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Summer School and leaving my toddler - scared and worried - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetoski View Post

Thanks for the book recommendation Snapdragon - I checked it out already and it looks great....right up my alley!  As for what the benefits may be of leaving my son at home when I go school......potentially giving myself an opportunity to reconnect with myself as an individual as I believe this has been one of the sources of the problems DH and I are having.  An opportunity for my husband to truly feel like an equal parent.  He feels that he has not had this opportunity due to my very attached parenting.  (also a source of the problems in our marriage). 

 

I appreciate the comment that my parenting instincts are probably right on target.  I just have trouble trusting my own instincts sometimes, although funny enough I've always considered myself to be a very intuitive person and able to listen to my intuition.  It's just become clouded over and more difficult for me to access.  Could also be due to not eating well and not getting enough sleep.  My son only nurses at night and it's up to 8 times a night, and sometimes even 10.  It's been that way since he was born.  I'm really tired and my health has suffered due to lack of sleep, bad eating habits and stress.


I think your DH would do well to understand that there are ways for him to be a more involved parent without you needing to go away to school. He could take the baby to the playground, play with him after work each day for an hour so you can do something else. I also think there are other ways of you reconnecting with your passions and interests outside of parenting than going away to school and leaving your ds behind. Join a book group, or attend interesting lectures at school during times that you mint otherwise be at home occasionally. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, and if you are doing attachment parenting in a way that excludes your DH, you should find ways to solve that issue - because it's important that you are both parenting. I guess something I really doing understand is how he could feel like he doesn't get the chance to parent as much as he wants, and yet also feels that the child would be perfectly fine without you, you being the one who does most of the parenting? I guess your posts come across strangely to me.
post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 

Oh my goodness where to start!!  I have a lot to say and an update on where I'm at in the decision making process.

 

Quote:(P.J.)
I think your husband would do well to try and understand that your child will grow up so fast and before he knows it you two will have more time together, but for now your son is #1. I know that's really hard for many fathers to digest and get used to, but it's the truth. Maybe you two could do some couples counseling, and perhaps he could take a few sessions for himself to work through this, because it is huge. Marriages end because of it. Not to be super-negative or anything, but this is the sort of thing that needs to be dealt with and not swept under the rug. Resentments build quickly and die slowly so even once your son is older and more independent, this could linger between you and your DH.

 

I have to apologize as I don't know how to do the quote thing properly, but the above quote is from P.J.'s last post.  I really, really desire and need for my husban to understand exactly what you are saying.  In fact, I know I would feel so much closer to him if I felt he accepted me and my beliefs about attachment parenting.  That alone would possibly even encourage me to be more open to constant and small movements towards independence.  It's funny how things can work oppositely to how you would think!  We have already had one counselling session together and it went well, but we still have a long way to go I think. 

Quote:(P.J.)
That said, I believe you when you say you have issues as well. I think it is possible for the mother to project her unfulfilled childhood wishes and/or wounds onto her mothering role and child and be too clingy. I have known mamas that were reluctant to let their child grow into natural independence because of this. As we all know, the natural move into independence and autonomy starts in toddlerhood. As much as attachment grows and changes (AP is not just for babies!), it is a very essential part of parenting to let our children go, very gradually and step by step....while staying attached in our deepest hearts always

P.J. I love how you said this above.......I really appreciate that and I have had some individual counselling session to work on these issues of projection and it's helping. 

 

Quote:(P.J.)

 It sounds like you do need to put some more energy into your relationship with your husband, and maybe look deeply at where you are holding on too tight to your son.

P.J. this just sums it up perfectly!  I need to do exactly as you've said above and that will help my husband, my son and myself so much.

 

 

Quote: (from SuperSingleMama)

I think your DH would do well to understand that there are ways for him to be a more involved parent without you needing to go away to school. He could take the baby to the playground, play with him after work each day for an hour so you can do something else. I also think there are other ways of you reconnecting with your passions and interests outside of parenting than going away to school and leaving your ds behind. Join a book group, or attend interesting lectures at school during times that you mint otherwise be at home occasionally. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, and if you are doing attachment parenting in a way that excludes your DH, you should find ways to solve that issue - because it's important that you are both parenting. I guess something I really doing understand is how he could feel like he doesn't get the chance to parent as much as he wants, and yet also feels that the child would be perfectly fine without you, you being the one who does most of the parenting? I guess your posts come across strangely to me.

