Detachment Anxiety

One of the things that attracted me most to attachment parenting was that it made children feel secure, which in turn made them more self confident and self reliant as they grew older. This is actually one of the reasons I practiced attachment parenting with my child. I have a lot of insecurities and self doubt and this wasn’t something I wanted to pass on to my child.

Now that my child is 3 years old I am starting to see the benefits of this style of parenting. She is very secure, loving, and generous with her affection. She is also very independent and self reliant. She would insist in bathing herself and dressing herself. She can do simple chores like picking up her toys and putting away her clothes. She likes it when I let her help me with my chores like cleaning the house or washing the dishes.

I’m not a baby, I’m a little girl! / Image courtesy of Jessica Madrazo

I expected all these things. I read about them in every book and article I could find about attachment parenting. And there’s this tremendous burst of pride and happiness every time I see her reach a new milestone or learn something new. What the books didn’t talk about and what I didn’t expect was the shadow of sadness I would feel as I saw my daughter become more and more independent.

It was especially poignant today. Before I left home to run a few errands, my daughter asked permission to visit her friend’s house across the street so they could watch cartoons and play. I helped her dress up for her play date and her nanny was already there waiting to take her there and watch over her. Once she was dressed, she kissed me goodbye and walked away with her nanny. And she didn’t look back.

She  always used to look back whenever we were separated from one another. Just yesterday afternoon she looked back when she ran to play  with the neighborhood kids and I was there  with her. But  today she didn’t. I know this is because she knows that even though I have to go away every once in a while for work she’s secure in the fact that I’ll always come home to her.

As exhausting as attachment parenting can be, I love it and it has become a way of life for me. So when she starts to detach herself from me I can’t help but feel a little anxious because nothing has prepared me for it. Books, online articles, other moms rarely talk about what to expect when you see your child becoming an independent human being. I know other moms probably experience the same thing but we rarely talk about these things because we know its a selfish and insignificant emotion. What’s more important is they are becoming their own person and learning everything that they can to survive and thrive in this mad, mad world.

My in-laws have this Ilocano chant that they recite whenever they massage my daughter’s legs after bathing. It’s roughly translates to “Baby, baby, grow big quickly.” They got their wish. My baby has grown big so fast. I just didn’t expect her to grow up so fast.

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4 comments for “Detachment Anxiety

  1. June 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    This is beautiful. It’s wonderful to read how attachment parenting has worked so well for you. It gives me hope for my little one. I have separation anxiety when it comes to leaving him with anyone so I know detachment will be my downfall. I’m just happy to see how wonderful it truly is.

    • June 13, 2013 at 5:49 am

      Thank you so much! I think the reason detachment was so hard for me ( and for all dedicated parents in general) is that we invest so much time, effort and attention to what our children needs. That’s why it’s so jarring to realize all of a sudden that they don’t need us as much anymore. That’s our goal in parenting it makes every parent proud to see their kids become self reliant but it’s still painful. But growth is often a painful process and I just psyche myself into thinking that every bittersweet moment is a good thing because it means I’m able to do good for my child. =)

      • June 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

        Yes! I am truly happy to be embarking on this journey with my son and knowing I’m not alone is so liberating.

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