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October 18th, 2006

Anyone out there remember the Erma Bombeck book titled, The Ties That Bind… and Gag!?   I used to chuckled a little at that phrase, before I had my own kid, but without any kind of recognition or empathy.   I have to admit that I once thought that only Moms who “could’t really hack it,” or Moms with “kids with issues” must ever relate to a phrase like that.

So I’m either one of those aforementioned Moms, or I’m slowly realizing that some things are beyond even my control.

Kenny hates being left behind.   Oh, he loves to have Gramma Ruby and Papa George, or Grammy and Grampy, or even Aunt Kim (with only a little  screeching at the begining) babysit him for a little while.   But it has become virtually impossible to leave him in either the church nursery or the MOPS “moppets” so that this poor lonely Mommy can have a little cranial stimulation or girly fellowship.   He doesn’t just cry when I take him into the nursery… he wails.   And he screams, howls and generally looks so pathetically miserable that I totally cave and take him back with me wherever I am going.

Now, “attached” can be good:

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“Attached” can be sweet:

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“Attached” can even be silly:

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But this kind of “attached” is horribly frustrating.   Sure, I’m secretly touched that my little boy hates the thought of being anywhere without me (or his Dad).     It’s partially my fault… For the first year of his life, we never really  left him with anyone but our own parents or siblings.   How could I expect him to magically be ready to be left behind in a strange place with strange people so that I could attend a church service or a Bible study or a women’s group?   Yet, I somehow thought that the prospect of playing with little people his own size (which he loves, as long as I’m in his sightline) would outweigh any anxieties he might have about me leaving the room.   Well.   We all know what happens when we assume.

I don’t really know what the solution is.   Part of me believes that if I just stick to it and leave him for those two short times within the week that he’ll get used to it and stop crying after a while.   The other part of me is afraid that he will hate it so much, and be so scared that I’ve really left him for good, that he’ll start wailing every time we even get near the entrance to the church.   Where is the line between forging independance and nurturing insecurities?

Is it just the age and stage?   The stranger anxiety / separation anxiety peak?   Or have I waited too long to start leaving him with other people?   I would love to hear from anyone out there who has faced this problem and had success.   Thanks in advance…



  1. M-L says

    First of all I’d like to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. You really inspire me in many aspects of motherhood, and I relate to many topics you’ve written about, although my daughter is just a little over four months.

    Ok, it is definitely NOT too late to start leaving Kenny with others that he doesn’t know. I used to teach at a few daycares in the Annapolis area and I can tell you that most, if not all children have separation anxiety when they are left by their parents. He is perfectly normal, and you shouldn’t let it stop you from enjoying your groups. Most of the children I cared for were his age, and a little older. The same ones would cry every morning when being dropped off. It would last for a few minutes after they left, then they would sit on our laps for a bit until they decided it was safe to play. Remember, these kids were dropped off 5 days a week and the same time each morning, and they still went through the same episode everyday that Kenny does! Eventually….maybe more than just a few minutes, he will calm down. Especially if you stick to the same routine and not linger around too much. He might never be eager to walk into the church and be left without you, but if he gets used to it, be might shorten the wailing time! I’m only speaking on experience with working with children, as I too have failed to leave my daughter with anyone but my mother! She hasn’t been the easiest baby, and I still don’t even feel comfortable leaving her with my mother-in-law! Boy am I going to be in for it when she gets to be Kenny’s age!

    Thanks for all the great writing! I look forward for more to come.

    October 18th, 2006 | #

  2. MaeHamMomma says

    I work in both a daycare and the chruch nursery. So I know it is hard to leave your little one behind, but I can tell you truthfully that kids stop crying within seconds of their parents leaving and do very well. It just takes a little while for them to get used to being left behind. The best way to get him used to being left with a sitter or day care is to set up a “good bye” routine. This is something that you do every time you leave him. I had that problem with both of my kids when they started going to day care. What I did was on the way there I would tell them We are going to school now. Mommy is going to drop you off for awhile but I will be back. While you are there you will get to see your friends and play with toys…… ect. Just to let them know what was going to happen and that I would be back. When we got there I took them to class where they got one hug and one kiss. Then I said Bye sweet heart, have a good day. I will be back at (what ever time I was coming back) and left without looking or going back. It is hard to do that when your baby is crying but once they get used to it and know that it will be the same way every time they settle into it very well. It won’t work over night but be strong, it will happen. And it won’t hurt him to be left behind, he won’t hate you or chruch. In fact it may get to the point where he does not want to leave when it is time for you to pick him up.

    October 19th, 2006 | #

  3. Linda says

    Your sister mentioned that I should read this, and, since my babe is a week younger than yours, I might have to read more often! I’m in the midst of dealing with the separation anxiety right now, but I have a little more perspective since my older child went through it, too. His case was quite a bit worse than his sister’s, and there was no calming him down after I left him in the church nursery. I was repeatedly called out of service/Bible study/orchestra rehearsal, until I finally threw in the towel. When he graduated to the walker nursery, I stayed with him for several weeks until he got acclimated. When he was 15 months old, I started leaving him there, and he hasn’t had many problems since then. It’s hard to tell if I taught him to enjoy the nursery, or if he finally got old enough to learn on his own. The moral of the story is that he had one of the worst cases of S.A. of all time, and now, at age 3, he barely says goodbye to me as he zips off into his Sunday School room!

    Like I mentioned, I’m right in the thick of it right now with the baby. I decided to skip Moms’ Bible Study this semester, since I knew it would be pretty tough to leave Little Miss in the nursery. We’re doing services in the cry room, and relying on grandparents and friends that she knows and loves to give me breaks. I’m okay with it this time, since I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    I hope you have a better view of that light!

    ClubMom has a board dedicated to Separation Anxiety. I used to be the moderator, since I feel the pain of everyone going through this.

    October 19th, 2006 | #

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