Separation Anxiety Attack

Is it normal that my 1st grader still has problems leaving me sometimes?  And is it normal that I’m questioning if this is normal?  Most people I confide in say the same thing…savor it now, because one day, in the blink of an eye, really, she will outgrow it.

And knowing my daughter and the way she is now, I find this hard to believe.  But clinical research and my own personal experience tell me that one day, she will indeed grow up and leave me. 
And at times, that is a tough pill to swallow.
I know, I know, I am always making cracks about how I can’t wait until I get my life back…my life…when these children are older and more independent.  But the question I ask myself now is, what really IS my life 
I’m afraid my life before children doesn’t fit me anymore.  My hips are bigger, but so is my heart.  When the time comes, I’ll need a new my life.  It’ll be a hybrid of the pre-kids egocentric existence and the post-kids mama-centric reality. 
Not sure what all that will entail, but I know it will be fabulous. 
For now, I am going to stop worrying if it’s normal that my daughter tears up when it’s time for her to go back to class after Parent Lunch.  “I love you, “ I tell her. “Go with your teacher now.”  And she reluctantly joins the single-file line of little ducks in a row.  Her ponytail bobbing up and down and her shoelaces threatening to come untied.  Carrying her Hello Kitty lunchbox.
At the last minute, she turns and looks back at me, and I can see tears streaming down her little face.  And instead of asking myself if this is normal, I cherish the moment and know these days are fleeting.  Even though most of the other kids aren't upset to leave their mothers, and I can’t explain why she is. 
Hubby likes to console me by saying it’s because I’m such a good mother. 
And sometimes, I let myself believe him.

Comments

  1. I think it is sweet. And, I know that hubby is right - you are a terrific mom.

    Jack (2nd grade) still runs and hugs me when I come in to volunteer in his class. I try to cherish all of the hugs I can get to offset all of the "you are the meanest/worst mom ever" comments I get at home from him.

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    1. You're right, it does tend to cancel out the "you've ruined my life" commments...ha, ha!

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  2. Aww...don't go making me get all weepy!! What a sweet, sweet read.

    And that times does pass, so love it while it's here. I don't have kids, but I remember when my nieces were about 5 & 6, they said I was their beeeeest friend. Yes, they had to drag out that "best" part.

    It did my heart wonders.

    They are now 11 & 12.

    I was called a jerkweed the other day.

    Nevermind the fact they learned that word from me. However, I'm going to assume it means we are probably not beeeeest friends anymore, but rather 'aunt' and 'nieces.'

    Love it while it's here. And I have no doubt...you're a fab mom.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. I have gone through all of it with my nieces, too, so it shouldn't be a surprise. They are in their 20s now and have come back around, so hang in there!

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  3. We go to a Montessori elementary school. In the early days (k-garten) they told parents on first day of school to stop at the door - they couldn't come in - no long dramatic good byes - the teachers would handle it. Sounds really mean but their point is - to try and help the children separate from their mamas. They seem to think its us moms who have the difficulty in separating and somehow that thought gets filtered down to the child who then acts it out. If your daughter has difficulty separating maybe take a look at yourself (as you are, by blogging about it) and see if you are keeping her there. I had that issue - and at every new phase of development that requires letting go or moving on - I cling to the last phase - so I'm still dealing with "my" letting go! (-:

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    1. Very good advice, indeed. I come from a long line of separation anxiety criers...my mother still bawls everytime we say goodbye. I have to be the strong one. So, hopefully my daughter will be stronger than I am, and eventually it will be diluted down to a normal level :)

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  4. That's exactly what my therapist says! That I am the one who really has trouble separating. When my kids finally go to school, I will be a mess of tears--- of sadness and joy.

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    1. Oh crap, I guess this means I need to break down and go to a therapist now! :)

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  5. I have absolutely no idea. But I was always very close to my mom and had separation anxiety, and I turned out fine (right?! RIGHT?!?)

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    1. Yes! Glad to have your successful case study on file.

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  6. this made me well up. i don't ever want my girl not to need me... but it will happen. :(

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  7. we cried when each of my 4 kids went to college!!!!!! I still have 4 more at home and i don't think it ever gets any easier! bittersweet really because they grow up so fast!
    good luck!

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    1. Going off to college...thinking about that makes me break out in hives!!

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  8. I help my kids by completely forgetting I told them I was coming to parent lunch that day.

    Hey, would you help us out at yeah write by disabling Captcha for your comments? Thanks!

