Once upon a time, my little Boss Lady was deeply enamoured of her Daddy. She cried if he left the room without her and she demanded her cuddles within seconds of his return. That made it relatively easy to get away when I needed a little break (which usually meant going on a grocery run). I knew the real separation anxiety phase was right around the corner, but I figured her dad and I would bear that burden equally.
It’s quite possible that I’ve never been more wrong in my life.
The drama started like clockwork after her first birthday. All of a sudden, she went from Daddy’s Little Girl to Mommy’s Little Shadow. Nowadays, she’s liable to cry if Daddy wants to take her outside without me. She cries if I ask her to take her book to Daddy so I can finish my cup of coffee. She cries if I ask Daddy to hold her so my aching arms can have a break. Naturally, she also turns on the waterworks when I leave her with her beloved babysitter (despite the fact that she also cries when it’s time to go home).
So here I am, balancing deadlines, meetings, media and an extremely attached little one who’s happiest when she has at least one hand on Mommy. It’s no exaggeration to say that I. Am. Exhausted. The fix isn’t as simple as asking Daddy to take a shift either, since she wants little to do with him if I’m around. He tries, though. Just this afternoon, he offered her something to eat and she refused, coming instead to me to eat the exact same thing from my plate. The look on his face gave me the idea that it’s beginning to wear on him, too.
My only reprieves from neverending Mommy Duty are work assignments and errands, neither of which, you might note, are particularly relaxing. It’s so bad that I’ve begun dreaming of business trips that will no doubt have long hours, but will compensate with fluffy beds and room service. Who knows, I might get lucky. In the meantime, I take my breaks where I can get them. Like right now, while she’s out adventuring around the neighbourhood with her Daddy. Obviously, I spend most of those breaks working.
The worst part of it all, though, is the guilt. Naturally, I want to spend most of my meagre off time with her. Even so, Mommy needs a little Me Time occasionally and it’s heartwrenching to see her wail at the slightest hint that I might be stepping away. I’ve been coping by telling myself that this project won’t last forever (just one more month…) but it’s hard not to feel like I’m neglecting her needs.
Such is the double-edged sword of mommy-hood, I guess.
Is your little one mommy-struck? How do you handle the teary separations? Tell us in the comments!
Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.