Posts Tagged ‘parental guilt’

Moms spend so much time with their newborns, babies and children that it can be really hard to separate yourself or vice-versa for the children to let go of you not being with them. I know certain moms who have never even used a baby sitter! Crazy! Parents, especially stay at home moms, need to get out of the house and have time for yourself too in order to have a balanced and healthy life. Often times a mom can think, “How could anyone else know to take care of him and fix things like I do?”

Separation anxiety is a natural part of development for babies and kids, but as many parents know, they aren’t the only ones who feel uncomfortable when mom or dad leaves! It can be especially intense in the first year – parents worry about safety, sleeping and so-on.

If you find yourself struggling with separation, here are some tips you might want to consider:

1.    Allow yourself to feel anxious.
Separation anxiety is the other side of the attachment coin. A healthy bond with your child means a certain degree of discomfort.

2.    Know that other caregivers do things differently.
After being so close to your baby and children, you have fine-tuned your approach on how to handle your child. One of the tough parts about leaving your child is the fear that no one else knows the ‘secrets.’ That is true – but kids are surprisingly adaptive. Grandparents, dad or a babysitter, those people will find their own way and might surprise you with the tricks they invent to watch your child.

3.    Separation is an important part of attachment.
It is healthy fory our baby to be taken care of by multiple caregivers. Allowing kids to trust and be cared for by other people only boosts their feeling of community and sense that the world is a safer place. 

4.    Taking time for yourself isn’t just for fun, it’s for your health.
In the early months, if leaving your wee baby makes you miserable, don’t’ force it. But as he or she grows, it’s natural and healthy to start putting pieces of your own life back into its old schedule. This means, take time to go work out, meet with a friend for coffee or lunch, have a date night with your hubby, etc. Taking care of yourself is important to you and your child too.

5.    Look beyond the guilt!
Guilt is a common go-to emotion for parents, but it’s not a very useful one! Feeling guilty over being away from your child can be a way of not dealing with things. Acknowledge your guilt, but don’t let it become your emotional crutch, excuse or hideout.

Overall – just know that attachment doesn’t just mean physically being there, and that separation anxiety will eventually diffuse over time. 🙂

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It’s hard to say "no" to this face!

It’s hard to say "no" to this face!

I have a 28 month old. I don’t want to call it the terrible twos  because she’s just being independent…right? I love that she has a will of  her own, but boy, is it ever a challenge to get through everything these days! In the morning, it’s a struggle to pick clothes that are  acceptable to both of us. Throughout the day, it’s a (not fun) game trying to get her to pick up her toys.

The other night, I asked her to pick up all her magnetic letters and either put them on the fridge or in the old coffee can. She refused. I then asked her to help me do it. She just sat there and watched me. OK, I know I can’t do it for her because that is just setting myself up for the next 15-20 years of continuing to “do” for her. I decided this was a battle I was going to win and was prepared to do whatever it took to make it happen. Now I had to get tough and tell, not ask, her to do it. She still refused. I wrapped my hand around hers and helped her to pick up each letter and then released her hand making her drop it, but all that did was entertain her. She just thought it was funny. Finally I told her if she didn’t cooperate she had to go to bed. She still refused so I hauled her to the bedroom. She cried and said, “No, no”. When I asked if she would pick up her letters she said she would. I brought her back to the kitchen. When I sat her down she again refused. After going back and forth a couple of times with longer periods of time in the bedroom she finally gave in and picked everything up.

I know this process was significantly more painful for me than for her, but at least I won this round. She’s been a bit better about it this week. Next week, I’m sure there will be a whole new battle. I’d love to find out if anyone has a fun ways to teach kids to pick up after themselves.

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