My beautiful little girl is 19 months old, I can’t believe how quickly that time has flown by and yet at the same time it feels as though she has been part of the family for a lifetime. This week has been a week of firsts for us, on Monday we packed her cute little rucksack and sent her off to nursery. She happily ran off to explore all the toys that were on offer while myself and my husband clung to each other and pulled sad faces. In the last year and a half I’ve read my body weight (a lot) in parenting books which talk about separation anxiety but what I hadn’t realised was that the biggest sufferers are the parents!
As I watched Amelie take her first steps in socialisation, sharing toys, taking turns and sharing smiles it struck me just how much she has grown and how all my worries and anxieties about how she would get on were exactly that, my worries and anxieties. Of course it hasn’t been totally smooth, as expected there have been a few tears shed as she gets to grips with this new routine but it has struck me hard, like a platoon of bulldozers to be precise. I’m the one with the separation anxiety, I’ve got to get used to leaving her to have fun without me, having managed a fantastic 19 months together it’s now my turn to share and to step aside and let her get on with her growth. But it’s hard. I’ve written before about how it’s the little things that make me feel like a mum but this is one great big, humongous thing and it’s taking its toll!
I’m walking around with a massive knot in my stomach, what if she hurts herself? what if she needs me? what if she feels abandoned? To put it bluntly I’m being ridiculous. Having egotistically put myself as the centre of her universe I’ve come crashing back to earth when I realise that she is the centre of her universe. If I’m sticking to space analogies I’m just a moon (even if I consider myself to be her star). Anyway, I’m talking rubbish; another symptom of mum separation anxiety, the lack of ability to think straight.
As if going to nursery wasn’t a big enough hurdle for
me her, we’re about to face our biggest challenge yet: nights apart. Six months ago, back when six months time felt ages away, I agreed to go away for a work conference. She’ll be bigger I thought, she’ll definitely be sleeping through, what’s a weekend away? And now the time has come and I feel sick. Tomorrow morning I’m going away for a work conference which I’m sure will be the most agonising 48 hours of my life. The funny thing is I don’t know why I’m so anxious. She’s going to be with daddy who will no doubt spoil her rotten, play lots of games and let her do all the things I don’t (like eating too much ice cream and staying up late to watch her favourite videos). I trust him implicitly and I know that there is nobody more capable than him. But yet I’m terrified. I hate the thought of being hundreds of miles away and not being there if she needs me. I feel sick, I’m not sleeping and I’ve got a headache from the worry. Classic symptoms of separation anxiety.
I know deep down that everything will be fine, yes she’ll miss me and yes I’ll spend the whole time worrying but when I get back after a few cuddles everything will go back to normal and I’ll have learnt yet another lesson that she can survive perfectly well without me. Whether I like it or not…
Have you been through parent separation anxiety? Please share your experiences below and make me feel better, give me a verbal slap round the face and tell me to mum up, right now I need it!!