A Whovian Tale of Crazy Momma Love

day-doctor-posterI had planned it all so perfectly.  Our departure time was meticulous – as late as we could leave and still be relatively sure of getting seats next to each other.  I never would’ve left him at night, seeing how he likes to nurse back to sleep within an hour of nursing to sleep, but it was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a once in a lifetime chance to see the Doctor on the big screen, quite the exciting time to be a Whovian!

But I digress.  If I could’ve, I would’ve seen an afternoon showing, but alas, there was only one showing, and it was at bedtime.  So I planned it perfectly, or so I thought.

Seven rolled around, and the screen was blank.  People laughed and joked and pointed sonic screwdrivers at the screen.  Seven ten now.  Finally, my husband looked it up and realized the movie was scheduled to start at 7:30, not 7:00.  OH MY GOD, HOW COULD I HAVE SCREWED THIS UP?!

Panic started rising in me.  He was going to be without his mom for an additional 30 minutes.  We were already pushing it, going to a movie.  I texted Grandma, desperate for her to tell me “he’s fine, I’ve got this, don’t worry about it.”  She didn’t respond.  I called her, and called her, and caller her.  She didn’t answer.

Seven thirty rolled around.  PANIC!  Panicpanicpanicpanicpanicpanic.  How late would I be home now?  How could I have done this to him?  It’s too soon, I’m too selfish, I’m a horrible mother.  Grandma still hasn’t responded, so it must be going horribly already, which means there’s no way we’re going to make it through the movie!

Then they told us the projector was broken.  They’d update us again in 5-10 minutes, and most likely move theaters.  That was it.  This was a disaster, a complete fail.

Maybe if I go home and nurse him, I can get back before it starts, and we can make it.  So I drive home like a maniac, crying on my way to the car about what a mess I’ve made of our first movie alone in 11.5 months.  And Analytical Husband calls to tell me that they’re moving theaters, there’s no way I can make it in time, and he’s gonna see about getting our money back.

Oh, man, I haven’t sobbed that hard in a long time.  The sorrow!  I failed at my first movie out.  I’m missing a thing I’ve really looked forward to, and now I’ll never have the strength to leave Analytical Baby at night again.

I get home, and Grandma is about to try to get him to sleep.  He’s barely interested in nursing.  AFTER ALL THAT!  AFTER ALL I’VE LOST!  I nurse for a minute or two and drive like a maniac back to the theater.  Analytical Dad is meeting me in front with the free vouchers and the popcorn that we were refunded for.  I’m frantic, tear-streaked, yelling “WE CAN STILL MAKE IT!  I’LL TALK OUR WAY IN!”  My poor, embarassed, frustrated husband follows me in in disbelief as I effortlessly talk my way back into the theater.

“It’s our first movie since the baby, and when the projector broke, I ran home and told him to get our money back, but I took care of the baby and made it back in time, can we PLEASE get back in?!”

Not only did they let us in, they let us (no, insisted that we) keep the vouchers, and gave us EXTRA vouchers on our way out because they felt so bad for my frazzled pitiful self.  And the movie was fantastic!  Allons-y!  Geronimo!  (Sorry, non-Whovians.  And sorry, Whovians.  Sorry, everybody.)

What’s my point with this story?  That’s the mind of a mother.  That’s what it was like to leave him at bedtime.  I mean, I’ve left him at bedtime before, but usually with Dad, and always I was a mere 5 minutes away, poised to return the second I’m needed.  A movie is a commitment, and this was new.  And I handled it with the level of grace and dignity that has come to be expected of me in these sorts of scenarios.

Take, for instance, the first time I left Analytical Baby in the house with just Dad and Grandma.  I was going for a run … with my phone in my hand … around our tiny block.  I nursed him right beforehand, and could literally run home the minute he needed me.  Still, I flipped out when Analytical Dad didn’t change his diaper immediately as I had clearly indicated to him needed to be done, doubted my decision to leave, cried like a lunatic, and thoroughly hated every minute I was out of the house.

But I did it, and it was fine, and months later, I’m perfectly able to go on a run or even (gasp) a yoga class or massage, knowing that he is in capable hands.  Someday I’ll even be able to go to nighttime movies without a tear or quiver.  But it made me think.

I’m in for a lifetime of this.  The first day of school.  The first night spent away from me.  And someday he’ll pack up to go to college and I’ll probably lose my shit then too.

I’m a mom.  It’s what we do.  These little beings make us kind of crazy.  Crazy in love.  Crazy attached.  The kind of crazy that tries to rationalize snuggling a sleeping baby even though you know it will wake him up but GODDAMMIT HE’S JUST SO CUTE!  It’s a special kind of crazy, but it comes with its perks.

So, moms, the next time you feel like an irrational psychopath, driven by crazy love for your tiny humans, know you’re not alone.  You’re just a member of the club.  And dads, the next time your partner seems to have gone off the deep end, know that this is just the way she expresses her love.  She means well.  Give her a hug and a sympathetic ear, and pretty soon, she’ll be acting like a perfectly normal human being again … or, as normal as she ever was.

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Kaston (1395 days ago)

I found this online because it conveys my message in a very precise way:

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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 when she’s not there. The goal isn’t to get rid of worry or doubt – in fact, nerves are part of our parenting instinct and they help us make good decisions.

Know that other caregivers do things differently:

You’ve spent months or years getting to know your little one and fine-tuning your approach. One of the tough parts about leaving your child is the fear that no one else knows the secrets. And that’s true, but kids are surprisingly adaptive. Even as tiny babies, they know the game is different when someone else is in charge. Dad, grandma, or a babysitter – those people will find their own way and might surprise you with the tricks they invent.

Separation is an important part of attachment:

It’s healthy for your baby to be taken care of by multiple caregivers. As humans evolved, we parented in communities, passing our kids around and sharing the responsibilities. Allowing kids to trust and be cared for by other people only boosts their feeling of community and sense that the world is a safe place.

Taking time for yourself isn’t just for fun, it’s for your health:

In the early months, if leaving your baby makes you miserable, don’t force it. But as she grows, it’s natural and healthy to start putting pieces of your own life back in the equation. That means lunch with a friend, exercise class, date night – these aren’t just frills. Taking care of yourself is important to you and your child too.

Look behind the guilt:

Guilt is a common go-to emotion for parents, but it’s not a very useful one. In fact, feeling guilt over being away from your child can be a way of not dealing with other things, like your own independence, working on your partner relationship, engaging in career or important hobbies, and so on. Acknowledge your guilt but don’t let it become your emotional hideout.

When you have a baby, one of the reasons separation causes anxiety is that it’s new, but that unfamiliarity will dissipate over time. Just know that attachment doesn’t mean always physically being there (that’s why research shows kids in quality daycare are just as securely attached). You’ll feel more confident the more times you leave and come back to find that things went just fine. And your child’s bond to you will grow in part through the consistent message that you always come back.
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He WILL be okay even if while you are gone he cries; babies cannot hold a grudge so as soon as you get back, all will be well <3

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