Interestingly enough my husband actually have quite a bit of time with just himself and our son.  I work two days a week so DS is with DH.  We always wanted to have either one of us with him as opposed to using daycare.  So, this has been awesome for DH, and since last September he has had additional one on one time with DS as I am in class every second Friday night and Saturday.  When he gets home from work on his work days I always step out of the picture and let him take DS while I make dinner.  So, overall we actually do really well in sharing one on one time with DS.  I think DH just sees things in the way that I parent that he thinks are unhealthy, but they are also not in allignment with his philosophies so there is a mix of things going on there.  You are right that it's kind of strange that DH thinks that although he doesn't get enough time to parent as I am the primary caregiver, that our son would be quite fine with him or a grandparent while I was away.  To a certain extent our son would be ok, but I am only comfortable with one night right now.  DH and DS do have a great relationship and DS is quite adept at adapting to and feeling very comfortable with DH when I am not here.  So this is where he gets the idea that DS would be fine without me, but I don't think he understands how big the difference between one and five nights feels to me and potentially could feel to DS. 

 

I'm sorry for this very long winded post!  I want to finish with where I'm at right now in the decision process.  I have to say that this conversation has been hands down THE MOST USEFUL process in helping me to sort this out.  I really want to thank everyone SO much for all the wisdom and reflection you've all offered.  I've decided to take my son with me and I know in my heart this is the right decision.  My stress has decreased significantly since making the decision and I feel more sure of my own beliefs and feelings.  My husband is ok with this decision but still wants me to work towards being more comfortable with separation from DS. I am willing to work on this at a measured pace that I'm comfortable with and I just hope that DH can be ok with the pace that I choose.  It won't be as fast as he'd like, and in the meantime we have a lot of work to do on our marriage in order to make it a happier marriage to be in. 

 

I'm really excited about July now that I've decided to take DS and this makes me happy as the stress I was carrying around before was crippling.  And so the life learning goes on............

 

post #23 of 39

Great job coming to a decision! smile.gif I am glad your son is going with you- (if that is okay for me to have an opinion on it-! lol)

post #24 of 39

Sounds like you already made a decision, but I wanted to add (in case it helps someone else, or gives you a new idea) - as a momma working on degree #2 who also has a hubby in a master's program - how truly necessary is it that you take a class that's so far from home/such a long class, in such a cramped semester? You're clearly a super-attached mom, and right from the jump it caused friction between you and your husband. Perhaps that could have been a red flag for you?

 

Most graduate programs, even though focused, give you more options than that for completing coursework. A four week class that's far from home sounds like it's an intensive study or an independent study. These also tend to be more expensive in the long run, given that in most cases you need to work out food, lodging, transportation, etc. If it's a practicum or field work, don't forget things like lab fees and supplies/tools. Then again, money may not be a concern? Even so...

 

I would contact your school and see if there isn't another option for completing the same course material in the fall, when the material can be stretched over 15 or 16 weeks. Alternately, your program may allow you to transfer a limited number of credits towards completion of your degree, so you could look at other institutions to see if they have the same material on a timeline that's more comfortable for you. That might also allow you the time to focus on your husband, as he seems to want/need. Keep those lines of communication open...I know I feel overwhelmed at time at the number of hats I have to wear, and I'm not even nursing like you are (bravo, by the way!), so I know I can neglect certain areas of my relationships with...well, everyone. Maybe you can meet everyone's needs by handling this through your school or modifying your program? If your school won't work with you even a little, perhaps it's time to consider a different school?

post #25 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thank-you Snapdragon for the words of affirmation, and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion!  I've really apprecited your weighing in on my situation and helping me come to a decision and see things from different angles too. 

 

SquidMommy, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts from yet another angle!  Unfortunately the only option I could consider would be to drop out of the program and re-enter at an appropriate time within the next 5 years.  It's quite a unique set up and also an opportunity that I knew I needed to take when it came along.  It's a 2 years masters in counselling program and it's being offered in my own small town in British Columbia with professors that travel here from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, which is 4 hours away.  We have class every two weeks on the weekends right here at home for two years, and as a requirement of the program we have to attend an intense semester on campus in Spokane for the month of July.  They do all they can to give families options for the July period to make it easier, but it is absolutely a challenge to make it work for everyone involved.  The beauty of this program for me is that other than this July I do not have to leave home, and my husband and child, to do a masters, which is unheard of for rural British Columbia.  It's exactly the kind of program I want in many ways and even the timing was right.  I was ready for something new and had been contemplating a masters in counselling for years.  When this came up bells went off inside of me and I just knew it was perfect for me.  I am loving the program and it's been a time of huge personal growth for me.  I would not want to drop out right now and I do feel that July is do-able even though it will be tough.  My parents and my husband have been amazingly supportive of my desire to do this and have adjusted their lives to make this work for me.  I agree that the school could find a better way to set the program up in terms of fitting everything in, and it would be nice if they could offer more options that would allow for more flexibility.  I may suggest that in my program evaluation.

