After my son was born, he was eight months old before I felt comfortable leaving him for a few hours. People were constantly telling me things like, “It will be good for you to have a date with your husband,” or “You really should get out and have a break,” or “Things will really be fine if you leave him with me for a few hours, what are you worried about? I felt like I was constantly apologizing to everyone who knew me for what they perceived as my smothering.
Friends and family used to encourage me to go out and leave my baby
Once I heard a relative talking about me behind my back saying how ridiculous it was that I never left my baby and that I insisted on taking him everywhere.
The thing was, I didn’t want to leave him. I wasn’t ready when everyone else thought I should be. I wasn’t even ready when I actually did leave him but I felt so much pressure that I finally decided to try.
When he reached preschool age and I had a newborn, everyone told me to cut the cord and send him to preschool despite the fact that I didn’t want to. I started to feel like there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t ready to shove him out the door and would avoid these conversations at all costs.
And when I had my third child, I wanted to come home from the hospital as soon as possible. The nurses all told me I should stay, relax, and be waited on while my sister handled things at home with my other two kids. But again, all I wanted to do was go home and see my kids.
My kids are young adults now and I still want to be with them
My kids are now young adults. They are entering their last years of high school and almost seventeen years have passed since I’ve become a mother. And I still feel the same way about them as I did when they were small–I get anxious when it comes to them and I want to be with them as much as possible. The thought of leaving them still makes me a bit unsettled.
The only difference is now I’m done apologizing for it. I’m not here to make other people approve of my parenting skills or tell me how much or how little I need to do for my kids.
Now that they are teenagers, yes I’m free to go out and do more things without them if they don’t want to hang with their mom but that doesn’t mean I always want to do that. I’ve gotten pushback from some, asking me why I can’t come to this or that since my kids are old enough to be alone.
I’m not sorry for wanting to be with them
My answer is still the same as it was when they were small–I don’t want to. And these days, I’m not sorry about that at all.
I never feel the need to ask others why they are comfortable leaving their kids and I don’t really like to be asked why I want to be with mine so much.
I don’t need to explain to anyone how badly I want to soak up the time I have left with them. I don’t need to make excuses when I skip a girls’ night to stay in with my kids. I don’t need to apologize if I don’t want to leave them for a week to take a vacation.
I’m not saying any of those things are wrong– I think every mother needs to do what she needs to do in order to take care of herself and her family, no matter what that looks like. And I believe we all need to do it unapologetically.
I felt self conscious for many years about wanting to be a mom who spends as much time as possible with my kids. I am more anxious than other mothers I know. I worry more. I check in more. And that’s okay.
I know now I’m not going to change and I have weeks where I need a break and I leave them behind when they don’t want to come to the mall or beach with me.
I think what comes with more experience as a mother is the confidence that you are doing what works for you and your kids in the best way you know how. And I believe all mothers, including myself, should do that without apology.
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