Saturday, 11 May 2013

The End of Separation Anxiety

It's been an exhausting two weeks at work, and I can't wait to spend more time with family this long weekend.  I had been waking up at 3 a.m. to work, leaving in a distracted rush and coming home too drained to play.

Amid all this I noticed Ladybug Girl was okay.  Praise God.  No more separation anxiety after four and a half years.

No matter what everyone says, you just never get used to mornings like this:

Watch the 30-second video.

Or business trips like this:

Facetime in fact makes things worse.

A lot of people underestimate the guilty anxiety that working moms have to wrestle with every single morning.  I always felt split into two, until I made a conscious priority to put my daughter's emotions first before my office's expectations.  That meant arriving late, and staying in the office late to compensate.

It also meant she slept later than most kids (10-11 pm).  And she still doesn't sleep through the night - she asks to go to the bathroom and then I have trouble falling back asleep.  Thus the blog.

I had to grit my teeth amid the inevitable fallout : people who judge.  In truth, I felt most judged by women, despite the late days I would spend at work.  I still wonder how I could have handled the whole thing better.

I read a touching article long ago that stuck to me about a mother wishing she had been conscious of the "lasts" as much as the "firsts".  I never forgot that.  And so as I acknowledge the end of separation anxiety, it is bittersweet - as most things about growing up are.

It is one step closer to the inevitable time when we will literally stop jumping for joy when we see each other at the end of the day.

But these few short years shape a lot about one's parenting style forever:

You learn to be creative.  Everyday is a new tactic to leave your child with love and your mind with peace.

I wore her drawing on my hand to show her how much mommy misses her during the day too.

You learn to be less selfish.  I was never a morning person, but I got up earlier to spend a few more precious moments together before the rush.  How motherhood changes things indeed.

Ladybug Girl loved to beg "can we read one book before you go?".  I'm glad I always did.

You learn when it's okay to cheat.  Have an occasion?  Pasalubong?  Give the gift in the morning, and you create an effective diversion.

I forgot the occasion, but Milo Armadillo was a hit.

You learn to look at the world through her eyes.  I realized that leaving Ladybug Girl to wake up alone was the scariest thing in the world for her.  So I started to leave notes when I had to leave while she was asleep.  A few days ago, I didn't get to do this and her daddy called me because she was sobbing when she didn't find me.

This helped her learn to read in cursive too.

You learn to stop apologizing for your priorities.  This I learned the hard way.  If only I had known this earlier when I went back to work after maternity leave:  decide your priorities early, let others know, and stick to them.  In fact one of the best advice I got was from a male co-worker: if you keep compromising your priorities, people will naturally take advantage - and it won't be their fault.

So here I am today, blessed with a daughter who feels loved enough to start letting go, and a good career that's catching up.  It is Mother's Day tomorrow, and for the first time since I gave birth I truly feel like I've passed a milestone.

Happy Mother's Day to all you awesome moms.


  1. Your blog is lovely Mommy Trina. :) Happy Mother's day to you.

    1. Hi Parrah, aww thanks for the sweet reassurance!

  2. I am furiously writing down notes for when my turn comes! Ladybug girl is really lucky to have you as her mommy :)

    1. You'll be a great mom, Twarks! =)

    2. Yes! I can't wait till you both are moms to swap stories with about your own tricks ;)

  3. I don't blame you for having separation anxiety, I would too with sweet and funny Ladybug Girl!


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