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

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#31 of 39 Old 05-06-2012, 03:43 PM
 
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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.

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#32 of 39 Old 05-06-2012, 03:47 PM
 
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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?

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#33 of 39 Old 05-06-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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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.
 


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#34 of 39 Old 05-07-2012, 08:56 AM
 
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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....

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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!


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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#35 of 39 Old 05-07-2012, 11:35 AM
 
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I agree with gitanamama! So true.


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#36 of 39 Old 05-08-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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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.

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#37 of 39 Old 05-11-2012, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#38 of 39 Old 05-12-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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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!)


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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#39 of 39 Old 05-12-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank-you gitanamama! 

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