 

I liked what you said here SquidMommy:

 

 

Quote: (from SquidMommy)

Keep those lines of communication open...I know I feel overwhelmed at time at the number of hats I have to wear, and I'm not even nursing like you are (bravo, by the way!), so I know I can neglect certain areas of my relationships with...well, everyone.

DH and I are working hard at keeping the lines of communication open.  It's become more evident to me than ever just how necessary that is when you have a child.  I think before DS was born we were able to "fudge it' a bit and get away with less than perfect communication.  Now it's glaringly obvious that we have plenty to work on! 

 

It sure is overwhelming trying to wear so many hats and I am finding especially at this stage for my son of toddlerhood he seems to need me now more than ever and I want to be there for him.  I just need to work harder on being there for DH and for me that means I need to put on my DP hat more often and remember what it feels like to be a DP.  I could have never imagined how much becoming a Mom would change my life and push me to really look at myself deeply and grown in some difficult places. 

post #26 of 39

grouphug.gif So glad we  could help. MDC rocks!!!

 

Sounds like the right decision if you are already feeling better. There is one view that goes: if it feels right it is right. Best of luck to you and your babe and hubby. Update us if you feel like!

post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 

I love that saying!  I totally agree that if it feels right it is right.  I just have to keep reminding myself of this!  Thanks P.J.!

post #28 of 39

I saw your post and came on to reply, and I see that you have already made your decision. I just want to say YAY!!! I think you made the right one, from what you have revealed about yourself!! You totally have to trust your instincts on this kind of thing! My husband's suggestions/beliefs are sometimes different from mine, and I want to respect them, give him a say, etc. However, every single time I have followed his advice against my own instincts it has been a mistake!! I think the fact that you are so attached to your child just means it is all the more important to maintain that close relationship with him. Of course it will be hard, of course it will be more expensive, but it is an investment in your relationship. Congratulations on making your decision!

post #29 of 39

Why think of it as 'seperation'? This is a short space of time for you to focus on your own objectives, not seperation. If I were you I would begin weaning now in preparation and then it won't be such an issue when your school begins. The 4 weeks will fly by and you will return, confident and inspired. The time away will also give you some great space to think about your relationship with your son and husband and come up with solutions to make things work going forward, as well as give you husband the opportunity to understand what you must have been feeling (when he is the main caregiver for 5 days a week).

post #30 of 39

oh, sorry, just realised you've made a very sensible decision. Well done. I'm new to this so didn't realise!

post #31 of 39

You said: "The risk I need to take though feels overwhelming.  I need to dig deep and ask myself, in my heart, what is best.  I wish I could find a clear path to reach that place inside of me."

 

What's the risk, though? There is no risk for your son. If you stop BFing it would be hard for you, not him. If you're away for 4 weeks, it's hard on you, not him. If he's with his father more than his mother, that'll be hard on you, not him. I'm trying to look at this simply (as a mother who is a FT professor who is also a FT doctorate student who frequently has to go on learning intensives and be gone for school): the risk is how YOU can handle it, not him. Maybe if you realize it's your own personal issues, and really has nothing to do with your toddler, it may make it easier.
 

EDIT: Just read you decided to take your son with you. I'm not sure how that is going to help you detach and help your husband see you more as a woman he is in love with versus a mom that gives son #1 top billing. Your son is two. He won't remember -anything- about these times. He won't be scarred. He won't be traumatized. He won't hate you. Just go and come back when you're done. I know from experience you will respect yourself more as a strong, working woman when you get back AND appreciate yourself as a mom, too.

post #32 of 39

Porcelina said: "However, every single time I have followed his advice against my own instincts it has been a mistake!!"

 

Not trying to pry but it's been a mistake because.... why? It was different than what you would have done? Did someone get hurt in the end? Did someone die? Did it make a lasting imprint on someone who will never be the same? or was it just an outcome that was different than another one but equally as possible?

post #33 of 39

Here are two examples. I am uncomfortable with day care for my infant. DH convinces me, no, it will be fine, to just give it a try. We take him in for his first day, and the provider does not spend any time with us, is bustling about the room, moving a baby from an exersaucer to a swing, trying to get food for another baby in a high chair, and then we have to drop him in her arms. I went with it anyway, because my husband convinced me it was fine. Well, it was not fine with me! My instincts were screaming no, and so after "just trying it," we pulled him out and got a sitter instead.

