If you love something, set it free

After this weekend, I really am beginning to see my daughter in a whole new light – i.e. as a person separate from myself and my husband. We went to visit my husband’s parents for the holiday, and his sister and her kids were there as well. Angel Face had the time of her life playing with her cousins. She squealed and giggled and chortled and shrieked as they carried her around, tickled her, walked with her, pretended to chase her. As long as she had a sippy cup in one hand and a cousin’s finger in another, she was thrilled. 

Mommy wasn’t needed. 

This is a wonderful thing. It truly is. She is becoming independent and learning how to play with the big kids. But why does my heart hurt just a bit?  I am totally one of those moms I said I would never be. I find it difficult to leave Angel Face for even a few hours. Business trips are a nightmare. I hover. I swoop in at the first hint of a sob. I indulge and I coddle and I spoil. I’m probably turning her into Paris Hilton and we’re not even rich. 

I know a lot of it is my guilt. I had a stay-at-home mom until I was in the third grade. I would love to be that for Angel Face, but the truth of the matter is I can’t just quit. I make a good living, and our household would have to drastically change in so many ways that I think would hurt her more than my being home would help. 

So I over-compensate. I cater to every whim and focus solely on her for the 1.5 hours per day that I see her. On the weekends, I try to make every waking moment fun and exciting. Basically, I’m wearing myself out. I know it can’t continue. I know I’m not doing her any favors. But I was raised Catholic. We know guilt. I think the pope invented it. 

I know there’s hope for me – I didn’t swoop or hover this weekend. She was having fun, albeit without me. Honestly, I was almost grateful for the break (and I feel guilty for even THINKING that). But to hear her giggle fits and see her give snuggles to somebody other than her parents was nice too. 

Someday, I know, she’ll leave me for the Real World. I just hope that I’m strong enough to help her become the independent woman she deserves to be.

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3 Responses to If you love something, set it free

  1. Aww. I’m the same way (without kids.. yet). I always watched overbearing parents and tsked tsked them for coddling. I know I’ll be the same way. Who doesn’t want to canoodle with their child all the time?

  2. saraeg81 says:

    I suffer from The Guilt too. I think that comes with being a single parent though- I feel like I have to provide the love and stereotyipcal activities for both a mom and dad. It’s exhausting, and I know I’m going to have to let go a little to maintain my sanity, but I love every minute of it!
    I have to remind myself daily that it won’t be long, and he won’t let me be as involved as I am now.
    It’s bittersweet, this parenting thing!

  3. Being a mom is so frickin’ hard. The guilt, no matter what you do, is incredible. First, she’s not exactly moving out yet, she still NEEDS mommy. The fact that she could feel secure enough to go play and know that mommy is there whenever she wants her, and not being clingy, is evidence that she is adjusting to her situation quite nicely. Still–frickin hard!

    P.S. I wrote about when I was on a tv show as a kid if you are still interested.

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