Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Separation Anxiety

I’ve got last week’s poll results in, and I realized that for the first time since I’ve been doing these polls, I wasn’t able to vote in it!

The poll asked when you first left your child overnight, and I haven’t done it yet. I’m not surprised that fewer people voted in this poll than any other one I’ve taken; we’re all pretty new at the mommy biz, and it takes a while to be able to leave kiddo overnight for the first time.

Of those who responded, most were separated for the first time around pre-school age or a bit younger; the earliest a mom reported having an overnight away was about one year of age.

I actually came very close to being able to vote in this thing; I nearly left my daughter overnight when she was less than four months old. I was my girlfriend Abby’s birth coach, and she went into the hospital for an induction because of low fluid on an evening about one week shy of Madeleine’s four-month mark. I raced to the hospital wondering if they’d have a pump they might lend me in the event this became an all-nighter, leaving behind a hungry child, three bottles of pumped milk, and a panicked husband who’d never put her to bed by herself before.

Heck, she’d just started recognizing the difference between night and day a few weeks earlier!

Fortunately for me, Abby thoughtfully popped Josh out in record time; the doctor broke her water at 8:30 p.m. and with no other pharmaceutical intervention she obligingly went into labor and delivered Josh at 10 p.m. I was home by 11:30 after having missed only one feeding.

So I have missed one bedtime routine in her year here, but have not spent the entire night away from her. And truthfully, part of me has been looking forward to weaning her over the next couple of months: I’ve got hazy dreams of a weekend somewhere on a beach with my husband and an alcoholic beverage for the first time in two years. I’m totally confident that my mom would do a great job with Madeleine on an overnight.

But I’m concerned about separation anxiety.

Mine, that is, not hers.

I go off for a few hours to work, or to run errands or do some shopping, and I worry about leaving her behind. I mean, listen, I’ve had several times the past few months where I’ve fantasized about being child-responsibility- free for a large chunk of time: say, several hours at once. But then I worry about how she’ll get through the day without me.

And let’s be clear here: I’m not saying I’m the best caregiver in the world. My husband is more active than I could ever have dreamed of, and has changed at least as many diapers as I have. Truth be told, he is a much better “mother” – the nurturing, educating parent – than I am a good “father” – the fun, let’s-play-games, make-you-laugh-until-you-scream parent. He plays both sides much more confidently and easily than I do.

But he’s not an expert at her daily schedule – the minutiae of habits and routines that make up her waking hours. Evenings he’s got down pat, since he’s her caregiver while I’m working a few nights a week. But because he’s holding down his own job during the day, he doesn’t know that Madeleine likes to find her lovey herself as a transition game to her first nap, or that she needs to be held for a few minutes after that nap before being put down to get lunch ready. Nobody knows these things except me, and I see how these details grease the wheels, make her life easier and more comfortable. She enjoys the predictability, the sameness, finds comfort in it. And I worry that my not being there will make her uneasy, unhappy, nervous.

Not because she misses me, but because she misses the concierge service.

And if I do try to fill the caregiver in on all the routines and patterns that make Maddie’s life easier, the caregiver 1) thinks I’m way too obsessive-compulsive about How Things Are Done (and they’re right); and 2) never has time anyway to completely read the 20 pages of instructions I’ve left on where to find Maddie’s veggie puffs and how to tell if a wave means “Come here so you can feed me” or “Go away, you bother me.”

I did recently get a day to myself (more on that later) and saw that it could be done. I know Madeleine’s gradually needing me less and less; over the next few months, as she’s weaned, I’ll become no more important to her physical health than a couple other people in her life. But let’s save that therapy session for another time.

Right now, I’m working on that delicate balance of raising a toddler in a nurturing, safe, routine environment while encouraging independence, strength, and a fearlessness in the face of something new.

But I still can’t help but picture my daughter at nap time, tear-stained face red with frantic crying as she can’t fall asleep without her lovey in her right hand, blinds down, panda on her left side, and Mommy, the only person in the world that knows this, is off getting a pedicure.

I picture my daughter, who has seen my face as the last thing before going to sleep for every night of her life but one, at bedtime, wondering where her mommy is and having nightmares all night that I’m never coming back.

And if I’m being 100% honest, I picture my daughter, who’s besotted with my mom, looking up as I walk in the door from being gone for two days with a face that says, “Oh, you’re back? Ok. Wait. Where you gone?”

I can’t decide which scenario’s worse.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.