Monday, April 4, 2011

Am I Too attached?

I'm attached to my kids - apparently.

Last night I had a discussion with a few moms about how we feel about leaving our kids for extended periods of time.  I was the most extreme one in the group.  It is very difficult for me.  I dread planning to leave my kids.  I feel totally sick when it is time to actually say goodbye.  While gone, I miss them terribly.  I am fine for the first few hours, but after one night, I cannot wait to get back to them.

The other moms expressed how easy it is for them, how important it is, and how wonderful it is for them and their marriage relationships.

My husband seemed quite put out.

Afterwards, I wondered why I feel so different.  After having my first child, I remember feeling like I had a permanent attachment - one that I spent enormous amounts of energy on and sacrificed continuously for.  I thought it was normal to have anxiety while separated from him for longer than a few hours.

But, I had to reevaluate last night.

My first thought process involved our current lifestyle, as compared to the other families present for the discussion.  My husband is gone a lot.  He works anywhere from 60-80 hours every week.  His commute ranges from 40-80 minutes per day.  When he is home, he must study for a minimum of 30-60 minutes a day, in order to keep up with the material he will be responsible for to pass his boards.  Combined, he is "not present" 15 hours, every single day.

Honestly, I probably spend a lot more time talking with my kids than I do talking with my husband.  He is always tired, and usually sleeping, while I am putting the kids to bed.  We plan together, solve problems together, play together, eat together, study scriptures together, talk about problems at school together, talk about deep life questions together... without him.

In fact, (my thought process continues), my children seem to have become one of my few constant support systems - even greater than the support my husband provides.  My eight-year old son has lived in seven different homes in four different cities.  My 18-month old has lived in two different homes in two different cities.  Our family life is constantly facing major changes, amidst varying support systems consisting of changing neighborhoods, church associations, and family and friends living nearby.

And my husband continues to be gone for most of it.

I felt justified in this reasoning - though I might also be totally skewed.  It made sense to me.  Part of me wanted to explain this to my husband.  But, the other part of me realized that he would never understand this.  He has an automatic support system with his work.  He always will.  He creates a biking support system wherever we are.  And... I don't think he'll ever feel the almost literal attachment to the children like I do.  Am I wrong in assuming this?

So, right now, and for a while longer probably, my children will be my closest support system.  And, yes, I will likely continue to miss them terribly whenever we are apart for extended periods of time - to my husband's dismay, and others' surprise.


Anonymous said...

I think fathers are attached to their children just as strongly as mothers are but in a much different way. Maybe they see a broader view - what the child means as far as carrying on family traditions, family name, companionship in later life, etc. I don't really know - I'm a mom. but I believe their attachment is just as strong.

Jamie Lamb said...

I guess for me it really depends on the age of the child. I was very attached to all my kids as babies, but not so much now that 2 of them are school age.

Toddlers are a different story for me--I HATE to leave my toddlers! I'm better than I used to be, but I'm constantly anxious until I get my tiny one back!

I think I've only left my kids overnight twice, though. (Not counting when I've given birth!) I had a much harder time with it than my husband, of course. But like you said, husbands will never quite understand that...and I think that's fine. His duties are at work, mine are with the kids--that's how it's supposed to be!

lindsey said...

You now, when it comes to leaving my kids with Joe (husband) for a Mom needs a break weekend I have NO problem. I miss the kids, but I'm ok with it. If I leave my kids with anyone other than Joe, I almost have a panic attack the whole time I'm gone. I drives me crazy about myself. How will I ever let Ari go to Kindergarten?

Erin said...

I understand what you are saying. Most people don't get it until you've lived through it. It's hard and lonely so I can see why you cling to your children. But spending time together without the kids is also vital. I hope you two are able to find a few minutes each day to just be together.

Christensen Family said...

I am so that way. I also have a husband that works really long hours and isn't home very much. ;) I have the hardest time leaving the kids too though. I have such a hard time even leaving them for an evening out. I think with me too that I feel like it is my responsibility and feel guilty asking others to take care of my kids when I should be doing it. But I am realizing too that I do need breaks so that I can function and be a better mom and person for them. I am way over-protective too and have a hard time with others watching my kids too though. I think there needs to be a balance with being with the kids, spending time with husband, spending alone time for ourself, etc. I just need to find that balance!!

Robert said...


I felt the same is you. Beyond what you describe I home schooled mine for the first 8 years (they went to highschool) When I reached 40 my husband was discovered having an affair with one of the medical secretaries (In base housing she was married to an enlisted member)
My husband was difficult to get along with at best when he was tired he was abusive !
I got divorced (Warning the courts put me through the wringer) He got everything I got left with 180K worth of debt and the kids to finsih raising (he got a 4 bdrm home 500K and his medical degree)
Now I have nothing (the kids are off at college and I sit by myself)
A word from a wise lady of almost 60 get some friends! Life is too short (my children never call they never see me and they don't seem to care (while I know this is not true) It feels this way/ they are just busy out there in the world trying to earn a dollar so that they can eat and trying to study hard so they don't loose the scholarships they have . One just graduated law school busy studying for the bar one in medical school.
If you don't spend time with your husband he will start to grow away from you.
Find something for yourself. Everyone deserves that in life.