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    1. Ha, I'll try that next time! And Captcha is off now :)

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  9. This is really sweet. How wonderful that she loves you so much! I try to put off thinking about what life will be like when our kids need us less; not ready to face that yet. By the way, I'm in Houston too!

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    1. So glad to meet another Houston blogger! :)

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  10. Oh my goodness...you could have been talking about my school aged kids. Both of them had separation anxiety in first grade, and the same thing would/does happen to me when I go to lunch with them too. And, oh those tears just break my heart. I've been known to leave the school with tears in my eyes as well.
    Such a sweet post.

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    1. I know, I keep thinking I wish she wouldn't cry, but then it will be hard when the day comes and she totally doesn't evern care!

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  11. Aw, that's sweet. It's nice that she wants to be with you but that she can, even though it upsets her a bit, go back to class. She probably will outgrow it, it's true, but it's not a bad thing that she is a little sensitive about it now. You guys probably just have a really great relationship.

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  12. I'll agree with those who say to enjoy it while it lasts. I think that kids grow up WAY to fast these days, so it's nice when kids still actually act like kids.

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    1. I agree...expectations on kids now are much more than back when I was in first grade! So much pressure. You can't blame a kid for wanting to be home with her Mom.

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  13. I would agree with your hubby, yes, it's because you're a great mom!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jackie!

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  14. hubby is right. you'er a wonderful mother!!

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  15. Such a sweet post. Our first Montessori teacher said the kids put on "mama drama" when saying goodbye and then are absolutely fine as soon as the mothers are out of sight. Who knows? My guys are fine leaving me but I miss them terribly!

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  16. My kiddo says she doesn't want to go to college because she doesn't want to leave home. It's sweet if misguided, and I take it for what it is for now.

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  17. Yup, I'm going to agree with your husband. I'm sure it's that she loves you, feels safe with you... even if she feels safe with and loves her friends/teachers, it's not the same.

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  18. I had separation anxiety as a child. Looking back, I know how hard it was for my mother. I did finally outgrow it. Finally. I'd say you are a great mother. I know mine was. :)

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  19. I would totally believe your husband.

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  20. beautiful. sweet. cherish. love. thanks for sharing

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  21. People would often tell me 'they grow up so fast' and I scoffed and muttered, "not fast enough". But, lately, I see it. The growing up. And it is too fast. My kids are 6 and 8, and I want to keep them here for as long as I can.
    Anyway, you're right.:) Cherish these moments.

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  22. My 8 yr old daughter cried when I wasn't home to tuck her in one night a few weeks ago. My husband asked why she was so upset and she said that I was the best at tucking her in just so. I haven't had her cry for me in years. So, yes...believe your husband..you are a good mom. Your daughter's love for you is very apparent. :-)

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  23. I've decided to embrace these moments. Before mine turn to teens and tell me to go away. :(

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  24. I can relate not in a separation anxiety way, but more of of "He will outgrow this stage and when he does I'm going to cry like a baby so why can't I relax and enjoy it now?" way. Monkey Man likes for one of us to lay with him when he falls asleep. He is 7 and has always been an independent sleeper, always in his own bed and very good about falling asleep. But now when he asks this every night, I selfishly think about all the things I want/need to do in the 2 hours I have to myself. Make lunch, laundry, watch a show, read a book - and I feel so guilty. I need to just enjoy that he wants his mom (or dad) now, and that's going to change really soon. :(

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  25. Hugs!!! My daughter is still having a bit of separation anxiety at 16 months. It's so hard - more so on the mom I think than the kiddos. Once they get distracted, I think they forget all about having to leave us, but we seem to hold onto the emotions they exhibit. Hang in there - hope it gets better soon!

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  26. Hi, I just happened to come upon your post dealing with separation anxiety. My daughter always had a difficult time leaving me. Other moms always said that she would outgrow it, and that they thought it was sweet. Well, in some ways it was sweet, but I couldn't help but feel bad for her. My daughter will be turning 11 in July, and she still suffers from separation anxiety which was diagnosed last year by a psychiatrist. She now sees a therapist that it working with her. I wish I had taken her much much sooner to see someone. I guess I just kept thinking that she would grow out of it. It would have helped so much if she had tackled this issue much sooner. I just wanted to give you another perspective. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! You were just thinking what every other parent thinks...that their child will outgrow it. You were good to turn to a therapist when you did. We will definitely keep our eye on our daughter. I think if it continues into next year, we will have to address it.

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  28. Separation anxiety was a real struggle for me when I was younger. I think many people suffer from it when they are younger. Fortunately for most, it seems to ease as years go by. Besides, who ever said 'clingy' was so bad? :-)

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