 

Work related: I have a meeting to talk with a professor (encouraged by my supervisor, but I didn't have anything I really wanted to talk to him about), yet I don't have child care that day. I think it is probably better to cancel it, so as not to come off as a disorganized person (since I wasn't too interested in going anyway), but DH convinces me that it happens all the time, it is common now for people to bring their babies with them, that the chair of his department (male) brought a baby to meetings, etc. So, I go anyway, with a baby who is very tired, and ends up falling asleep nursing (at least he was asleep most of the meeting) on me, covered with a nursing cover. It was awkward to say the least. There really is a double standard, and while maybe a dad can get away with it, moms are just seen as not professional. Moreover, I think it was just too distracting for me, as I spent all my time worrying about him instead of really tuning in to the conversation I was having.

 

I'm not saying he is wrong, I'm just saying that instincts tend to over-rule what he intellectually convinces me of. If I have a strong instinct about something, there is a reason for that, and no matter how much I try to convince myself of something else, I can't change that feeling.
 

post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by graciegal View Post

 

What's the risk, though? There is no risk for your son. If you stop BFing it would be hard for you, not him. If you're away for 4 weeks, it's hard on you, not him. If he's with his father more than his mother, that'll be hard on you, not him. I'm trying to look at this simply (as a mother who is a FT professor who is also a FT doctorate student who frequently has to go on learning intensives and be gone for school): the risk is how YOU can handle it, not him. Maybe if you realize it's your own personal issues, and really has nothing to do with your toddler, it may make it easier.

 

Graciegal, I have to politely disagree with you. I think there is a risk to the OP's son--having your mom disappear for four weeks is a big deal, especially if it also means the end of BFing. He would have no framework for understanding where she is or when she'd be back. I know for certain kids this wouldn't be an issue, but for others, it would be huge. My own son (also 2) would have a very rough time if I left, even for a few days. I don't say that because I'm a clingy, over-attached mother, I say that because I *know* my child and how he reacts to change. I also think it's really important to listen to our instincts as mothers---we are often guided by knowledge that is deeper than what our intellect tells us. I don't think the OP can extract her own personal issues from her toddler, because part of her struggle is integrating her new role as mother into her former identity. Just my thoughts....

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetoski View Post

 

It sure is overwhelming trying to wear so many hats and I am finding especially at this stage for my son of toddlerhood he seems to need me now more than ever and I want to be there for him.  I just need to work harder on being there for DH and for me that means I need to put on my DP hat more often and remember what it feels like to be a DP.  I could have never imagined how much becoming a Mom would change my life and push me to really look at myself deeply and grown in some difficult places. 


I think this is really well put--it can be so difficult to juggle all our different roles (wife, mother, intellectual, etc.) And just because your son isn't a baby anymore, doesn't mean that he needs you any less. Toddlerhood seems to me like a very complex stage in which kiddos are beginning to discover their independence and yet also still very much mama-centered (or care-giver centered.) I believe that being really present and available for your toddler allows them to explore their independence, whereas "detaching" only makes your toddler feel insecure and clingy.

 

And I think a lot of us underestimate how profoundly becoming a mother changes our lives and our identity (I definitely did!) It can hard for men to adjust to how their wives/partners change after becoming a mother. I think it's great that you realized that you need to put more effort into your marriage and that you made a decision that you feel comfortable with. I hope that you update us on how your summer program goes!

post #35 of 39

yeahthat.gif

I agree with gitanamama! So true.

post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

 

Graciegal, I have to politely disagree with you. I think there is a risk to the OP's son--having your mom disappear for four weeks is a big deal, especially if it also means the end of BFing. He would have no framework for understanding where she is or when she'd be back. I know for certain kids this wouldn't be an issue, but for others, it would be huge. My own son (also 2) would have a very rough time if I left, even for a few days. I don't say that because I'm a clingy, over-attached mother, I say that because I *know* my child and how he reacts to change. I also think it's really important to listen to our instincts as mothers---we are often guided by knowledge that is deeper than what our intellect tells us. I don't think the OP can extract her own personal issues from her toddler, because part of her struggle is integrating her new role as mother into her former identity. Just my thoughts....

