Mothers were, perhaps unsurprisingly, expected to be the more nurturing parent. It was mostly unquestioned that a mother loved her children deeply and would do anything for them. She would almost certainly be closer in age to her children than her husband was, which might even lead to her being closer to them emotionally than she was to her spouse. Certainly a mother being more likely to take her son’s side in a quarrel with his father was a common rhetorical trope. The age difference also meant that she was far more likely to end up a single parent than she was, though she would never end up legally in charge of them.
The relationships between fathers and their children were generally not expected to be so close and probably weren’t in practice. Tension between fathers and their adult sons who hadn’t yet received an inheritance yet certainly seem to have not been uncommon. But fathers were still expected to care deeply for their offspring. To say in court that a man did not love his children was a serious strike against him.
*Not legally certainly, but emotionally.
Golden, Mark. Children and Childhood in Classical Athens. 2nd Edition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, 2015.