Saturday, July 01, 2006

I forgot to cut the umbilical chord…

Over the past two years, I have done whatever I felt necessary to be a good mom. But now with all that time behind me, I feel that maybe I did “too much”. Now when I look at Iman’s level of attachment with me, I can’t help but look down at myself for this.

During the first six months I fell victim to the “she needs me” syndrome. Since Omair and I had decided that we wanted Iman to be completely breastfed, I always felt the need to be “around”. I didn’t allow myself off time, because I never knew when to take that break.

After the initial 6 months, I just kind of took over the role of doing everything for Iman. Since I had left work to be a stay at home mom, it didn’t make any sense to dump the responsibility on Omair (although I must give him due credit, he does A LOT of her). I kind of took Iman as my “job” and did all her duties myself.

Now she’s 2 and I feel that I can’t even take a minute off. Whether its mealtimes, bath time, nap time or sleep time, my presence is a MUST. Iman screams and howls when I go to the bathroom. When I am doing the dishes, she’s clinging to my legs with an “almost” whimper.

You’d think that working would have loosened Iman’s close connection with me, but I feel that it made it worse. Usually I left her crying at daycare, so later, when she was with me, she felt even more insecure, and had a greater need to “cling”.

I feel jealous of all those women who can leave their kids behind for the afternoon or even take a mini-holiday without a toddler in tow. My advice to all those new moms out there… shower your child with all your love and attention, but don’t forget to take time off for yourself, and allow your baby to have a certain level of independence. I speak here from experience, that 2 years later, you’ll regret building this “wall of dependency” around your child.

7 Comments:

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Lorraine said...

Hina, my darling girl, you are a fantastic mom. I totally get what you are saying, oh, how I get it.

You have to understand a few things, though. First, your baby cries when you leave her, but that doesn't mean that she spends the whole time crying. The Child used to do that to us, too. We had a standing babysitter on Friday nights so we could go out. She'd wail like she was dying all the time we were leaving. But once we were gone she'd stop completely and have a great time, only to start the drama again when we returned.

Second, you are absolutely right that moms need to make time for themselves and teach the babies early that sometimes mama needs mama time. If you start to model it, she'll get it. And trust me, they do get more independent.

But 3, she's 2. Of course she needs you. You are the center of her universe. That doesn't mean you haven't done your job. In fact, if anything, it's proof that you are on the right track.

Be good to yourself, sweetie. You are a wonderful mom.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger DariushAlavi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger DariushAlavi said...

Oh no... must resist the urge to type... because if I start... I might never stop...

This is a topic about which I am ENDLESSLY interested, to the extent that it comes up in one way or another in almost every single piece of fiction I have written.

I think there's no easy answer to it, but I do think you mustn't get hung up on it. From what I've seen, you ARE an excellent mother... but you can't be a a perfect mother. No-one can. In the struggle to attain a balance between being 'sufficiently absent' and 'sufficiently present' as a parent, I think there's always at least a slight bias towards one extreme or the other.

I think you should take Lorraine's words to heart. Iman is only 2! And children are highly adept at pushing adults' guilt buttons.

So just keep doing what you're doing and I'm sure Iman will turn into a well-balanced, independent individual.

 
At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just not a issue for you but thousands of expats tend to make this mistake ;).

 
At 8:59 PM, Blogger Shezalldat said...

i think living close to grandparents help. dont get me wrong... im not advocating joint family systems here. i hate those. im just saying having grandma around helps when u want a break. Imran and i just took a week of vacation, without Eesa - who is still breastfed at age 22mths, by the way! he is clingy too but he is independent in his own way. i think the playing independently bit come swhen they turn 3... i dunno, it hasnt hit eesa yet, maybe im just wishing for a miracle at 3!

 
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