there for her for an extended amount of time, sharing energy it takes to contend with a newborn. That said, I’m not here to solve this world problem (yet), only to note that I am aware of the root cause. Honestly, right now, it’s more important for me to solve the immediate, screaming-baby problem.

I think about how my interactions with my daughter are paralleled in other facets of life. I know there’s a good relational sales / customer success current underlying this piece. I know you can discuss how interactions with new products are rarely perfect, and that time and patience and honing create the consumer love relied on by so many companies. But really, that’s not the point this time around. I’m unsure if I really need to espouse a greater life lesson right now.

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From here, I know I have to continue being a supportive partner and father and rely on time and consistency to bridge this gap. Helping my wife in any way, either with more time as a solo-caregiver or helping her get back into the workforce will probably help us get to a better place. But for now, it’s bedtime and I can see those tired eyes dubiously looking in my direction.

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Abhishek Lahoti

Head of Platform @ Highland Europe, advisor of startups, new father, and perpetual confused person trying to make sense of life