 

 

Hi Gitanamana, I do agree with you that there is a maternal instinct, but I also feel that sometimes we may take it too far and superimpose -our- feelings onto our children's feelings and may not be able to separate the two. The boy loves Daddy, too, and I am pretty sure that spending 4 weeks with Daddy would be just fine. We are mom but there's more to a toddler's world than just us ;) (I have a 20 month old). It can't scar him for life - Toddlers just arent set up for that sort of "adult" thinking.

post #37 of 39
Thread Starter 

Ooh, I'm really enjoying the way this thread has grown and blossomed and is continuing to give me food for thought!  graciegal...your words challenged me in that I began to question my decision again because you did hit on the heart of why I was considering going on my own and leaving my son with DH and my parents (along with what Julie Smith said in her first post).  I do see the potentially huge benefits in going on my own in that I could end up feeling like a stronger working woman, and as Julie Smith said it could give me some time and space to focus on just my own objective and also think about my relationship with my DH and son.  I would love to have all of this happen, however, I have come to a new realization about what is most important for me in this whole decision making process.  I've struggled since day one of my son's life with not having a lot of trust in myself to make the right decisions and questioning my decision around parenting even though I was doing what felt right.  I have been in a nasty trap of self-doubt and it has caused me a lot of stress.  Making the decision to bring my son with me in July has been one of the first difficult parenting decisions I've made that I now feel unwaiveringly, completely comfortable and happy with.  Making a decision based on what my heart and intuition are telling me and resting in the knowing that it's right is very empowering. 

 

Not long before making the decision to take my son with me I began to hear a voice inside me telling me that it didn't matter *what* I decided to do, only how I moved forward with whatever decision I made.  This was very freeing and, along with the help of everyone who offered support on this thread, I was able to quite easily make the decision to take my son with me in July.  It felt right, and as P.J. mentioned above the saying that goes if it feels right it is right, this is the beautiful place that I ended up in!  I am not perfect in the way I parent and I do know that my own personal issues do interfere and influence my parenting, but I am aware of this and I have compassion for myself and realize that it's OK.  I go to counselling to help myself work on these issues and to just keep myself tuned in to personal growth at all times. 

 

There are certainly risks and benefits with either decision.  Gitanamama I really liked what you said about knowing how your child reacts to change and also that toddlerhood is a time when it may more important than ever to be there for a toddler as they explore independence.  I agree with this.  My son is definitely a child who I know would have some challenges with weaning and a more significant separation from me than he's ever had all within a few months.  That said it's quite possible he would do ok with it all.  I on the other hand KNOW that I would have a hard time with it emotionally, and I would prefer weaning and more significant separation to happen when it feels right.  I don't know if I'm ready and I don't know if my son is ready, but I do know that the whole things was stressing me out so much that it was really affecting my life in other ways.  I feel it's ok to take my own needs into consideration too and even though I'm the adult I know that if I chose to go away on my own I could experience stress that could put me in a very undesirable state.  I just want to have compassion for myself as a human being.  In the end all of the processing I did on a mental level was just too much and so I am grateful that the intuitive voice came to me and I'm also grateful for the support I received here on MDC. 

 

By making this decision from my heart and intuition and resting in the knowing that I am a woman who CAN make decisions that others may not necessarily see as the right one and be able to stay in my inner knowing that it's right because it feels right for me..........this makes me the strong woman who my husband loves, and I feel more loveable as a DP because of my capacity to follow my intuition.  Because of the way I've come to this decision I am now feeling closer to my husband than I have in a long time, and I believe it will strengthen our relationship. 

 

It's a peaceful place to be, the place of trusting one's own heart and intuition. 

 

My husband is ok with my choice.  He would still like me to continue to work towards weaning and being comfortable with separation from our son for longer than 24 hours. I am open to this but I know for me I can't say it will happen by a certain date.  I has to happen at a pace that is comfortable and natural for me and our son.  If my son wanted to wean tomorrow I would accept that.  It would be hard but I would 100% accept it.   If he said he wanted his own bedroom tomorrow I would also accept it.  Again it would be hard for me but I would respect his choice.  Until such time that he makes those kind of choices though I only feel right taking the road of change slowly.  I am grateful that my husband has been making an effort to accept my parenting choices and style.  I had no idea what kind of a parent I would be until I held my son in my arms.  I too would like to become better at accepting his wishes for us to parent more as partners.  It's very challenging when you and your partner have quite different views on how you should parent.  We are stumbling forward with as much awareness as we can and are committed to becoming a better parenting team.

post #38 of 39

Beautifully written lovetoski. We're all on our own parenting journey and learning as we go---about ourselves, our little ones, and the path of motherhood. Here's hoping you have a wonderful summer full of growth (of all kinds!)

post #39 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thank-you gitanamama! 

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