Thursday, May 17, 2018

My girl, My guilt & the need for flexibility

If you know me than you often hear me advocate for the father-child relationship, and how important it is for the mother to help cultivate that.

But that's not today.
Today I'm feeling sorry for myself.
Today I'm questioning my decisions and worried about my babies. or specifically my daughter.

Last night was one of John's nights with the kids. However Redding had his piano lesson, so I picked him up after work and took him, and afterwords we met John and Birdie for dinner, just the four of us (rare, but we try to fit in).  It was a good time, there was a bowl of queso and chasing grackles away from the table, a couple of spills - one being a glass of water, the other being my risk-taking daughter. All in all, it was just good to have some time to connect as the four of us.
But walking the kids back to johns car, Birdie started, first as jokes 'no mama, I'm going to just be with you forever' and she laughed and grabbed onto me.  From there it only escalated, refusing to get in her car seat and not letting go of my body as I tried to settle her in.
As much as I want to help out and see them during John's days, it never feels beneficial, because it's so hard to say goodbye to mom.

I tried all my tricks, but she's never been the kid that falls for any of those. She's not one to lose sight of what she wants.
Needless to say they had to eventually drive away with her screaming 'MAMA!' at the top of her lungs and reaching for me. I calmly stood on the side walk looking like everything was alright, repeating 'I love you, I'll see you Friday,'  'I love you, I'll see you Friday,' 'I love you, I'll see you Friday.'
Driving home was miserable. Falling to sleep was miserable. Waking up was miserable.
I couldn't get the picture of her desperately crying for me out of my head.
I'm sure it ended up being much harder on me than it was on her. I texted John twenty minutes later and he said they were happily playing.


It's so easy to see and talk about the joys of peacefully coparenting and getting along with your ex. But that still doesn't mean you don't have bumps along the road.
It doesn't mean that you want to share your kids with someone else.

I question everything. 
Am I damaging my daughter?  She's four and it feels like she already has abandonment issues. 
Am I overly sensitive and making this up? Quite possibly the case.  But still, you know how moms do it, we over analyze everything!
Was it because she was a preemie and hospitalized for the first month of life?
Was I out of touch her first year of life suffering from such severe depression?
Was it because her parents split up when she was 18 months old?

Y'all I don't know.

But I do know that I can't do anything about that.  And I will drive myself crazy thinking about all the things I could've done wrong and can't fix now.  We will, as mothers, drive ourselves crazy with the guilt!
I've done everything to absolute best of my ability, and I can say that with confidence.

And so I research, and everything I read says equal time with both parents is ideal.
Y'all, there is absolutely NO hard evidence that kids need more time with their mothers.  This is something our society has constructed. It has no bases in fact. Actually, studies show, the more you allow kids to spend time with both parents the closer they will be to both parents.

Coparenting looks beautiful from the outside. Getting time away from you kids is essential for selfcare. Your kids getting time away from you is essential for growth and adaptability.
But sometimes you just fucking miss your kids.

I think like anything else, flexibility is what is needed.  Lately it's felt like Birdie has needed more time with me, so John and I need to work out a few evenings that she and I can have some alone time.  Parenting I guess is like anything else in life, you have to stay open minded and you have to be ready to change.

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