I live smack dab in the middle of the country, no oceans around for more than a thousand miles. And yet, I have barnacles.
I took sail on my mother ship not knowing what to expect. I had an idea of what my course would look like, but you never truly understand motherhood until you are living it. While I always imagined a close, loving bond with my children, I had no idea the severity of attachment would be so strong.
To my surprise, I was born not one, but two barnacle babies.
I don’t adhere to any parenting type (helicopter mom, tiger mom, crunchy mom, etc.). I’m just going with my gut and doing what I feel is right for me and my kids. Apparently feeling my way through motherhood has resulted in securing a strong attachment with my boys. I’d never even heard of attachment parenting until a few years ago when I started to research why my first baby wanted to be near me 24/7.
He started screaming at daycare drop off when he was four months old and didn’t really quit until he was well over two. Yikes. It split my tender mom heart to pieces every time I left him.
At almost four, he’s still very much attached to me. And his little brother? Possibly more so. If it isn’t me or his familiar daycare ladies, he will cry and/or run away. If I’m in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, he’s usually right there, clinging to my leg. I sit on the floor in the living room and both boys fight with each other who gets to sit in my lap, despite me having two (large) legs – one for each kid.
I know there are people out there who will tell me “Enjoy it while I can.” “They don’t stay little for long.” Blah, blah, blah. And I love my boys and how much they love me. That is no question. But here’s the thing: being so needed is so exhausting. Being climbed on and whined at WEARS ME DOWN. When they finally go to sleep, all I want to do is crawl into bed and enjoy my personal space while I have it. Because I know only a few hours later, the cycle will begin again.
Here’s the thing, moms, if you have kids who want to be with you, near you, on you, you don’t have to love every second. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Don’t let anyone guilt you about desiring some space – a single moment to yourself to catch your breath. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. We all know that we love our kids more than anything, but raising kids is hard. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. And if you’re an introvert like me, so much talking and physical touch zaps your energy.
I’m learning so much as a mom, about myself and what’s really important in this life. And the fact that my boys love me so much that I’m the first person they run to for anything is a blessing. I hope to always have a close bond with them.
So while my babies’ attachment may have caught me by surprise, I will nurture that bond and reinforce that I’m their safe space. Unconditional love will radiate from this mother ship right onto those barnacle babies.